Gather magazine’s summer 2022 Bible study uses the concept of quilting to explore rest, renewal, and Christian community. This blogger writes of the importance of quilting in her life. Learn more about the Bible study “Crafted in Christ.”
by Myrna Wells-Ulland
Hinneni. “Here I am, Lord.” The call came sometime after the 9th Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA held in Charlotte, N.C .in July 2014. While attending that inspirational event with several thousand other Lutheran women, I visited the Quilting Cottage in the activity hall where participants were making quilts for Lutheran World Relief (LWR). I’ve always admired quilts – the colors, the design, the artistry, the techniques used in construction. I’d even bought a few handmade quilts in silent auctions to support World Hunger – and given those as gifts. When my term as president of the Northeastern Minnesota Synodical Women’s Organization ended in 2013, I was given a quilt made by women in the synod. At the LWR activity in Charlotte, I helped lay out fabric, did a bit of sewing, and tied a few ties on the sandwiched quilt.
According to Jewish speaker and author, Scott Volk, the Jewish word hinneni has two parts: one is the response of those who hear the call from God. “Here am I, Lord.” A response that comes with not knowing what’s coming next. Yet, there is a second part to hinneni. It’s when God says, “I’m here. Ask me whatever you will. I’ll walk with you.”
I can tell you that sometime between July and September of 2014, I heard a call from God to start a quilting ministry to support LWR at my church. The call was clear and continuous. And it clearly wasn’t my idea. Hinneni.
At that time, my husband and I were relatively new members at Living Water Lutheran in Scottsdale, Ariz. There was no quilting ministry in the congregation, and I knew no quilters there. I didn’t own a sewing machine, and I had never made a quilt. But there was no option for me to ignore this call. God works in revealing ways, and suddenly I was connected with a woman who wanted to donate fabric. I purchased a small utility table and a sewing machine online. Word got out, and the Piecemakers Quilters of Living Water was born.
We’re now a group of a dozen women, some who sew at home, some who wash and press fabric, and those who gather at church to tie quilts. We’re small but mighty. Women who are winter snowbirds join us when they’re in Arizona. Using three knots per tie, “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” we’ve now made hundreds of quilts, most designated for LWR. We’ve also sent quilts to California Lutheran University and Boulder, Colo. in response to wildfires. We make twin extra-long quilts for our graduating high school seniors, and two of us also make “Pocket Pal” quilts for the Arizona Foster Children’s Program.
Our Piecemakers quilting ministry is now well known among the congregation. The Arizona LWR In-gathering of quilts and kits happened recently. We emptied our shelves, distributed our completed quilts across the sanctuary for a “quilt and kit blessing Sunday,” packed the quilts in boxes, and sent them on their journey to their recipients. Hinneni. Here we are, Lord. We’ve heard your call.
Myrna Wells-Ulland, of Phoenix, Ariz., is a former president of both the Northeastern Minnesota and Grand Canyon Synodical Women’s Organizations.