The blessing occurred on 16 June, a day when central committee members were observing the Thursdays in Black campaign for a world free from rape and violence.
“Our prayer is that this peace quilt will be a symbol calling us to be in solidarity in prayer and in our common pilgrimage,” the WCC governing body read in its blessing.
In a prayer, they thanked God for women everywhere who use their willing hands to give comfort and life’s necessities to those in need.
“Gracious God, shower your blessings upon this gift, upon the women of the Mennonite World Conference, and upon your people scattered throughout the world who use their resources and talents for warmth, shelter, and for sustaining life especially to the world’s downtrodden peoples,” they prayed.
About the peace quilt
Jeannette Stenvers, from the Mennonite Church in The Netherlands, explained the creative and caring process behind the peace comforter.
During the second Global Mennonite Peace Festival in June 2019 in The Netherlands, people were invited to help finish a couple of comforters and to work together on a new comforter by creating a message of peace on a square of fabric. After the festival, the squares were sewn into a comforter and presented to the WCC as a message of this festival, as a symbol the commitment to comfort each other on our common Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. Some squares were left open, so we can think about all the unheard voices, of people who can’t speak out for themselves.
At the end of WWII, the Mennonite Central Committee sent clothes, blankets, simple quilts and other relief goods to Europe, for people who were bereft, left with about nothing at all. Some of these quilts are still around, though very worn out!
Those quilts are called “comforters” because, they provide warmth, comfort, shelter, love and hope. “It’s a handmade message to people that their needs are not forgotten,” said Stenvers. “Following our American and Canadian brothers and sisters, European Mennonite congregations started making comforters, too, since 2012 and they are quite productive!”
European Mennonite congregations worked together to make shipments with comforters and other goods that are sent to the Middle East and some to Lesbos (Greece).
“It is such a simple way to work together in a group or in a congregation,” said Stenvers. “Everyone can join in on making comforters, men, women, young and old.”