St. John’s recently purchased several items from Thistle Farms, an organization founded by the Reverend Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest in Nashville. Thistle Farms
provides supportive housing and employment to women who are recovering from addiction, abuse and violence.
One of the items we purchased is this welcome mat, which will be used on the altar this Sunday in lieu of our regular linens. These mats are woven out of used life vests by refugee women who have made the dangerous overseas journey from the Middle East to Greece.
According to Thistle Farms, they have named this project #LOVEWELCOMES in an effort to “keep the emphasis on welcoming refugees and recognize that love is the most powerful force for change. A couple hundred people still arrive in Greece every day. Daily life in the camps is hard and legal assistance for relocating to a permanent home can be a long waiting game. Women sit with idle hands with a low sense of drive for day to day living. #LOVEWELCOMES has been a pivotal movement to employ and support women in the camp. Through their weaving, the #LOVEWELCOMES team are able to provide key services to the whole community.
One mat at a time, these life vests, once representing tragedy and loss, are being transformed into a symbol of prosperity and hope.”
The $100 purchase price for each mat is divided in the following way:
$50 for the women weaving
$20 for transportation to legal meetings, food markets and medical appointments and for I AM YOU, our wonderful partners on the ground (in Greece)
$30 to Thistle Farms for shipping, materials, and administration