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Love heals, y'all

by Elizabeth McBride

Anika Thistle FarmsAnika showed a group of us around Thistle Farms where beautifully scented soy candles and body-care items are produced. All bear a bright purple label with the words “Love Heals.” These candles and body-care products are not put together in a giant facility by machines. Instead, each candle, bottle of body lotion and other bath items at Thistle Farms are carefully measured, prepared and packaged by women who love their work. All are made with natural ingredients by the Thistle Farms community, a social enterprise organization that is run by survivors of addiction, prostitution and trafficking.

Spreading hope

The Rev. Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms, spoke at our 2014 triennial gathering about how she started Magdalene, a residential program in Nashville, Tenn., for women who survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. Thistle Farms became a way to support the residential program and Women of the ELCA is helping that effort by selliing Holiday Hope candles this season.

Candles Thistle FarmsWith each Holiday Hope candle Women of the ELCA sells, it promotes healing for residents of Magdalene and workers at Thistle Farms. Women of the ELCA’s purpose statement says we “promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.”  We believe selling this candle is one way to live out our purpose statement and spread the message of hope.

Before Anika took my group on a tour, Stevens welcomed us and talked about the residential program. She introduced us to women who then shared their stories. As she said goodbye, Stevens said, “Love heals, y’all.” I couldn’t agree more.

You can spread this message of healing and hope with the important people in your life. Buy a limited edition candle for every person you care about.

Elizabeth McBride is the director of intergenerational programs and editor of Café.

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Top photo: Anika, our tour guide, shows us the area where these candles are poured.

Bottom photo: Candle glasses and wicks await hot soy wax.

Photos by Elizabeth McBride