The social and outreach ministry of Bethel Lutheran Church in Jamestown has joined efforts with an International non-profit organization, "Little Dresses for Africa" to make dresses, made from pillowcases and colorful fabrics, for children in Africa.
The dresses hand-sewn by the ladies of Bethel Lutheran Church provide relief, comfort and beauty to children in Africa. The little dresses will be distributed throughout the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa for little girls.
"If it makes a difference in one little child's life, it is all worth it," said Karen Johnson, Bethel Lutheran Church social and outreach member, who hand-made and tailored a bulk of the dresses. "Thousands of children of Africa are orphans and too many have HIV or AIDS. Unfortunately, there are not sufficient resources to get clothes to the children. The nonprofit agency, Little Dresses for Africa, makes it possible for us to make a difference in the lives of these beautiful boys and girls. It truly warms our hearts to know that we can change the lives of children, one little dress at a time."
Displaying the home-sewn dresses made from pillowcases for the children of Africa from left are, Karen Johnson, Maureen Hills, Barbara Johnston, Bethel Lutheran Church social and outreach ministry coordinator; Gloria Lombardo, Cecile Wilson, Marty Karapantso.
The dresses were blessed during church service at Bethel Lutheran Church recently.
"We give you thanks, Oh God, as we ask your blessing upon these dresses and those who will receive them," said the Rev. Adam Miller-Stubbendick, Bethel Lutheran Church pastor. "May the dresses be a sign of your love for those who wear them and may they know of the love that went into making the dresses and shipping them to Africa. We lift up the hands and feet that made this project possible, from sewing and creating, to shipping and relationship-building. May each of us be so inspired by your love, embodied in this way that we seek to also be your hands and feet and heart for the world to see."
The dresses have recently been on display at Bethel Lutheran Church for the congregation to view. The social and outreach ministry will be shipping the little dresses to Africa this month.
"My granddaughter said she would help tie-die fabrics and pillowcases for next year's project," says Barbara Johnston, Bethel Lutheran Church outreach coordinator who organized the effort. "We really hope that in some small way our dresses provide hope and inspiration for the children of Africa to let them know that someone loves them and wants to protect and comfort them-even several thousand miles across the border."
The social and outreach ministry of Bethel Lutheran Church carries out the social and outreach mission of the church. Responsibilities include caring for the spiritual welfare and growth of people inside and outside of the church; ensuring a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for members and visitors; providing information about the church to potential members; helping spread the "good news" of the Gospel at Bethel and community-at-large; planning social and fellowship events for Bethel; and publicity and brochures.
For more information call, 661-9050 or visit betheljamestown.org. Services are held at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the church, 904 W. Third St., Jamestown.