Fireside Knitters = Cozy Missionaries Among Us!

The Fireside Knitters gather every Thursday from 9:00 to Noon.  While it’s true that they are sitting and knitting, they are also reaching out to the Eastside and the World through their efforts.  They are busy creating beautiful lap robes, mittens, wristlets, hats and scarves. This group of women of all ages gather the first and third Thursdays of each month, in the Fireside room adjacent to the main lobby at BelPres.

If you stop in for a quick visit, you will hear more than knitting needles clicking at a fast pace! You will hear conversation between lifelong friends and newcomers; stories of family celebrations and prayer requests; and information on how to learn a new pattern or stitch. Fireside Knitters creations can be found gracing heads, hands, necks and laps of many vulnerable populations both locally and around the world!

Whether it is lap robes for persons who are homebound, hats and mittens for elementary kids across the mountains in eastern Washington, baby blankets for families in Guatemala – this group is committed to serving those in need, both locally and globally. Anyone is welcome to join in, no matter what their level of knowledge or skill. If you want to learn to knit or crochet, and see your creations be used by God, the ladies are happy to show you how to do it! Yarn is supplied, as needed, as well as patterns, knitting needles or crochet hooks. Be the crafting hands of Jesus for a world in need. Stop by for a visit, or come on in and sit for a bit; the Fireside Knitters will teach you what you want to learn while sharing life with you by the fire.

Come knit with us! 

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BelPres Missions Week in Pictures

By Mary McCracken, Director of Community Outreach

Our Mission’s team has been busy the past two weeks! Below are pictures from just a few of our events.

Israel – Palestine Group

The Israel-Palestine group hosted a very exciting event called Hope for the Holy Land. Sponsored by World Vision and hosted by BelPres and Overlake Christian Church, we welcome a panel of people to discuss the most pressing issues in achieving peace in this region of the world.

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Fireside Knitters

The Fireside Knitters continue to work on a variety of projects for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. These beautiful women of all ages meet the first and third Thursday of the month in the Welcome room from 9 – noon.

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High School and the Middle at Mary’s Place

This past Saturday we loaded up the BelPres vans with BelPres FLM and Missions staff, parents, youth, kitchen supplies and PIES!!! We journeyed to Mary’s Place in downtown Seattle to worship with women and children experiencing homelessness. Afterwards, we were privileged to join volunteers from two other churches to serve a hot and delicious Thanksgiving meal, including pies. A great time was had by all! Did we say PIES?!?!?

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Jubilee REACH Festival of Trees

A stellar event kicking off the holiday season in Bellevue. Jubilee REACH staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to create a beautiful celebration of all that the Lord is doing through them to care for young people in Bellevue. The Bellevue community generously gave over $845,000.00!!!
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Knitting Disneyland

By Mary McCracken, Director of Community Outreach

Mary McCrackenAs the new Director of Community Outreach, I have been slowly making the rounds to the various agencies and groups who partner with BelPres in our surrounding community and at the church. This past Thursday morning I decided to hang out with some of our home crowd, the ladies who make up the BelPres Fireside Knitters. As a person who loves all things yarn, I was looking forward to meeting women with a like-minded passion and to the conversation I knew would ensue.

Having just moved to the area, some of my “non-essentials” are still packed away. I woke up early to search for my knitting needles, but to no avail. Not wanting to embarrass myself by showing up empty-handed, I grabbed a crochet project I found in a drawer, stuffed it into a bag with a crochet hook I found in my pencil jar, and arrived promptly at 9 a.m.

Meeting in the library just off the church lobby, the setting is beautiful for knitting. Light pouring into the windows, comfortable couches, books lining the walls. Over the next hour, the ladies arrived, each one with their knitting projects in hand. As the newcomer, at first I introduced myself; quickly, the ladies took over and would introduce me to those who arrived next.

At one point, Jan King took me to what I now call “Knitting Disneyland,” a room filled with yarn and completed projects waiting for the proper season to be given out. Beautiful hats and gloves for school kids who live in poverty, neck and wrist warmers for the homeless, lap robes for the elderly or those who are ill. In showing me the various projects and patterns, Judy discovered a ball of yarn that would complement my crochet project and we returned to the library. The room was crowded now, with multiple conversations, laughter and the joyful feeling of community.  I searched to find a seat; two women scooted close together on the couch to make room for me. As we squished together, I felt a shifting in my spirit, comfort and peace encircling me.

I was a newbie, yet one of the group. Some of the women reminded me of my mom, who lives across the country and whom I seldom see. One woman shared that she was facing a heart-breaking decision, and we paused to pray for her. Another woman was struggling with her pattern, and two of us leaned in to see where we could help. Another woman passed around a small piece of knitting she had been working on as she learned a new type of stitch. Always, there were stories being shared and two hours quickly passed. As I left to head back upstairs to my office, the ladies warmly asked me to come back in two weeks. “Bring your projects,” they said, “or work on one of ours.” I assured them I would return.

Back at my desk, I thought about what had just transpired. Two hours of knitting! But there was more. God weaves His story through the tapestry of time. He invites us into the marvelous, beautiful, glorious work of His love for His creation, weaving our individual threads into the greater whole. The Fireside Knitters are quietly working their own threads into God’s tapestry. They take their simple yarn and work it into beautiful, practical, creative gifts for those who are in need. As they send out their gifts, they wrap others into God’s story of redemption and reconciliation. As well, they take the threads of their individual stories, weave them into each other’s lives, building community through prayer, laughter, work, and presence.

As a newcomer, I felt the gentle thread of the Fireside Knitters’ welcome and acceptance wrap around me and draw me in. In the beauty of the room, squished on the couch, listening to stories, God was inviting me to weave my thread into the tapestry of a new community. That community is busy in the missional work of valuing the lives of those who are often devalued by our society: immigrant children, the homeless, the elderly and the chronically ill. Though their work is quiet, peaceful, simple – they are kingdom power brokers.

“My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ…” (Col 2:2 NET). 

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Now it’s your turn! Where have you felt God’s presence in a strong community?