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Dressing for Service

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joyce Bell stands beside dresses she and her friends from First Christian Church have made for orphans in Uganda.
(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
The words on one of the stained glass windows inside the beautiful church sanctuary read, "I am the good shepherd."

It's a message Joyce Bell and her fellow members of First Christian Church have been studying a lot lately, and it speaks clearly to what she and some of her friends are trying to accomplish in their new mission.

"To me, (the scripture) is Jesus showing his love for little children," Bell said. "That's what we want to do ... we want to spread our love around the world ... Jesus doesn't ignore them."

On the way

Bell and three ladies in the women's ministry at the church have been busy sewing pillowcase dresses for orphans in Uganda. The group's first shipment of dresses went out just days ago.

The idea to make the dresses was sparked by an article in a sewing publication. The magazine called for sewers to purchase material from them, make the dresses and send the final product back to the publication, which would in turn distribute the petite dresses to toddlers in need.

Thoughtful move

"But we thought, we can do better than that," Bell said.

She, along with Janie Burke, Janelle Douglas, and Karen Sue McDonald contacted the local Center For Family Development and found an orphanage with which they'd work. Bell shipped a few dozen dresses off to Colorado Thursday to missionaries headed to Uganda.

More to do

These words mirror the mission of the dress project.
(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
The ladies are already busy cutting and sewing another batch that will go to Haiti.

"They're so simple to make, and so many of us like to sew and have extra material," said Bell. "We really enjoyed doing this."

Bell said interim pastor Bob Stegal of Tuscumbia, Ala., who has been with First Christian for four months, has done an outstanding job in his role; several of his sermons have touched on the words in the window - John 10:11, a scripture which mirrors the dress project.

Years of helping

First Christian Church has been standing at its Madison Street location since 1961. A since-demolished portion of the building once housed the local hospital.

Bell and her late husband were married at the church's former location on the corner of Depot and Jefferson Streets in 1954.

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