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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Producing books in Braille

Volunteers prepare Christian materials

If you walk into just about any ELCA church, you'll find women (and sometimes men) gathered around quilt squares, sewing machines, or wielding knitting needles or crochet hooks. What's less likely are volunteers feeding metal plates through a machine that creates pages for Braille books.

Volunteers produce Braille books at
Volunteers produce Braille books at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Mineola, N.Y.

But that's what they've been doing at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Mineola, N.Y., since 1964. They're known as "Workstation #26" to Lutheran Braille Workers, a national organization that provides Christian materials in more than 30 languages to visually impaired people in more than 120 countries.

Volunteers hole punch special paper, number it, encase the pages in metal plates, and run those plates through a machine that punches the dots. Numbering the pages is critical since they can't read Braille. The pages are collated, inserted in binders and shipped off to individuals or institutions worldwide. Volunteers gather Wednesday mornings and afternoons, each month completing 50 first and second volumes of Basics of Christianity.

Workstation #43 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in New City, N.Y., began in 1968 as an evening activity for women and men. Today 10 women meet Wednesday mornings to churn out five books a week, 88-page Braille versions of Galatians and Philemon.


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