A patchwork of love and kindness

On Palm Sunday at First Lutheran Church in Rugby, the 220 quilts which the quilters had made since September were draped, swathed and arranged on all of the pews in the sanctuary, entrance, choir loft and balcony. We were greeted by this colorful display and also presented palm branches. The symbolism was spot-on as we heard Pastor Pretzer and Pastor Baker tell of how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and the people spread their coats in front of him and greeted him with palm branches. Often in our lives, symbolism can easily connect us to historical events; such was this event.

I have lived in Rugby for 26 years and have witnessed this quilt Sunday many times. Each year as these quilts are displayed, blessed, packaged and sent to World Relief, I am touched by the fact that many area folks took the time to cut, piece, sew, tie and finish these quilts. I have often taken the time to walk around the church to look at all the quilts and admire their beauty and uniqueness. Some have wide color banding such as pumpkin orange, which links smaller blocks into a good size quilt. Other can be sewn in color tones such as shades of shy violet, lavenders and Vikings purple.

The orphan blocks are my favorite. You know – the small pieces of fabric from some other project that have now been sewn into one or two blocks. Over the years I have observed blocks that have carrots on them, buttons, palm trees, butterflies, apples in basket, stars and moons, Holly Hobbie, batik, calicos, jacquard, Big Bird and purple paisley. My very favorite was barkcloth with printed cowboy and farm scenes from the 1950s.

These diverse blocks deem each quilt as special – just as all of God’s children are truly different – yet loved. So as a community we are invited to join in this patchwork of God’s love that reaches far beyond this land of plenty. Maybe we purchased new fabric, perhaps we cleaned out our fabric shelves, or we donated those pale green satin draperies for blocks or backs. Maybe we volunteered our time to sew, tie or quilt these blankets of caring. We all can share in this act of kindness.

I recently visited with Jan Norsby about the First Lutheran quilters. These quilts not only go to World Relief, but some are given to local families when in need and when misfortune strikes. I have been in the presence of these quilters, and they are a friendly, prayerful and welcoming group. Each one of them realizes they have the opportunity to create a patchwork of caring and love that reaches beyond the church walls. The First Lutheran quilters, like many church quilting groups in the area, realize you help yourself most when you help one another.

The following patchwork of recipes was taken from the “1998 First Lutheran Taste & See” recipe book. These are tried and true and some of our favorites.