Wow! We had a great party celebrating both Patchwork’s 40th birthday and Alan Winslow’s 95th birthday! Hundreds of people filled the Patchwork Meetinghouse on Saturday. They had traveled from the Pacific Coast and Florida, South Texas and Winnipeg, Manitoba. Four of Patchwork’s six founders were here, and the first couple to be married as part of a Patchwork ceremony. Many past Mennonite Voluntary Service Workers and their children came, as did past children’s program participants and their children. And there were many new friends we’re only beginning to get to know. All communed over overflowing bowls of ice cream and cookies.
On Sunday, we continued the celebration during Patchwork’s weekly worship service. We sang traditional Patchwork songs led by Calvin Kimbrough and the Patchwork reunion band. Nelia Kimbrough reflected on Patchwork’s journey to age 40. John Rich led the service and wrote the litany that follows.
We’re grateful for the opportunity to pause and to celebrate, to see old friends and to reflect on the changes and struggles that 40 years have brought, to recognize the impact all of Patchwork’s programming has had on the city of Evansville and to appreciate all the people responsible for Patchwork’s continued presence today.
Litany for Fortieth Anniversary of Patchwork Central
Forty. Forty days and nights, and the whole earth was wiped clean.
Forty years of wandering in the wilderness and a people were finally free of all past bondage, wholly ready to enter the Promised Land.
Forty days and a rabbi from Nazareth was tested to all limits in the wilderness.
Forty years and Patchwork Central has been planted and taken root, stretching limbs upward and outward, offering shade and fruit, care and community.
Forty years and Patchwork Central has become an organic kaleidoscope of community, art, faith, service, food, worship, justice, and hospitality.
Forty years of being involved in as many ministries as there are stars in the sky.
Even after stars are long dead, their light travels through the universe and our eyes may see their glory shine.
[Offering names of programs that we celebrate]
Forty years and Patchwork Central has seen people join our ragged band and then take their leave to follow God’s calling into fields of service not yet touched.
[Offering names of people who have been a part of Patchwork]
Forty years is a long time.
Forty years is a full sojourn.
Forty years of life gives life.
Forty is a number of wholeness, of completeness, of shalom.
We do not claim to be complete or whole.
We only claim to be living, moving, and breathing toward a vision of shalom.
We celebrate forty years of connection with each other, with the earth, and with God.
May Patchwork Central grow and flourish, forty more years and beyond, becoming a living sign of God’s Love and Shalom. Amen.