The little country town of Eudunda and its surrounding farmland in South Australia’s mid-north had been very hard-hit by the drought. Many suffered great difficulty in silence, struggling to survive.
The generous donation of hay seemed like an answer to prayer! However, human nature showed itself, and the selfish behaviour of some meant that others more in need missed out on this life-saving gift. The resultant discord in the community saddened Margaret Doecke, a local quilt shop owner. She couldn’t bear to see her beloved community torn apart at a time when they all needed to support each other. Something had to be done – but what?
Margaret remembered seeing a picture of a beautiful display of quilts arranged in a church and thought, ‘why not do the same in Eudunda?’ It would be a visual delight, something to lighten the hearts of locals. Setting it in God’s house (at St John’s Lutheran Church, Eudunda) would remind people that God loves us all and that he expects us to love each other too.
Margaret set about drumming up support for her idea, and with Pastor Josh Muller (St John’s) and Andrew Partington (Eudunda Uniting Church) on the job, it was decided to combine local churches for an ecumenical service on Sunday, 30 June. The theme of the weekend was to be ‘Comfort, Hope and Healing’.
Margaret knew that St John’s would take quite some filling to achieve the joyous effect she was aiming for and so the call went out for quilts. Hearts and cupboards were opened near and far, resulting in almost 400 quilts being delivered to the church for display! Margaret and her band of helpers couldn’t believe it. They were kept very busy on the Friday, arranging quilts on the pews, walls and balcony! The result was spectacular.
St John’s was opened to the general public on Saturday, with the local CWA providing teas and accepting donations for drought relief through their Emergency Aid Fund.
Sunday was a chilly day for the ecumenical service, led by Pastor Josh and Andrew, who reminded us that just as a quilt comforts us and keeps us warm, so God comforts us and holds us close to him. The service was attended by approximately 200 people and Pastor Josh commented that it would be more difficult to count the congregation today, as they blended into the mass of colour!
People did indeed sit on and under the quilts – Eudunda can be jolly cold! The choir from St John’s Lutheran School sang beautifully, adding even more warmth to the atmosphere. Bronwyn Pfitzner presented the children’s address, giving a sewing lesson that many of us could relate to, and reminding us that there is a correct tool for every job and that God uses us for his work.
Loose offerings were divided between Lutheran Community Care and U-Care, who had recently lost their funding to support their services in Eudunda. Visitors came to support the Eudunda community, to remind them that they have not been forgotten. A community lunch was held after the service, attended by approximately 150 people. It was a warm and happy atmosphere. The soup was very popular!
The recent rains have given Eudunda locals hope and we thank God for this. More rain is needed, of course; please remember this in your prayers. We also thank God for his goodness in loving us all and pray that this community can reunite once more.
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