Nancy Bell holds an angel gown made by Stitchers of Hope, Faith and Love
I love interviewing people who give to others. The Ossian (IN) Church of the Nazarene has a group that gives much to people who are hurting. By using their crafting talents, this great group of men and women have blessed many. Do you know of a group or person who blesses people with their talents? If you’re a writer, spread the word about them. If you’re not a writer, consider joining the group or assisting them in some way. You’ll be blessed too. This article appeared recently in the Ossian Sun Riser and the Bluffton News-Banner.
When Nancy Bell of Ossian decided to learn to crochet in March 2009,
she enrolled in a class on the subject at the Senior Expo sponsored by the Bluffton Parks and Recreation Department. Her sister Alice had died recently and Nancy was given several skeins of yarn that had belonged to her.
Nancy had also found a craft book on prayer shawls at a store. All of these factors formed a sign to Bell, who knew how to quilt and do counted cross stitch but not crochet. “I didn’t know how to make one stitch,” Bell said, “but God told me, ‘Here’s yarn and a book and people to help you learn. Go for it.’”
Dozens of handmade items are created by The Stitchers of Hope, Faith and Love
At the Senior Expo classes Bell learned about the local volunteer group Stitches of Hope which distributes free handmade crocheted and knitted and sewn caps to medical patients around the country. After learning the basics of crochet, Bell joined the Stitches of Hope group and began making caps for adults and children.
Wanting to encourage others in her area to volunteer, she organized a craft group at the Ossian Nazarene Church where she and her husband, Bill Bell, attended. The group called Stitchers of Hope, Faith and Love began meeting each Friday at the church from 10am-12 noon. “We offered free instruction and supplies to anyone who wanted to make chemo caps,” said Bell.
The group has grown to include approximately 30 people from various churches — Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Methodist. “The members tell me they want to do their crafts for a purpose,” said Nancy.
Stitchers of Hope, Faith and Love meet weekly at Ossian Nazarene Church.
The group is not limited to women. Bill Bell is one of the members. “I can’t get him away from making caps on a loom,” said Nancy.
The group also makes angel gowns and prayer shawls. An angel gown is a gown to be worn by a stillborn baby. Nancy learned about the need for these while listening to a TV show. “A nurse was interviewed who had delivered stillborn babies and never had anything to dress the baby in before taking it to see his parents,” she said. “She said it would be so helpful to have a beautiful gown for this purpose.”
Each prayer shawl, angel gown and cap is dedicated on the church’s altar before being distributed. “We dedicate them to God’s glory and pray for the recipients that they will be comforted and know they’re loved,” said Nancy.
The Stitchers of Hope, Faith and Love group is prolific in its production. One month they created 146 caps, six prayer shawls, and seven angel gowns. They have given the caps to the Stitches of Hope group and distributed the other items to hospitals in Bluffton, Fort Wayne and Decatur.
The group’s love for others is not all outgoing, according to Nancy.
“Some members say this group is what they live for,” she said. “We’ve developed tight friendships and I consider these people my sisters and brothers.”
At the meetings, members share prayer requests and pray together. In September three ladies in the group were baptized. “We’ve seen people come to Christ as a result of this group,” said Nancy. “It’s a miracle.”
Although she had never led a group before, Nancy Bell is happy with her role as coordinator for the Stitchers of Hope, Faith and Love. “I had always wanted to do some type of outreach,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have this group to work with.”
Note : For more information about helping a group like this check out www.Stitchesoflove1.blogspot.com.