• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Praises Through Pillowcases

As I visited a dear friend in Hospice preparing to leave this world and go to be with our Heavenly Father I smiled as I saw her head on the beautiful butterfly pillowcase. It wasn’t just any pillowcase - it was one her church made for her. It touched me so that I decided to go see what Common Threads was all about. My family laughed that I would do anything that even had the word, “sew” in it. Or “iron!” But there was lots for me to do. I cut ribbon, cut fabric, ironed pillowcases, etc. So much love went into those pillowcases!


Years ago a church member had gone to an Aids workshop for caregivers and her heart was broken. She heard a testimony that touched her deeply. She had been making pillowcases for loved ones and decided maybe she could make them for the Aids patients. She wanted to do something uplifting. When she asked the minister over the Aid’s Clinic if she could start making pillow cases for the patients she loved the idea and offered to see if they could get a grant to pay for the fabric.


The minister from the clinic helped get a grant for $7000 to buy fabric for this ministry so in 2009, Common Thread began as ladies came to church to sew on Saturdays. As she said the minister at the clinic had a much bigger vision for this pillowcase ministry! With this much grant money they were able to give pillowcases to Hospice, Partners in Caring for Aids clients and homebound individuals. Soon the ladies became self sufficient through their Chocolate Extravaganza fundraiser each February. These ladies sew about 100 pillowcases each month. Over 1200 were delivered in 2018.


Our intentions should be to glorify God, to enjoy Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves, both believers and unbelievers. Romans 12: 10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” We are also to shine the light of Jesus to others. Matthew 5: 16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” This is what Common Thread was doing!


When the ladies began taking pillowcases to Hospice they began writing Psalm 4: 8 on the pillowcase, “I will lie down and sleep in peace. For you, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” David knew his reward was the Lord Himself. David knew that God’s countenance would fall upon him so he could lie down in peace. He would be safe and sleep securely - confident that the Lord has his arms around those that trust Him! What a great reminder! Peter instructed all Christians, not only to one another, but also in relation to unbelievers. 1 Peter 3: 8, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.


One day the clinic chaplain called and said one of the patients was going into ICU and was not doing well. Even though he was a known atheist, he was offered a pillowcase. He was even told he did not have to accept this gift. He responded, “I need all the Jesus I can get right now.” He saw Jesus in that pillowcase! The gift of the pillowcase represents the gift of God’s love and the resurrection we have in Christ.


God has worked other miracles in this ministry. When all of the Walmarts closed their fabric departments, Common Thread had to search for a source for the butterfly fabric. They called the manufacturer and was told they could only sell to a retailer. They wrote a letter to the president of the company explaining the ministry and including a copy of a newspaper article telling what meaningful work they do and the pillowcase. The next day they received a call offering to sell as much fabric as they wanted, any time, for $3.40 a yard which was wonderful. In 2009 they shipped 40 bolts and did not charge shipping! Proverbs 3: 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” God was the Provider!


Another time the print was discontinued and the factory said “sorry” and offered other fabrics. A week later a man from the factory called and offered to reprint the butterfly fabric for them but they would have to buy 3000 yards for $10,000. Both of them laughed. They looked for other fabric but it was all $10 - $12 a yard. Another week went by and the man called back and asked if they would buy 2000 yards for a reduced price of $3.00 a yard! Matthew 19: 26, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Later the factory went digital and closed their screen printing factory but they opened the factory to print 3000 yards for Common Thread!


Common Thread is a ministry of compassion to terminally ill patients through the simple gift of a pillowcase. Their mission is to provide patients, as well as family members, a feeling of comfort for the body, a sense of peace through the colors and the hope of new life through the butterfly. After each sewing session the pillow cases are prayed over, for those who made them and those who will receive them. If you have a vision do not underestimate what God can do for you, with you and through you!

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