What better season can there be than Christmas, when we celebrate Gods great love for us, to festoon our church with quilts, gifts of love made by St Mark's Quilters.
These larger, crib sized quilts, will soon be off to the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre at Liverpool where each little boy or girl will be given one of our quilts when they start there this year.
I love how our quilts look with such a beautiful backdrop!
Then there are the Blankets of Love, around 60cm square, each destined to one day wrap around a tiny baby in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Some of these bubs will be struggling to live. But some will not have survived their birth, and the quilt will either go with them when their parents say goodbye, or become a keepsake, a lasting memory of their precious little baby.
Either way, these grieving parents will know that a quilter at St Mark's cared enough to stitch love into a quilt especially to comfort them.
We hung up to nine quilts on each sandstone column, suspended by their corners, and the overall effect was amazing.
With fresh flowers up in the sanctuary, red bows on the pew ends, and a glittering Christmas tree beside the font, the church looked incredibly beautiful, all dressed for Christmas.
Here's how it looked later that evening, as the choir processed in to our Carols Service by candlelight singing "Once in Royal David's City".
But it was when the lights were turned on that our quilts really shone.
Our quilters choose their own colour combinations from the stash of appropriate fabrics we've collected, even sometimes adding fabrics from their own stashes to achieve the end result. What you don't see, though, is the metres and metres of batting that goes inside our quilts, something that would be very expensive indeed if our quilters had buy their own.
We like to think of this cuddly inner layer as the heart of our quilts, making them soft and comforting.
Ever since we began, the members of Rotary Inner West have given us a generous donation towards our batting each year, for which we're incredibly grateful.
While the quilts were hanging in the church Di B and I invited President Fay Thurlow, along with Sandra Bloxham, member of the Board of Directors, for a private tour to see the quilts hanging in St Mark's, followed by morning tea in the church garden.
We were delighted that they presented us with a cheque, in memory of a member of our church family, Peter Crooks, who was also a member of Rotary Inner West and passed away in September. Peter was very supportive of the ministry of St Mark's Quilters, so it was quite an emotional occasion for us all.
This year we hope to keep on encouraging our keen group of quiltmakers to keep trying out new quilting techniques as they develop their creativity and, at the same time, bring a warm quilty hug to those who need it.
We love because God first loved us.