Borchers congregation supports Lutheran World Relief


Walking into the sanctuary, members of the congregation could admire the work that had been done.

Handmade blankets that had been put together throughout the year draped the pews. Baby care kits, fabric kits and school kits were propped up in front for everyone to see.

The morning services at St. Paul Lutheran Church Borchers on Sunday gave the Rev. Stephen Wood and members time to reflect on the time and effort it took to make the items and also show appreciation to those who had a hand in all of it.

They were more than pieces of material or a collection of items, Wood said. Each piece that was created was an expression of love.

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“There’s no way for us to imagine the power and effect an act of love can have on a person’s life, how you can use something as small as a quilt or layette or school kit, a health kit to radiate your life across the world,” Wood said while dedicating the items Sunday morning.

Wood said he hopes the items will be used in God’s service and become a blessing for all those who receive them.

“You call us to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, comfort the weary and outcast, welcome the stranger and be a loving neighbor to all people of the Earth,” he said. “We send these items as expressions of your grace and love to all who receive them. … You have blessed us with so many gifts. Now, we offer the fruits of the labor of all that had a hand in creating these quilts and gifts to you.”

After the second worship service Sunday, all of the items were taken from the sanctuary to the fellowship hall, where they were placed in boxes and loaded into a trailer. From there, they were taken to Kettering, Ohio, before being shipped to Maryland, where Lutheran World Relief will distribute them around the world.

Founded by Lutherans in the United States at the end of World War II, Lutheran World Relief tackles global poverty by helping people adapt to the challenges that threaten their livelihoods and well-being, according to The organization works with people based on need, regardless of race, religion or nationality, and does not evangelize. The goal is to provide aid in emergencies and help families restore their lives.

Jan Otte, a member of the Borchers congregation, said the church has been supporting Lutheran World Relief for at least 40 years.

This year, 339 blankets, 260 school kits, 44 baby care kits or layettes and 28 fabric kits were made or assembled by church members.

Church member Olga Otte is part of a group that works on the blankets throughout the year, either meeting at the church or making them at home.

She said they received several hundred pounds of material from a woman’s estate to use.

“We had some beautiful material, and that’s why we made up fabric kits this year,” she said. “Usually, we don’t do that, but we had such pretty material that we could do that this year.”

Plus, other people dropped fabric off at the church.

“I walked in one day and there ended up being six totes of fabric, and I have no clue where some of it even came from,” Olga said. “They just kept showing up because (people) know we’re making the blankets.”

The number of blankets also included some made of fleece that were put together by the youth.

“I have a friend that makes them for her church, and they didn’t do anything with them this year, so she gave them to me,” Jan said of the fleece material.

Church member Jamie Baker said that was a way for the youth to contribute because it involved tying the edges so the pieces of material stayed together.

The youth also helped assemble the school kits, which included a backpack filled with notebooks, rulers, erasers, pens, pencils, scissors and more.

“That’s something that they can relate to,” Baker said. “They put together 100 kits in 20 minutes.”

The baby care kits included two types of blankets, a jacket, diapers made out of T-shirts, diaper pins, a couple of T-shirts and pajamas.

Olga said a church member went on a mission trip to Haiti in June and took some of the blankets, school kits and baby care kits to distribute.

It was up to the rest of the congregation to come together Sunday to pack the rest up. With the number of people who stayed around to help, that didn’t take long.

“It’s just amazing, like this part of it, all of this packing and stuff, we’ll be out of here by 12:30,” Jan said. “Our church has really grown in that respect.”

Jan said the boxes are labeled to allow people to track what country they go to.

Olga recalled a time when she saw a picture of a child in another country holding a blanket that looked like one made by someone at Borchers.

“It was like, ‘Oh cool,'” she said. “We’ve seen pictures of kids or people using things. … It’s something that’s very sentimental to them.”

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For information about Lutheran World Relief, visit


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