Busy Hands, Fast Friends

by Mar 1, 2024Nonprofits, North Brunswick

Members of the Sisterhood at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Belville form friendships by making things for others.

More than three dozen lap quilts in colorful patterns lay folded on tables in the Fellowship Hall at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Belville. The Sisterhood at the church made the quilts and will deliver them to senior skilled nursing facilities. This is the latest in the projects the group began when the Sisterhood formed in March 2022.

The women praise Selena Robinson of Wilmington for designing the lap quilts.

“She is multi-talented,” says Bertha Quince of Belville. “I don’t sew. I do the ironing. I just enjoy being here.”

Retired medical assistant/pharmacist technician Louise Harrison founded the Sisterhood. “After COVID I thought we needed something to come together,” the Belville resident and church member says. She consulted her husband, Deacon Robert Harrison, and contacted several friends, who all believed she should act on the idea. The next step was to speak with Rev. Frederick McLean, pastor of the church, for permission to use the hall as its venue.

Sisterhood Crocheting Leland NC

Pastor McLean says he listened to Harrison and his initial reaction was, “Let’s do it.” He understood her intention to involve the women in the ministry and pull them together in unity, and he approved of the idea to include not just church members, but women in surrounding communities.

“Some of the things they are doing work with our missionary department, such as when they go to the rest homes and help the less fortunate,” McLean says.

He and his wife, Sherry, who is assistant pastor, visit their meetings and see the projects materialize. The McLeans’ granddaughter, Amara McLean, taught the group how to make earrings and other jewelry while her sister, Kiara McLean, will teach an art class at a future meeting.

The group meets every other Saturday from 11 am to 1 pm. “Rather than waiting for a meeting once a month, I thought every two weeks would keep their interest,” Harrison says.

The group decided at their first meeting they would do things for other people. They began by filling gift baskets with food, lotion, tissues and other necessary items then distributed the baskets to shut-ins and sick members of their families and the congregation.

The group realized they could expand beyond the people they knew. Fayrence Richburg of Leland suggested the group make tote bags for the homeless.
“We made more than two dozen totes and took them to Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington,” Harrison says.

selena robinson bertha quince toni green crocheting

Some of the members do not sew, but Harrison, Robinson, Phyllis Garner of Belville and Alfredia Cobia of Leland showed the others that skill.

Intense at her sewing machine, Garner says, “All of us have different talents.”

Veronica Middleton of Leland displays the four bandanas she sewed together, and the group claps at seeing what she has done. “I never sewed,” she says. “I used my daughter’s machine for this.”

“I know how to sew, but I learned how to put the lap quilts together,” says Elizabeth Hasty of Leland.

“Those being taught are doing a good job, an excellent job,” says Toni Green of Wilmington, an accomplished crocheter. She is teaching Quince to crochet.
“I make quilts, and Kim is teaching us different designs,” Garner adds.

Kim Robbins of Belville demurs about her talents but says she recently had a shoulder replacement and appreciates the kind words the women have given to her and give to each other. “I love how these women keep me encouraged,” she says.

Laura Vaughan of Leland says Harrison pulls out the talents they did not know they had. “I knew I could make jewelry, but I was once very shy,” she says. “Now I can pray in public and do public speaking.”

Among the other items the Sisterhood has made are bracelets, crocheted key chains, pillows and dolls. In 2022 they made ornaments for the Christmas tree at the church.

phyllis garner sews a lap quilt

All members agree the major advantage of being in the Sisterhood is the camaraderie.

“I like being around everyone,” says Edith Yeoman of Leland. “I like everything about [the Sisterhood]. They taught me to crochet.”

“They give good ideas of things to do, and they are nice people to talk to,” says Shirley Waddell of Belville. She showed the others how to make tissue boxes from canvas and taught them how to make dolls out of a pair of socks.

“I like putting a smile on someone’s face,” says Toni Green of Wilmington.

Harrison says the group meets every two weeks because it keeps the women interested.

“We come together and unite and have projects,” Harrison says. She starts each meeting with a hymn, a Biblical quote, prayers and inspirational motivations then asks for contributions from the group. Green reminds the group to have patience and learn how to wait for prayers to be answered.

“You don’t have to belong to this church to be a part of the group,” Harrison says. “Several churches are represented here. Everyone is invited. We readily encourage all ages to attend the gatherings, share their talents and share fellowship.”

Want to join?
Sisterhood at Providence Missionary Baptist Church
10499 Chappell Loop Road SE, Belville
Louise Harrison
(910) 231-9844