Brides often wonder what to do with the wedding dress hanging in the closet after the big day. One United Methodist church in Georgia transforms bridal gowns into "angel gowns" for infant burials. It's a ministry created by a mother who understands that grief.
(Locator: Snellville, Georgia)
Pauline Lindo, Founder, Angel Gowns Ministry: "The first time I did it myself, I cried. I literally cried. Because it was like, you're making this and you started thinking about why you're making it and where is it going to be used."
Pauline Lindo turned her pain into her passion. The Jamaica native started a sewing ministry that makes burial gowns for babies.
Pauline Lindo: "It's gratifying, just knowing that you're doing this for someone else who is going through something so traumatic. I've been through it myself. So I know what it's like."
(Pauline to church members) "This will be your first one then."
Pauline and women from her church, Snellville United Methodist near Atlanta, Georgia, craft dresses from donated wedding gowns.
Pat Francis, Angel Gowns Ministry: "When I'm sewing these projects, I'm praying. I'm sending up prayers to our Lord about the parents that have lost their little ones."
The angel gowns go to three area hospitals. They vary in size from wraps for preemies to size 3 for toddlers.
The Rev. Brenda Presha, NICU Chaplain: "Having a newborn baby and then being told that your baby is not going to survive, you know parents are just shocked and overwhelmed."
(Rev. Brenda Presha to sewing group) "…and so I've really witnessed at the bedside how…"
Rev. Brenda Presha is a neonatoal chaplain who blesses the volunteer's hands.
Rev. Brenda Presha: "My connection with this ministry has been to facilitate the angel gowns to our babies when they're going to pass away, that includes giving infant baptisms and blessings. You know, their baby has been hooked up to a lot of machines and not worn clothes, and these gowns just provide dignity and a sense of love and care."
(Women looking at gowns) "Yes! Look at that."
Church members responded to the ministry with an outpouring of donated wedding dresses from brides like Margie Tutton.
Margie Tutton, Snellville United Methodist Church: "I was married on June 14th, 1980 and I thought, 'That dress is just hanging in that closet and it's time to give it to someone who can really be blessed by it again.'"
(Women looking at dresses) "This came from my stepdaughter's wedding."
Margie Tutton: "We've received 40's dresses, 50's dresses, 60's dresses. The giver wants to tell her story of her wedding and what that dress meant to them and that this was the perfect answer with what to do with that dress."
The women choose the fabric they want, carefully removing the embellishments to use every piece of the wedding dress.
Pauline Lindo: "I hope it gives some comfort. I hope it gives them peace in seeing that someone prepared something special for your little baby."
The Rev. Brenda Presha: "The nurse will dress the baby in the gown. Parents spend time holding and loving their baby. And parents have just let us know how important that is to them."