Sewing circle (Mennonite)
A sewing circle is a monthly meeting of Mennonite women for the purpose of sewing bedding and clothing to be distributed by service and missionary organizations to people in need around the world. The Women's Missionary and Service Commission grew out of such sewing circles.
History of Sewing Circle Organizations
Mennonite women of Eastern Pennsylvania were sewing clothing for the needy as early as 1895 and it was only a short time before they organized themselves into the Paradise Sewing Circle in 1897. Women in Ontario were sewing clothes for distribution by deacons around the same time. The next decade saw more sewing circles organized in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Ontario, notably at Science Ridge Mennonite Church in Sterling, Illinois, and Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Indiana as early as 1900.
Clara Eby Steiner, widow of Menno Steiner, began calling for a more general society of Mennonite sewing circles around 1911, an effort that was accomplished in 1916. The organization continued to evolve, eventually broadening to other kinds of service and mission in the Women's Missionary and Service Commission.
- Gingerich, Melvin. "Sewing Circle". Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Herald Press. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Gingerich, Melvin and Barbara K. Reber. "Women's Missionary and Service Commission (Mennonite Church)". Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Herald Press. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Koch, Alice; Lorna Bergey (September 1995). "The Mennonite Cutting Room at Kitchener: Women Active in Mennonite Central Committee Relief Programs". Ontario Mennonite History. XIII (2). Retrieved 6 February 2012.