History of Threads of Love

Words from our national founder, Clinel “Sissy” Davis

www.threadsoflove.org

“Threads of Love was originally started as a sewing ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, meeting the needs of tiny premature infants. The ministry is about healing and binding hearts together of parents at a time of uncertainty about their baby’s health or when they lose an infant. Our mission is to show parents the love of Christ at a time when their personal pain is hard to endure and let them know that God is faithful. Through acts of obedience and donation, His work can and will continue. We pray that this ministry will have an impact far beyond our expectations.

 

The Rescue Hug

This is a picture from an article called “The Rescue Hug”. The article details the first week of a set of twins.

Apparently, each were in their respective incubators, and one was not expected to live.
A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules and placed the babies in one incubator.

When they were placed together, the healthier of the twins reached out an arm over the sister in an endearing embrace. The smaller baby’s heart stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.

Let us not forget to embrace those whom we love.

The ladies have been making day gowns small enough to fit those tiny 1-3 pound babies. After all the sewing is collected, a packet is made up containing a gown, blanket, cap and a prayer. These are given to the local hospital and in turn each mother who gives birth to a premature or sick baby is given this packet as a gesture of saying silently, God loves you and is with you. The need for burial gowns was the beginning of the sewing ministry. They are being used to help the families say their goodbyes and put a closure to the loss of their baby. Our society has come to realize a mother who loses an infant is in deep pain. The hospitals have begun to encourage the parents to see and hold their babies. These babies are dressed in our little gown, bonnet and blanket, and the prayer is given to the parents. Our ladies feel that in dressing these tiny babies they are being gift wrapped to send back to our Lord: after all, they belong to Him and they are only on loan to us. These parents need the support of their friends and family. We have received so many letters from mothers who stated how much it would have meant to them if they could have seen their little one dressed in something other than a piece of material or paper gown. Most of the time the mother chooses to keep the bonnet or blanket as a keepsake to remember her baby.

The seed for the ministry was planted in the fall of 1993, when a pediatrician from Earl K. Long Charity Hospital contacted the Rev. Russ Stevenson. The pediatrician saw a great need to minister to these grieving families whose little angels are born too soon or are too sick to survive by providing burials gowns. In turn, the Rev. Stevenson put the request out to the women of the church. Anna Miller, then chairperson of the Christian Community Action committee, began looking for seamstresses within the church. This is when I joined with Anna in her efforts to find patterns that would fit 1-3 lb. babies. A Cabbage Patch doll pattern was the basis that we worked from after finding out that newborn patterns were much too big. Several of us made some dresses, bonnets, and blankets only to find out they needed to be downsized. Then the Lord saw the need that a special gift of $100 was needed. This made it possible to purchase a bolt of white batiste, and we were to make up kits containing the cut out outfits with lace and ribbon. The only things the ladies were to furnish to make the little dresses were the thread and love. I placed a notice in the church bulletin stating, “All you need is a lot of love, and thread-” Hence the ministry received its name “Threads of Love.”

In September of 1994, Leslie Zganjor with the Associated Press wrote an article on infant mortality and included a story of our ministry. This is when the public became aware of “Threads of Love.” Other letters were received from mothers of families who had premature babies to thank us for our efforts.

On a visit to Earl K. Long, Cindy Collins, the nurse supervisor of the Neonatal Intensive Care, asked if we could make little day gowns for their small babies, and of course, our answer was “yes”. The nurses love to dress the babies up. This brings to mind a letter I received from a mother. She stated her baby was too little to even cry. On a visit one day some caring person had given the nursery a little dress, and when she came for a visit, her baby was dressed. In the bed with the baby was a note, “Mama, I may to be too little to cry, but how do I look in my big girl clothes?” Then in 1995, Julie Kay wrote our story about the day gowns in the Saturday religion section of the newspaper. Again the letters came in requesting information about “Threads of Love”.

October 1995, CNN interviewed us on Across American with Larry Woods. The story was aired in January 1996 about the work our ministry was doing. In February of 1996, Linda Grace submitted “Threads of Love” to the JC Penny Golden Rule committee. The panel of judges awarded our group of seamstresses first place winners in the Group categories. Our group was honored in April at the Golden Rule Award Luncheon. Later the Lord honored us by publicizing our ministry in a Family Circle Magazine column “Women Who Make a Difference”. Following that, we answered more than 1,268 letters in one week. Subsequently, in October in “Heroes for Today”, Reader’s Digest and in “Sewing for a Purpose”, Butterick Magazine 1998, we were again shown the hand of the Lord at work in His ministry. All the glory must go to Him for He has made this ministry possible. When you pay a bill for printing of $112 on Friday and go to the bank on Monday and make a deposit of $112 from donations, you know He is at work. The Lord has revealed His hand at work in this ministry so many times. You know this is His ministry. This ministry has caught the attention of loving, caring people from all 50 states, as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, Australia and Africa. Between July 15, 1997 and June 22, 1998, there have been 2,816 requests for information about patterns and copies of the prayers that are used.

Then in a chain of events the Lord showed His hand once again. While a homeless person was digging in a dumpster for food, he found the body of an infant who had been thrown away by his mother like an unwanted article. When this tragedy was aired on the local TV stations, Threads of Love stepped forward to furnish a burial gown and through this act of obedience we met a support group called HUGGS. From this meeting we joined with them and had our second Season of Hope at Christmas. Through this ministry we have learned that the loss of an infant leaves a mother and her family in need of being nurtured and the importance of closure. We celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, so it is a beautiful time to remember the birth of a special little baby. For Christians, Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection and family traditions. But for those who have suffered the loss of a child, it is a lonely and difficult time of the year. To me it is important to remember those babies, who are gifts from the Lord, especially when we live in a time when so many babies are killed through abortion. We remember the loss of our wanted babies with a service called a “Season of Hope,” maybe it will change the hearts and minds of those that see no harm in abortion.

“A Season of Hope” is a seasonal service dedicated to the memory of those precious children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. The service is designed to help families, friends, caregivers and the general public remember their precious little child and the dreams they had for them. It is a service where a family can gather with other family members to find healing and comfort in their loss. The service offers a special time of remembering the love still held for a beloved baby. The “Tree of Remembrance and Light” is the centerpiece of “Season of Hope’s Service. The tree is decorated with tiny white lights representing the babies’ place of honor in our hearts. Though they are gone, they will always be remembered with each passing season. White ribbons with each baby’s name written on it are then tied to the branches of the tree, acknowledging their presence. After the reading of the names of each special baby, the tree is lit and shines brightly symbolizing their life and the fact that light will always shine brightly in our hearts. After the service we serve punch, coffee and light snacks. This gives the parents a time to visit with one another and a time to share in their loss.

God has given us all a talent that we are to use to serve Him. We have been taught to see where God is at work and join Him.We feel that this is a ministry the Lord would have others join in to blanket the country with Threads of Love.

“There are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:13

Thank you for your time and interest. May the LORD continue to bless you and your family.”