Women on a mission

Published 7:39 am Friday, February 11, 2011

Judy Brown, left, and her daughter, Nancy Decoux, knit hats and other pieces at Westminister Presbyterian Church. Their items will go to orphan children in Romania. — Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

For one day every year, Presbyterian Women of the Church in Austin (PWC) get together to make a difference around the world.

But that one day only marks the beginning of the work they’ll continue throughout the year.

On Wednesday, PWC members gathered to host a missions workshop, carrying on a tradition 100 years in the making.

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The women use the workshop to make items such as cloth diapers, hats, scarves, blankets and bandages, which go to areas overseas in need. They also serve locals by making walker caddies and catheter bag covers and giving donations to the Red Cross.

Women at Westminister Presbyterian Church knit hats, scarves and other articles of clothing to be given to orphans in Romania. Their efforts are only one aspect of the Church's mission projects. — Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Gloria Falconer has been a member of the church since 1951 and has seen Westminster’s efforts nearly every year she’s been there. But the generations of volunteers date back even farther.

This whole thing has been going on for a long time,” she said. “It had been a mission church from the beginning.”

In 2000, the women added to their list of workshop activities when several began making winter accessories for Romanian orphans.

Judy Brown, a long time member of Westminster, is involved in that process. Her love of yarn and fabric goes hand in hand with her efforts to help. Brown and her daughter are addicted to yarn, she said. They have to buy it whenever they see it at a garage sale or craft store.

“You’ve got the disease,” Brown said jokingly to her daughter, Nancy Decoux. “Yarn is like Christmas.”

Decoux isn’t new to Westminster; she grew up going there. But she no longer lives in Austin and, because of that, attends a different church. She adopted two children from the Philippines years ago and is familiar with children’s hardships in foreign countries, such as Romania.

“Those babies have nothing,” she said.

Now, Decoux has decided to help the mission for her first time. She began knitting only last fall, but she has become efficient. Decoux was well on her way to knitting several hundred pieces for the mission.

Although Wednesday was the workshop to spark the efforts, the women will take their projects home and continue working on them. Decoux has already been knitting items to donate for others.

“I try to do something for others for at least four hours every day,” she said.

Everyone does something a little different at the workshop to help. Although Falconer wasn’t knitting, she was acting as chairperson for the Romania mission along with running the kitchen the entire day.

“Everybody’s got a job,” she said. “We do the best we can. … The simplest things can bring the greatest joy sometimes.”