Church across nation donates supplies for local quilt ministry

David Robinson, left, principal of Peace with Christ Christian School in Colorado, listens as his mother Becky Hannah reads a letter of appreciation. SARAH PERRY/The Saline Courier
Sarah Perry
Staff Writer

In May of 2016, the historic Zion Lutheran Church in Avilla was destroyed by a fire. The fire also destroyed 6,000 pounds of food in the church’s food pantry along with 90 quilts and numerous supplies used for the Needful Quilt Ministry.

“The fire just devastated us,” said Virginia Rupe, one of the founders of the quilting ministry.

David Robinson, principal at Peace with Christ Christian School in Aurora, Colorado, grew up as part of the congregation at the Arkansas historic church.

His great-great-grandfather was even one of the people who built the “the little white church,” so the fire was very emotional for him.

“It took my breath away,” he said.

Robinson remembers meeting the youth group, getting married and even filming a commercial at the church.

“That white church building was always there,” he said.

Because of his connection to the Arkansas church, students at the Peace with Christ Christian School, members of the Peace with Christ Lutheran Church and other people in the Aurora, Colorado, community decided to collect donations for the ministry group.

There were three significant contributors to the drive: a lifelong quilter who donated all of her supplies, a man who donated his late wife’s quilting collection and a quilting organization for another Colorado church.

Recently, Robinson and his wife, Diana, along with their son Preston, 14, traveled 18 hours across the country with a trailer containing all the donations.

The family bought 38 40-pound bags and 20 boxes filled with supplies and a check for more than $600.

The donation was a surprise to the ministry group at the Arkansas, so when the items were revealed Friday morning the quilters were amazed and some even cried tears of joy.

“You can’t describe it…God is good,” Rupe said.

She estimates the donation is valued at approximately $5,000.

The Needful Quilt Ministry started with the inspiration of Robinson’s mother Becky Hannah and Rupe.

While taking her granddaughter on a field trip, Rupe and the eight-year-old child saw a homeless person. The girl asked her grandmother why the man did not have a place to live.

“I couldn’t let it go,” Rupe said.
Because she has been a quilter since she was 12 years old, she decided to start the ministry at the church to provide quilts for the homeless.

The group which started with six ladies has expanded to about 15 women who create quilts for people who are homeless, on hospice care and in the hospital. The group also makes quilts for the National Down Syndrome Association to provide to new parents. The women created 50 lap quilts and 50 large quilts within the first six months.

The church is “just a building, the people are what makes this a special thing,” Robinson said. “The work that these people do will continue… the work of the Lord is going to continue to shine through.”

The Needful Quilt Ministry group receives a grant through Thrivent Financial but most of the supplies for the quilts came from donations made by the members of the group.

The church also has another group “The Sew Whats” that sew quilts as a ministry.