October/November cover image: Photo of Jane Guthrie.

Vol 23 No 7 October/November 2008

Columns

National Bishops's Turn

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Idea in Action

Need further proof that one person can make a difference in the lives of others? Meet Jane.

Even over the telephone, it doesn't take long to figure out that Jane Guthrie is a people person. She is wonderfully chatty—a whirlwind of thoughts, comments, and questions—and appears genuinely interested in me. (I thought I was doing the interview!) Although we're supposed to be talking about her upcoming cover story, we veer hopelessly off track to discuss more personal topics. We realize pretty quickly that we have a few big things in common: we're both American and we've both adopted children. We are also both self-professed idea people. Granted, my ideas are less humanitarian in nature and tend to be related to a pressing parenting challenge. Guthrie, on the other hand, seems compelled to cook up thoughtful and creative solutions to the world's problems.

We all have a little bit of that in us, don't we? Who hasn't come up with a great idea for a time-saving invention, a creative program, or a new, in-demand business? What separates people like Guthrie from many of us, however, is that she actually took action and made her idea reality.

In 2006, Guthrie launched The Canadian Comfort and Remembrance Project, a program that delivers handmade quilts—crafted by Canadians—to the families of our fallen soldiers to honour the lost loved ones and bring comfort to those left behind.

"I wanted to give ordinary Canadians a tangible way to let the families of our fallen soldiers know that we support them in their journey of sorrow," says Guthrie. "I am amazed, humbled, and honoured to see how many Canadians have taken this project to heart and are working so hard to send comfort to these grieving families."

Toward the end of our conversation, Guthrie confesses that she's not much of a detail person and that the project would not exist without the help of her husband, Pastor Ted Guthrie, who answers emails and oversees many of the administrative details that keep this unique program running. Together, they have created something pretty special: a ministry that has drawn participants from across the country to positively impact the lives of others. (See their story on page 10 of the magazine.)

"As long as Canadian soldiers are falling, their family members are grieving, and quilters are willing to help," says Guthrie, "we will to reach out with care and comfort to fellow Canadians in their time of need."

Then, I suppose, it's on to the next great idea.


Lucia Carruthers, Editor