Congregational Church’s Lydia Circle to send dresses to Africa

Published 3:18 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2016

From left to right:  Carol Jean Vosburgh, Carol Mann, Janet Joens, Suzy Basler.

From left to right: Carol Jean Vosburgh, Carol Mann, Janet Joens, Suzy Basler.

100 dress sewing project near completion

These dresses go as little ambassadors in the name of Jesus to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy. Since Little Dresses for Africa’s (LDA) inception in 2008, 5.5 million of these dresses have been sent from the United States to clothe children who have only known rags.

It all started when, on a trip to Africa to celebrate her 50th birthday, Rachel O’Neill, a sociologist from the University of Michigan, was overwhelmed with the beauty of the continent and how extremely needy a lot of its people were, especially little girls. She decided to do what she could to help. So, she started Little Dresses for Africa (LDA), which is now an international, non-profit, 501c3 Christian organization.

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While the chief mission is to send dresses, providing fresh water and elementary education are two other major needs the program addresses. From headquarters in Michigan, the dresses are sent through mission teams’ direct mail to verified communities and taken personally by short-term mission teams to countries in Africa.

Members of the Lydia Circle of the Congregational Church Tryon have been sewing since Mother’s Day, making little dresses from pillowcases and leftover quilting fabric. Thanks to generous contributions and two sewing parties, 80 are finished and are on display in the fellowship hall of the church. The making of 20 more dresses is in the works.

Plans for this project began when Suzy Basler, an accomplished seamstress and quilter, read about LDA in the sewing magazine Nancy’s Notions a year and a half ago. Having witnessed extreme poverty from living in Panama with the U.S. Army for three years, and in her travels with Habitat for Humanity International, she thought that LDA would be an excellent project for Lydia Circle.

The Rev. Janet Joens, head of Lydia Circle, agreed that it would fit in nicely with the Circle’s busy schedule to help needy people, not only in Tryon but throughout our state and other parts of our world. Carol Mann, who is an accomplished sewer and quilter herself, eagerly stepped up to co-chair.

Hoping to move on to another project by mid-September, Circle members are having fun working to reach their goal of 100 dresses, finishing up hems and adding that last little bow.

The Congregational Church of Tryon is very proud of its Lydia Circle.

– article submitted by Suzy Basler and Ellen Harvey Zipf