Calimesa Women Quilt Gifts of Love
A dozen Calimesa church members have adopted a "Prayers and Squares" theme to start a new local church ministry.
Alice Soderblom and a group of dedicated women have joined an interfaith outreach that combines the gift of prayer with the gift of lap-sized quilts that are machine quilted and then finished with hand ties.
Unlike other quilt groups that make quilts for charitable causes, this new ministry promotes prayer as well as providing comfort.
Since this ministry started in May 2009, the women have made 21 quilts, each a special gift of love. The list of recipients includes the new senior pastor of the church, sick babies, people with cancer, and adults and children facing surgery or personal crisis. Each person has a special need for prayer.
According to Soderblom, the leader of the local ministry, the Calimesa church is number 870 of the many Prayers and Squares chapters around the world. The interfaith organization began in 1992 in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., and has spread across America and overseas.
Soderblom says that the idea behind these quilts is quite simple. A heavy thread is used to take stitches through the quilt layers, and the ends are left free to be tied with a square knot. As each knot is tied, a silent prayer is said for someone in special need. That person then receives the finished quilt.
At Calimesa, the prayers are usually said in the lobby of the church before, between and after services. Members of the quilting group are there to help with the knot tying as needed. Each person who ties a knot and prays is provided with a bookmark with the name and special request of the person who will receive the quilt, so they can continue to lift up the person in prayer.
Each quilt also has a label stitched on the back that gives the recipient's name, the month and year, and the name of the Calimesa church as a member of "Prayers and Squares, the Prayer Quilt Ministry."
The Calimesa group meets each Tuesday morning in the church's Community Services Center. Supplies are donated, but some items, such as batting, need to be purchased, and for this the church has set up a special fund. Recipients of the quilts are not expected to pay for them but to take them home for their own use and spiritual encouragement.
One of the group members called the project a "unique opportunity to be of help to members and nonmembers alike."
A four-page brochure prepared by the group invites members to donate cotton fabrics, quilt tops that have already been partially prepared, quilt batting, sewing machines, and other quilting supplies. The quilters also appreciate monetary donations from members of the church to expand the ministry.
Members of the group have spent several hundred hours helping cut fabric, sew, iron, hand-stitch the binding, put ties in the quilts, and many other parts of the procedure.
Assisting Soderblom in the leadership of the group are Rosalie Maddalene, Vandal Shattuck, and Cordy Deffner.