Let us not grow weary in doing good … The story of a humble servant

Myrtle had a real servant heart and was always quick to be there for those who needed help.

Among many interests she had a passion for sewing and used this to help people of all ages, shapes and sizes. She always wanted her sewing (in fact whatever she did) to somehow bring honour and glory to God.

After completing her primary school years Myrtle left school and started to sew. Once she had a family Myrtle sewed, and sewed and sewed, for the family and for others; not just because of her passion to sew but also out of necessity to help provide for the family.

She was completely self-taught and became an accomplished seamstress, well-known in the Barossa Valley, South Australia and further afield. She sewed all sorts of things such as school uniforms including blazers and monograms, adult and school band uniforms, bridal gowns, baptismal gowns, confirmation dresses, men’s and boys’ suits, wedding tokens and the original Barons of the Barossa robes.

Myrtle sewed around 67 pastors’ robes, often making the stoles to go with them. These were all created “freehand” as computerised machines were not yet available at that time.


She sewed her son, John, a pastor’s robe for his eighth birthday as he and his sisters would often play “church”. John would preach to his sisters, using an armchair as the pulpit, while his sisters would be busy trying to keep their dolls quiet! Some 15 years later Myrtle sewed John his first “real” pastor’s robe.

Myrtle also sewed more than 33 sets of church paraments and many large banners representing the various church seasons, the first being for her home church, Zion in Angaston.

A highlight for Myrtle was to sew a wall hanging for each of her 15 grandchildren in remembrance of their confirmation.

She would often sew into the small hours of the morning to get through all the work, as in the earlier years she managed the Light Pass Post Office and also the Tanunda Lutheran Book Shop, as well as being a wife and mother. Later in her life she drove the local school bus, but still continued with her sewing.

When Myrtle took a break from her busy life, she enjoyed walking in her garden, where poems, prayers and story ideas came to her mind. She purchased an ordinary exercise book and jotted down her many writings over the years. Her book was kept hidden, and it was only when her family moved her in her final years that they discovered it.

To her surprise, just a few months prior to her death in her 97th year, a small book was published with some of her stories and poems. She was absolutely thrilled by the surprise. She had written poems for special birthdays, special events and a Pastor’s Prayer for John as a gift for his ordination. A prayer John said he prayed before every service he conducted.

Her final years were spent in an Aged Care home. While she could no longer sew, Myrtle knitted and crocheted for her grandchildren, her many great-grandchildren and for her one great-great-grandchild.

Myrtle Heidenreich was a true witness to Jesus and his work for us and the world and the hope we have in him. She was a true modern-day Dorcas, or Tabitha, who humbly used her gifts in service to God and her fellow human beings.

From material supplied by Carol Moen

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