What could be better in times like these than a big snuggly hug? If you’re a child of FUMCFW, Mister Mark and his Children’s Ministries team and a lot of volunteers have been working on just that in the form of a colorful, cozy, fleece, hand-tied blanket for every child in our congregation.
And is this just any old blanket? Of course not! If you know Mister Mark at all, you can be sure there’s a lot more meaning woven into this creative and symbolic gift to your kiddos!
“This isn’t just any blanket,” Mister Mark explains. “It’s a blanket for our kids, made by us. In tying every knot, we were thinking about them, praying for them, and remembering how much we love and miss them. Each blanket carries with it a big soft hug for our kids from their church.”
Mister Mark says that he thinks it’s important for kids to be allowed to feel all the feelings of this time apart — and to give them a tangible way to feel the love from their church surrounding them in a soft, warm hug. “All this staying at home and staying safe is so very important,” he adds, “but we want kids to know that even when we’re apart, we love you and miss them very much.”
Mark laughs. “This was just another of my wild ideas,” he says. “Janice knew how to make them. I had wondered aloud about how long it would take to make enough for every child in our church to get one. Turns out – it takes a while – about 45 minutes each, even after building a “blanket table” with carpet squares and duct tape. “We’ve still got fleece scraps everywhere!” he adds, “I’ve loved getting to watch kids open their packages and see which blanket they got. (We have about 16 different combinations)
To date, Mister Mark and his crew have made more than 300 of these colorful blankets and distributed them to 180 to families who have come to the Church to pick them up. “We’ve still got about 90 packages ready to go, and it won’t take long to make enough to stay ahead of the curve,” he adds.
Mark extends his gratitude to all the volunteers who spent untold hours bringing this “wild idea” to life by tying these blankets by hand. In addition to Mark, his daughters Emma and Grace, and Janice and her daughter, Katie, and Mary Katri, many others from our staff and our church lent a hand, including Nancy Michalik, Tim Bruster, Nancy McCann, Holly Clifford, Julie Dean, Mike Marshall, Michaela Lidecker & family, Madison Ledbetter, Kathryn Davis, Lisa Breivogel, Andrea Rankin, Carol Harrell, Rhonda Gaber, Sara Davis, Phyllis Barren, Ashley Tillerson, Sharon Wynn and more!
If you have children and have not picked up a blanket for each child, the Children’s Ministries Team will distribute blankets again on September 13 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm in the West parking lot, and all First Church families with children are invited to come and pick up a blanket for each child in their family. And, if you can’t make it to the church to pick up your blanket(s), please contact Janice Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange to pick one up. “We’ll meet you at the West door!”
“It’s our privilege to hand each child their own blanket from our church,” Mister Mark says, “so that every time they put it around their sweet little shoulders, they will remember just how much we love them.”