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Church sews, raises funds for Africa

Nancy Kimbrell, left, and Brenda Williams work on dresses during the United Methodist Women of Jefferson Street United Methodist Church’s first sewing bee in which they make clothing for children in Africa. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Nancy Kimbrell, left, and Brenda Williams work on dresses during the United Methodist Women of Jefferson Street United Methodist Church’s first sewing bee in which they make clothing for children in Africa. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Skirts, dresses and shorts hung from the doors of Jefferson Street United Methodist Church Saturday as members sewed their way to the hearts of Africa natives.

The church’s group, the United Methodist Women, gathered together to organize their first sewing bee, a program where women sew clothes for children in Africa.

“We are a mission minded church,” Gladys Ernst said while cutting fabric with Betsy Crawford. “That’s what God calls us to do.”

Nelda Thomas sews an article of clothing during sewing bee. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Nelda Thomas sews an article of clothing during sewing bee. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Among the many other missions and community work in which the church participates, Nelda Thomas said the church was looking for a mission to help children in Africa.

Thomas, who visits Liberia, for mission work with the church to teach medical skills to women of Africa every other year, said she saw where children were in dire stress.

“Just the need of the people over there was enough to make us want to help them anyway we could,” Thomas said. “They are very loving people who are in need of a lot of help.”

The members began sewing clothes for African children last week by using fabric pieces within their homes.

“It’s been great,” organizer Joan Heard said. “We have had lots of coop eration from the church and people have been willing to learn what to do so we can sew properly.”

UMW President Carol Smith was ironing fabric pieces so the women could have an easier time to sew.

“Some of us have to iron so the women can sew the seams properly,” Smith said. “We are just excited about doing this as a mission project.

Smith said working for a good cause, with her fellow sisters, has been a fun experience.

Ernst said the group does not have a set number of how many clothes they will sew, but the goal is to sew as many as possible.

“We just like to do things to help others,” Ernst said.

Thomas said she plans to take to take the clothes sometime this year to Liberia if a vaccine for the Ebola Virus is made available for U.S. Citizens.