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Quilting Ministry Is Her Passion

posted on October 29, 2015, under Church, Member by

by Shereen Scheuneman

Centenarian Elda Mae Reichard participates in Forest Lake Church’s Prayers and Squares ministry by hand-sewing each quilt’s perimeter binding.

Centenarian Elda Mae Reichard participates in Forest Lake Church’s Prayers and Squares ministry by hand-sewing each quilt’s perimeter binding. (Photo: Lee Bennett)

Elda Mae Reichard, is a special 100-year-old member of Prayers & Squares Ministry at Forest Lake Church, Apopka. Quilting ministry is her hobby, her passion! At home, she carefully hand sews the perimeter bindings of each quilt top before bringing her finished products to exchange for new quilt tops in need of hand sewn bindings.

Elda Mae celebrated her birthday at the Prayers & Squares quarterly birthday dinner when she turned 100 years old in May. At that time, she indicated that her goal had been to make prayer quilts until she was 100 years old, but now she was going to have to set a new goal!

Each Prayers & Squares meeting begins with many shared praises and prayer requests during a spirit-filled, prayerful, and interactive worship. It is love and intercessory prayer that transforms each quilt into a comforter.

Suddenly, the room is alive with activity. Six quilters work with fabric pieces forming intricate patterns soon to be sewn into unique quilt tops. Seam pressing, machine sewing, hand stitching, and knotting are all being done by more than a dozen ladies. Every quilt must have 60 knotted ties, each representing a special prayer for the person who will ultimately receive it.

To date, the dedicated members of this ministry have prepared 3,556 quilts for those facing major life challenges in 49 states and 35 countries. Each quilt requires 30 hours of work which equals 106,680 devoted hours of prayerful labor since 2004 when the ministry was formed under the prayerful and capable guidance of Jo Ann Roth. Collectively, these prayer quilts have blessed many people, and those who lovingly prepared each quilt are equally blessed.

Elda Mae's granddaughter, Aiko Ramdin, says, "Grandma continues to get up most mornings to have devotional time in her office. This picture says more about her than anything I could say."

Elda Mae’s granddaughter, Aiko Ramdin, says, “Grandma continues to get up most mornings to have devotional time in her office. This picture says more about her than anything I could say.” (Photo: Aiko Ramdin)

Elda Mae Thompson was born May 7, 1915, near Bloomington, Nebraska, as the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. She was married to Paul Reichard who passed away two and one half years ago.

Elda Mae retired from her career as a medical technologist at Kettering Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. As early as 1963, she and Jo Ann Roth, founder of the Forest Lake chapter of Prayers & Squares, made prayer quilts from used clothing for the Sunshine House at Kettering.

At 80, when she and her husband no longer participated in mission trips, and she retired from serving in the Kindergarten division, Elda Mae got into quilting. “She loves sewing and feels it gives her life purpose,” says daughter Margaret Hess. After moving to Florida in 2010, she became a member of Prayers & Squares.


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