Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Not About the Quilt; It's About the Prayer

The old time quilting bee is almost a thing of the past but a few local women gather together on a regular basis to quilt for a special purpose. As part of their outreach program, the ladies of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church began their Prayers & Squares ministry in 2005 and joined by women from other churches, the outreach has been going strong ever since.

Prayers & Squares is an interfaith outreach organization that combines the gift of prayer with the gift of a hand-tied quilt. Unlike many other groups that make quilts for charitable causes, the purpose of Prayers & Squares is not to make and distribute quilts, but to promote prayer through the use of quilts. The organization's motto is: "It's not about the quilt; it's all about the prayers."

The idea behind a prayer quilt is simple.The quilt is chosen for a person who has requested prayer. 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, who then receives the finished quilt.

Through Prayers & Squares, many quilts have been distributed, each a special gift of love. They have been made for sick babies, for cancer and AIDS patients, for adults and children facing surgery or personal crisis; for many reasons, but each for someone in special need of prayer.The quilt is provided only at the request of the person in need of prayer or by their family's request.

Member Chapters agree to follow these "Three Commandments" of Prayers & Squares:
  • Remember the Prayers & Squares motto: “It’s not about the quilt, it’s all about the prayers.” The purpose of your ministry must be to promote an active prayer life among the participants, not just to make and give away quilts. Strive to involve as many people as possible in your prayer efforts.
  • You must ASK before you give the gift of a prayer quilt; surprises are not appropriate. Ask if the person to receive the quilt will accept your gift of prayer. Ask what they would like you to pray for. Ask what information about their situation may be shared with others.
  • Do not accept any form of payment for a prayer quilt; it is a gift of love and prayer which cannot be bought or sold. Those who request or receive prayer quilts must not be made to feel obligated to Prayers & Squares in any way.
Since beginning this ministry at Pleasant Hill, at least 231 prayer quilts have been requested, sewn and delivered to people as far away as New York City and Phoenix, Arizona. Almost every Sunday morning service at Pleasant Hill involves the congregation taking the time to tie the knots and offer a silent prayer over a quilt.

These quilts are small, lap quilts made from material gathered by members and donations. Many of the ladies involved are not skilled quilters but help by cutting and laying out material, gathering supplies, making coffee and lending a hand in any way they can. Anyone who would like to participate in this outreach is welcome.

The ladies meet at Pleasant Hill UMC every second Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Pleasant Hill is located on Giffin Road just off Hwy 14 West in Winston County.
Members look at a layout

Alene Ingram sews on a cross made by a member of Prayers n Squares

Charlotte Dowd attaches a cross as a finishing touch

Nona Vowell

Charlotte Dowd, Pat Horton, Nona Vowell, Dean Dempsey,
Alene Ingram work on several quilts