In preparation for General Conference 2020, many churches across the Dakotas-Minnesota Area participated in the Lydia Project, aimed at providing a warm welcome to delegates and guests as they arrived in Minneapolis by giving all participants the gift of a handmade purple scarf.
Those scarves—all 12,000 of them!—have been in storage at Main Street Church in North Branch for the past three years as plans for General Conference 2020 have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of the fact that General Conference was recently postponed until 2024 and will no longer happen in Minneapolis, many of you have asked: What will happen to the purple scarves?
The Commission on the General Conference would like to use these scarves to honor the work of the Dakotas-Minnesota Host Committee and all stitchers from both annual conferences by distributing them to delegates and guests at General Conference 2024. While the location of that gathering is not yet public, we do know that the planning and preparation work of so many across our conferences will be recognized and honored when the 2024 event takes place.
Scarves will be distributed according to their original intention—to provide a warm welcome, to demonstrate the value of showing hospitality as Jesus did, and to validate our unity of purpose as we seek to bring hope and healing to a broken world in the name of Christ.
The Dakotas-Minnesota Host Committee remains ever grateful for the hours of time and dedication of all who participated in the Lydia Project.
The Dakotas-Minnesota Area has a wonderful opportunity to come together to provide hospitality for this conference.
We intend to greet every delegate, dignitary, bishop, and spouse with a handmade scarf, to serve not only as a memento of General Conference but also as a practical solution to drafty, air-conditioned rooms.
United Methodists in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota were invited to help us knit or crochet 10,000 purple scarves and we are delighted that this ambitious goal was exceeded in June 2019. We are calling this initiative the Lydia Project, after Lydia in Acts 16.
We are done collecting scarves at this point. If you still have scarves, we encourage you to donate them to a ministry or non-profit in your local community.
Lydia Project exceeds pledge goal (Feb. 14, 2019)
Lydia Project scarves to be distributed at GC2024 (March 24, 2022)
Deacon, First UMC, Duluth / Member of GC2020 Host Operations Team
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Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church