LOUISIANA – For the last five months, women from denominations across Louisiana put their skills to work and developed new skills  in the service of their community.

A service at St. Joseph Catholic Church Sunday recognized the work of that group — “Stitching and Ripping for the Lord” — and blessed the product of that work before it was sent on its way.

Their bounty included 109 pillow case dresses, 157 preemie hats, 81 school caps, 20 scarves for students, 29 pony-tail hats, eight cancer hats, 52 prayer shawls and 137 face clothes for placement in Christmas shoe-boxes.

The pillow-case dresses will go to Zambia with Eric Dolbeare of Louisiana, who participating in an agriculture education project  with farmers there. The dresses will be distributed through Zambian churches — a collection was taken during the service to cover the cost of bringing the dresses on the flight.

The other items will be distributed to sites of need around Louisiana and the region. The premie hats will go to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. The cancer hats will go to Pike County Memorial Hospital. Several sets of items will be going to BONCL and Louisiana schools.

The Rev. Ruth Ann Jones and Dorothy Webb  offered the homily for the service.

During her remarks, Jones, who recommended the project  to Louisiana’s Ministerial Alliance, related one of the days scripture readings, Acts 16:14, to  the experience of the group over the course of their work. The reading describes Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, having her heart “opened up” to the message of the Apostle Paul.

“Every knitting needle, crochet hook, has to be taken out of the package so you can use it with the yarn. We have to be opened up,” Jones said.

Webb was one of the members of the group who needed help to participate.

“That’s when I thought they had to add ‘ripping,’ to our banner. While those girls did two or three shawls, I was still ripping out my first one and re-knitting them,” Webb said. “At last, I got some help. And its one of my biggest pleasures that one of my former students is now teaching me to crochet.”

Glenn sprinkled holy water on the items, which were piled into baskets and hung up on racks in the front of the church.

At the close of her remarks, Jones reflected on what the group might be able to accomplish going forward.

“I can just imagine this time next year, in 2020. Let God open your heart, and see what we can do,” Jones said.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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