2018-06-07 / Front Page

Area Church embraces partnership with Tanzanians

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com


Beverly Helen, a former member of Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church of Burton, traveled to Tanzania and meet many of the people the pastor of Our Risen Lord said have been a source of encouragement for local church members. Members of Our Risen Lord recently made clothing for their partners in Tanzania; the Mbulu Diocese, part of the evangelical church in Tanzania. Beverly Helen, a former member of Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church of Burton, traveled to Tanzania and meet many of the people the pastor of Our Risen Lord said have been a source of encouragement for local church members. Members of Our Risen Lord recently made clothing for their partners in Tanzania; the Mbulu Diocese, part of the evangelical church in Tanzania. BURTON — A powerful example of how an idea can become a community effort and can affect many in far away places recently came to life! Church members, along with others, helped make dresses out of pillowcases for those in Tanzania.

“We also made shorts for little boys,” said Joy Burns, a member of Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church who is also the parish nurse and teaches adult Sunday school.

“The dresses are made of 100 percent cotton, have drawstring ties and are sundresses,” Burns added. “The shorts pull on and have pockets. This clothing is durable. This was what was suggested to us because of the washing circumstances. They don’t have washers or dryers.”


Joy Burns, member/parish nurse/teacher of adult Sunday school (left) and Pastor Sue Lidums of Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church stand proudly by clothing church members helped make for partners in Tanzania. 
Photo by Tanya Terry Joy Burns, member/parish nurse/teacher of adult Sunday school (left) and Pastor Sue Lidums of Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church stand proudly by clothing church members helped make for partners in Tanzania. Photo by Tanya Terry Many members of Our Risen Lord Lutheran Church recently donated new and gently used 100 percent cotton pillowcases, cotton material, elastic and sewing supplies, which church members also used to make the dresses for children who are part of part Mbulu Ministries, which the church partners with.

The support of Thrivent Financial included $250 in seed money used by the church’s Mbulu Committee to purchase pillowcases, bolts of fabric and bias tape trim. Those who don’t sew were able to contribute by cutting and sorting, assembling kits and painting décor on some of the dresses. Following the gathering to make dresses at the church, pre-cut, ready to make clothing kits were given to be completed at home by members of the church who sew.

Burns came up with the idea to make the clothing after seeing a similar project being done at a church in Florida.

“Children in Africa don’t often get new clothes,” she said.

The work extended to a life skills class (formerly called home economics) at West Middle School, in Grand Blanc, thanks the class’ instructor, Anitha Perdue and Holly Hatfield, a church member who is also an art teacher.

Burns said those who are part of Mbulu Ministries walk to church and stand for hours.

“They don’t have electricity,” she said. “They are in one of the poorest areas.”

Pastor Sue Lidums said a lot of church services in Tanzania are held under a tree because there is no church building.

Lidums said one of the phrases often used at the church is “God work – our hands,” and this project embodies that phrase.

The church’s goal was to make 300 dresses, and the school will donate 70. Lidums said members were quite confident they would meet their goal.

“We receive as much from our partners in Tanzania as they receive from us,” Lidums said. “We receive understanding from them and a tremendous spirit of evangelism. They are so energized!”

Burns said she learned an organization in Michigan called Little Dresses for Africa gets requests for dresses quite often, and the church will likely get involved with this organization in the future.

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