Sewing school: social ministry and church worker support

by Rev. Dr. Ralph Mayan

Deaconess Maria del Carmen Martinez and Deaconess Heyling Ordońez.

I am reminded of the ladies of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League-Canada (LWMLC), their commitment to Christ’s mission and their generous mites each time I enter the building that houses “Dorcas,” our LCC Mission Sewing School. The school began in 2001 with an initial grant from LWMLC; each year those grants have continued to come and that has permitted the mission to keep this social ministry program going. The instructor for the program is Santos Alvir. To date some 70 students have graduated from the program.

The school teaches design/pattern making and sewing to women (and some men too) who come with no marketable skills and in most cases are too poor to enrol in any other school. Their goals are lofty, they want to be able to support themselves and their families, but without this initial training, their chances of doing that are slim. It’s a joy to know that some of our graduates are now employed in one of the local clothing factories and others have opened little shops in their homes and now make and repair clothing.

In October 2010, the mission will open its own small clothing factory and will employ at least three graduates. Our product will be the 900 “school uniforms”  that we currently purchase each year for the Children’s Christian Education Program. The profits of this new business will help support the stipends paid to our pastors and deaconesses. It is part of the overall program in assisting the church to be self-supporting.

Three News Students with Instructor

This past summer our “Dorcas” sewing school expanded its operation and now holds weekly satellite classes in Rancheria. On my visit to the school last week, I was introduced to 19 students; three of whom were just beginning. While they were receiving lessons in pattern making, others were preparing their initial project out of paper, while still others were at the treadle machines. I was pleased to see Edila, the wife of Pastor Marvin from El Viejo in the class. Two of our deaconesses from El Piloto were also learning the skills: Deaconess Maria del Carmen Martinez and Deaconess Heyling Ordońez.

This social ministry project, as with other social ministry projects, makes contact with people at their human need and provides opportunity in this context to share grace and love of God with all the students.

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