Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Annual Appeal Letter

The Great Knitting Accident of 2008

by Nancy Little

In November of 2005 I started to knit a blanket that was intended to be a baby blanket for my not-yet-born niece, Chloe. Today as I write this, Chloe turned 3. Is that blanket finished yet? NO! In mid-December I took out the blanket and decided I was going to finish it. I told myself that if I just kept working on it I'd finish it by Christmas. Just knit a row or two every day, that's all it would take, then I'd be done with it.

The very next day, I had what I refer to as “The Great Knitting Accident of 2008”: a mistake so bad I hadn't a clue how or the skills to fix it myself. If there were such a thing as a knitting 911, I would have called them right away. I was in way over my head. I was in deep doo-doo. The nearest knitter I knew of that could get me out of this jam lives an hour and a half away. I was on the verge of tears. I might have actually been crying. I was threatening to pull it all out. My husband (a very patient man and the son of an avid knitter), was pleading with me not to pull it all out. I put it aside for a week and meditated on the blanket.

What do I do now? I was wondering. And then, at some strange hour of the night (this is often when I get answers), it came to me, “Pull it all out. Start over. Crochet a blanket. You are a crocheter, not a knitter.” So the next morning, I pulled it all out. Three years (give or take months of not working on the blanket) were pulled out and wound on my new yarn winder (thanks to Trevor). I've started over, crocheting, using the very same yarn and maybe it'll be finished by Chloe's 4th birthday. I'm also enjoying working on the blanket much better this time around.

Going through this whole process of pulling out the blanket and starting over got me thinking about how, so often in life we just keep plugging away using the same method, and not getting the results we want or expected. Yet we're just convinced that we “have to do it this way”. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Last summer at our annual convention in Bridgewater MA, I had an opportunity to talk at length with Rev. Jenn Tafel, who was awarded last year's Mite Box; and Rev. Sky Paradise, the recipient of the 2008/2009 Mite Box; about their experiences with starting new churches. It was so great to sit down and chat with both of them. I've known Rev. Jenn since she was 5 or 6 and I was a baby-sitter at convention at Wellesley College in 1980. I'll let you do the math. I met Rev. Sky at Fryeburg New Church Assembly in 2006 when she was still a student at SHS and came to FNCA to fulfill her camp experience requirement.

At convention, I learned that Rev. Sky had a very similar experience to my “pull it all out” knitting experience. She first went to El Paso, TX with plans to start a church there. After six months of effort using a certain method of church planting, she was not getting the results she expected. After a “near meltdown” and lots of praying she “pulled it all out” and went to New Mexico. Things are working out wonderfully in New Mexico. She had almost 40 people at her first service in April. The community has contributed greatly to growing her church. Rev. Sky takes very little credit for most of this and says that it is the Lord at work. The Swedenborgian Church of the Southwest is the 2009 recipient of the Mite Box. When you have a chance, visit their website:

Have you had that kind of experience too? Sometimes there's a huge sense of relief when you realize that you don't have to continue doing it like this. This past year I lost my job; let go of all of my financial goals; did some “soul-searching” and decided that this was an ideal opportunity to take some time off and revisit the idea of grad school. As I write this, in a little more than a month I'll begin courses in a Masters in Library Science at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Is starting grad school in my mid-40s scary to me? A little. But I LOVE a challenge and I'm confident that it will lead me on a wonderful journey. Am I willing to “pull it all out” if it's not working? You bet!

In past years, the Women's Alliance has mailed this fundraising letter to hundreds of women and got very little response. Last year at convention, the Executive Committee decided to print the fundraising letter in the Messenger and eliminate the mailing, thus saving hundreds of dollars in postage and printing costs. So, we too, as an organization, are “pulling it all out” and are starting over.

When you make a contribution to the Women's Alliance the money goes directly to support new churches, such as those in Lansing, Michigan and Silver City, New Mexico. We also support the youth league; our summer camps; Kei Torita in Japan; and the Swedenborgian House of Studies. The Woman's Alliance has a long history of donating to our church programs. Will you please help us continue this long tradition and send in your donation today?

Checks should be made out to: North American Alliance of Swedenborgian Women and mailed to our treasurer

Jeannette Hille
4240 Larch Place N.
Plymouth, MN 55442



Email Address:________________________

Member Church/Society Affiliation: ___________________

Total Amount Donated: Dues ($5.00):______ General Fund: _____ Mite Box:______

Nancy Little is the President of the National Alliance of New Church Women. She lives in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts with her husband, Trevor Woofenden. When she's not crocheting so much that her hand hurts, she's catching up with friends on Facebook, updating her blog as well as the Alliance blog (, and generally enjoying her time off until grad school starts in late January.