Remembering Marjorie Ketchum
By: Kathy Cueva
Let me tell you about a dear friend of mine that changed my life and the prayer life at Foothills. About 20 years ago, Marjorie Ketchum went to a workshop at Hope UMC that talked about a new ministry that involved prayer tied into quilts. Marjorie, who was already a quilter, had a nephew who was quite ill at the time and decided she would make him a quilt and present it to us in worship to tie for him. She stood before the congregation holding her beautiful quilt and touched our hearts with this concept of tying these little strings, saying a prayer and filling this quilt with love and hope and healing. We did not know at the time how the Spirit would move us to take that ministry out into the world with this new “tangible” form of prayer. Soon we became Chapter #3 of Prayers & Squares International, The Prayer Quilt Ministry.
As Marjorie put the word out to gather quilters at Foothills, we had our first meeting. In that tiny but mighty group were Marjorie, Joe Ann Long, Donna Yackey, Karen Evans and myself. Linda Allen joined us shortly thereafter. We organized quilt workshops to teach patterns, we filled the closet with quilts and we prayed. A lot. We were blessed to have pastors who believed in us and this ministry and again, we were blessed to watch the Spirit move. More and more stories came back to us of how these prayer quilts had helped recipients through all kinds of situations and we began to understand that there are many kinds of “healing”. These were the stories that kept us at our sewing machines into the night praying into these quilts for people we did not even know.
As the years went by, Foothills UMC as Chapter #3, became a strong base for this ministry. We held workshops for all of the participating churches on the Foothills campus, we reached out to churches in the area and did presentations and with your wonderful generosity, we were able to financially support nationwide conferences and help start new chapters. We were featured in the book, “Fabric of Faith” and wrote a book of prayer quilt patterns and stories called “The Giving Quilt”. Early on, Marjorie asked me to take over leadership of the Foothills chapter and shortly thereafter, I became the President of Prayers & Squares International and stayed on for the next 8 years. When I took over as president, there were 60 chapters in the nation. When I stepped down, there were over 1000 chapters in 7 countries in the world. It was an amazing journey.
As I celebrate the life of our dear Marjorie, I am in gratitude for this one person who had the courage to listen to God’s call and change our lives. I know she forever changed mine.