A student at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Liberal, Kansas, was inspired after a mission trip where she saw a quilt ministry in action. The girl, Braegan Zimmerman, decided to replicate the effort at FUMC, launching the Random Acts of Softness quilt ministry in July.
Neither Braegan nor the other 20 students in the youth ministry started with much quilting experience, but they quickly learned. Now, they make quilts and donate them to a local child advocacy center.
“The learning curve was from zero to nine,” says FUMC’s youth ministry coordinator, Bethanie Popejoy. “They walked in the room with no quilting experience whatsoever.”
But just a month after the quilt ministry began, the teens had whipped up 20 quilts for children in need, thanks to donations from FUMC members and other local quilting ministries.
Popejoy says the quilting club has been a multigenerational effort, with grandparents and parents at the church teaching the students the traditional craft.
“The child advocacy center [that received the quilts] was elated,” she says. Each year, the center serves up to 500 children, many of whom have witnessed crimes and endured other forms of trauma. “Every child who goes to their advocacy center gets a blanket,” Popejoy says.
FUMC Pastor Keith Angelmeyer says the quilt ministry has invigorated the church, which averages up to 170 weekend worshipers.
“This has really injected a fair amount of energy in the congregation,” he says. “We’re really trying to demonstrate what this church does—it’s more than just Sunday morning.”