What Comes Around
Sometimes when things come back around, they have just the right timing. That’s what happened when Rev. Doyle Sharp, pastor at Marlow First United Methodist Church, received a quilt that had been gifted to a pastor’s wife in 1934.
Ladies of the Lawton Bethel Church made a quilt and gifted it to Velda Rowlands Nanings, wife of pastor J.J. Nanings, complete with a hand-made label. The quilt stayed in the Nanings family, where a niece kept the quilt in pristine condition for 50 years.
When Sharp received the quilt, he contacted the leaders of Bethel United Methodist Church in Lawton and offered it to them.
It just happened that Sharp called at the perfect time, with just the right pastor in place at Bethel.
“Our pastor has a love for quilts, so it was decided to present it to her on Pastor Appreciation Sunday during the church service,” said a member of church leadership. The group had the quilt embroidered with the words, “Presented to Reverend Cydni Tillery by her Loving Church Family at Bethel United Methodist Church, Lawton, OK.”
“I love my Bethel church family,” said Tillery. “For them to entrust this legacy to me is such an honor. It’s an affirmation of their confidence in me, especially with me being bivocational.”
Tillery not only serves Bethel, but she also works as an English teacher at Temple. She knows the kids from sixth grade all the way through graduation, and that in itself is a ministry. “I can reach kids I will never see in church,” she said.
As the first female preacher at Bethel, Tillery is making history while preserving it, all because of a quilt stitched together nearly 100 years ago.
The original, handmade label signifying the quilt’s origins.
An embroidered inscription gifting the quilt to Tillery