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story.lead_photo.caption Mary Ann Pearre (left) and Linda Heller look over one of the quilts they created Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, while it was on display at a luncheon celebrating the 100th anniversary of Martha Circle, the quilting guild at Central Church in Jefferson City.

Martha Circle, Central Church's quilting guild, celebrated 100 years of fellowship and service during a Sunday luncheon.

Over the past century, the church quilters have created hundreds of quilts that were sold to benefit charities including the Samaritan Center, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, March of Dimes and Ronald McDonald House.

Central Church, located at 118 W. Ashley St. in Jefferson City, recently changed its name from Central United Church of Christ.

Martha Circle — named after Martha Berlekamp, the wife of a former pastor — now mostly consists of two women at the church: Mary Ann Pearre and Linda Heller.

Heller suggested women in churches don't quilt as much as they have historically in part because their children's activities have become more involved.

Pearre said quilting clubs still exist, but machine quilting has replaced hand-sewn quilts for many. She and Heller favor quilts that are hand-made.

"We do what we do because we like it," Pearre said. "And I think it's a service. The missions you do are a service to God. You're doing your part to serve and give back to the Lord for what he's done."

They meet each Wednesday morning, often with Alan Bagnull, who crochets while they quilt. He makes afghans and donates them to charitable causes.

He also helps the women with tasks associated with quilting.

"I enjoy spending time with them," he said.

"We're thrilled we made it thus far," Heller said of the anniversary. "We enjoy getting together and we enjoy quilting."

Bagnull said the quilters formed 100 years ago with six members and one basic biblical philosophy: "Whatever you do to these the least of ye brethen, ye do to me."

In addition to quilting, Martha Circle in the past has sewn clothes for orphanages and made bandages and gowns for area hospitals. They have sewn confirmation robes and continue to provide each church pastor with a quilt.

Bagnull said new people will need to take up quilting for the organization to last another 100 years.

"They would be more than happy to teach people to quilt," he said.

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