Rolling Bandages – ‘Alive and Well’ in the Covenant

By Stan Friedman

RED WING, MN (October 24, 2011) – Girls in the AWANA program at First Covenant Church had no idea they could save lives just by tearing up bed sheets.

That is one of the reasons they have been so enthusiastic to participate in the church’s bandage rolling ministry, which has been primarily the responsibility of senior adult women in the congregation.

Girls in third through fifth grades tear bed sheets every Wednesday night before the AWANA meetings start. High school girls also have assisted.

Women sew the bandages to correct lengths in their homes and then gather once a month to roll them. The strip bandages are desperately needed in hospitals and clinics operated by the Covenant Church of Congo (CEUM).

Linda Anderson, who works with the ministry in Red Wing, notes how the ministry can involve a breadth of people in the congregation. One woman who struggles with Alzheimers loves to roll the bandages.

“She rolls them on her leg as she has for many many years,” says Anderson. “They are rolled tight and even. Even when our bodies and our minds don’t work so well, we are still important and special in God’s eyes.”

Anderson adds, “We have found out that productive mission work doesn’t end at a certain age or even mental ability,” Anderson says. “The side benefit for the church is ‘many hands make light work.’ The older ladies do not have the physical strength to rip, and the kids love it.”

The girls have helped with the ministry since October 2010. So far this year, the group has rolled almost 3,000 bandages, Anderson says.

For more than 65 years, women of the Covenant have rolled bandages Congolese hospitals. Click here to learn more about this historic ministry.

“One thing I’ve learned since I stepped into this position is that bandage rolling is alive and well in the Covenant,” says Meagan Gillan, executive minister of the Department of Women Ministries. “From Red Wing, Minnesota, to Congo, women and girls are partnering to provide items needed by our sisters and brothers of the CEUM.”

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  1. The Mary Elizabeth Circle at First Covenant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been active for many years rolling bandages. Recently, they decided to meet at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes where they have easy access to sewing machines and can involve the residents. Great idea to have the children help!  

  2. I like the way so many are involved in this. We have a bunch of faithful bandage rollers here in Cheboygan and have a box that’s ready to send out. We will borrow some of these ideas to involve more folks in this.

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