The Blanket Ministry team at Trinity UMC in Rensselaer has been known for sewing and giving quilts as a symbol of comfort and prayer for those who are sick, mourning, recovering from surgery, or celebrating a new baby.

During the pandemic, the team met three days a week to sew masks and gowns for first responders. The fabric was generously donated from Legget & Platt, a local bedding store, the Comfort Inn, and community members who wanted to help. There were 32 people who actively sewed during this time, some from their homes and some who set up socially-distanced stations at the church.

Nancy Klockow, Blanket Ministry chairperson, remarked, “The word got around, and it was remarkable. It wasn’t anyone else but God doing all that.”

More recently, though, the team has adopted a new endeavor serving children in their county.

In February, the group began making pillowcases for children who are removed from their homes. In these circumstances, children often don’t have much time to gather personal belongings before leaving. The Missions Committee at Trinity UMC partnered with the Blanket Ministry team to put together care packages with a pillow, blanket, and other goodies. The pillow cases are embroidered with the message “God Loves You” in hopes that they will provide both physical and emotional comfort. The group met twice, in February and June, to make batches of pillowcases to give to social services representatives who work with the children.

Norris and Rita Barnett holding up the pillowcases made for children.

George Roy, who recently joined the team, wanted to give back after his wife and sister-in-law had been blessed with prayer and blankets. He originally planned on helping the team by carrying the sewing machines and setting up the room, but he was quickly commissioned to help with the pillowcase event.

When George was in the Navy, he hemmed pant legs. He described it as “five quick stitches along the bottom of the pant leg— just enough to keep them up,” he said. George was appointed to the serger machine, which secures strong seams on the pillowcases. He has since been nicknamed the “master surgeon” for his dedication to learning the new skill.

In addition to pillowcases, the stitchers are still busy making blankets to give to people as needed. Within the first half of 2021, the group blessed people with 38 blankets. Anyone can receive one, regardless of their connection to Trinity UMC.

Every other month, batches of blankets are prayed over during a worship service. During this time, Nancy shares the mission of the group and invites newcomers to join.

While an exact number is unknown, hundreds of blankets have been prayed over and delivered. About 35 pillow cases have been made so far. As members have transitioned in and out of the group over the years, God has remained faithful in bringing people to continue the ministry of showing love. The team is grateful for ways they can serve through their creative gifts.

Each blanket is finished with a Trinity UMC label.