From Day One: Growing in Faith (and Quilting) in the Pacific Northwest

Quilters from Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Chimacum, WA display their very first quilt in January 1978. The group, Lutheran Women in Mission, celebrated 30 years of quilting ministry in 2014.

To plant a church is one thing. Starting a quilting ministry is another thing. But growing a mission church, along with a quilting ministry? That is quite a thing—something that Edna Schenk and the women of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Chimacum, Wash., can tell you about.

Edna moved to Washington from Canada in 1978. She met and married her husband Glen during that same year. Glen was a civil service employee at the naval base on Vancouver Island. The newlyweds “settled in and began to look for a church.” The Schenks helped to plant a church in Chimacum, which came to be known as Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Beginning with the first Sunday in Advent in 1985, worship services were held in the Chimacum High School commons. “We made collapsible furnishings so we could store [them] from Sunday to Sunday. For nine years, we set up [and] tore down,” said Schenk.

During this time, the women’s group at the church became increasingly active in mission work—almost as soon as the church was established, a quilting group formed. “The very first quilt was sewn in January 1985,” said Schenk. Without a permanent space, the group, Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM), held meetings and did all of their quilting in members’ homes until new plans began to form.

After nine years filled with worship services, baptisms and even the ordination of a new pastor in the Chimacum High commons, Schenk says “it became evident that we needed to have our own place.” The quilting group was vocal in discussions about the plans for the new church space, insisting on a large basement space for quilting. A new church building was eventually completed – and sure enough, a dedicated space for quilting was included.

Last September, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer celebrated 30 years of ministry, with an active quilting ministry during the church’s entire history. A snapshot of LWM’s work over from 1985 to 2014 is impressive. In 30 years, the congregation has assembled and lovingly donated:

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  • 707 Fabric Kits
  • 3,879 Baby Care Kits
  • 6,906 School Kits
  • 6,774 Quilts

On behalf of Lutheran World Relief, we send our heartfelt thanks to the quilters of LWM in Chimacum for their dedication in working to end poverty, injustice and human suffering around the world!