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600 butterflies needed for Advocacy Day

Cellophane and clothespin butterflies

Make butterflies as a Lenten activity at church or a personal prayer practice and support the Michigan Conference’s witness for better mental health care for all.

Content Editor

The Michigan Conference needs your help in making 600 semicolon butterflies. On Advocacy Day, 421 semicolon butterflies will be displayed on the Capitol lawn, each representing 1,000 Michiganders in 2020 who did not receive the mental health treatment they needed.

In addition, each state representative and senator will receive a semicolon butterfly, letters from constituents, and a FAQ sheet detailing specific legislative asks.

Who can contribute?

Making semicolon butterflies is a simple way for everyone to join in, even if you cannot be there in person on March 13 in Lansing. Find or modify a craft pattern you like (see examples below), and make them at home as you have time. Use it as a prayer practice. Invite your friends over and watch your favorite TV show while making butterflies. Or turn this into a Lenten activity at church and send out a “come one, come all” announcement. Many hands make light work!

Where do we send them?

Send the semicolon butterflies along with someone going to Advocacy Day, or mail them ahead of time to Central United Methodist Church, 215 North Capital Ave, Lansing, MI 48933. Central UMC is our host for Advocacy Day. Please mark them: “Attn: UM Advocacy Day,” and make sure they get there well before March 13.

What’s the meaning behind the semicolon butterfly?

Semicolons have become a meaningful symbol for those struggling with mental health issues. Semicolons are used in writing when an author could have ended a sentence but chose not to. In this analogy, those struggling with mental health are the authors, the sentence is their lives, and the semicolon represents a decision to say, “My story isn’t over yet,” and continue living.

Butterflies symbolize transformation, resurrection, and growth. Combining these two symbols has become a powerful image representing strength, perseverance, and hope for those struggling with mental illness. It’s also encouraging for family members and friends.

Read these stories from young adults who used semicolons and butterfly imagery in their tattoos.

What kinds of butterflies do you want us to send?

Be as creative as you want. All craft mediums are welcome, and the possibilities are endless! Since most of these will be displayed outside and hung on a string, please make them weather-resistant. For example, laminate paper butterflies or use materials that won’t ruin in rain or snow.

Paper butterflies
Central UMC in Detroit made paper butterflies and laminated them. ~ photo courtesy Detroit: Central UMC Facebook page

Supplies to consider using include pipe cleaners, felt, fabric, paper plates, construction paper, yarn, cardboard, recycled material, clothespins, and more! Please remember that the butterflies need to be hung easily on a string outdoors, so keep them a modest size and use a lightweight material.

To incorporate a semicolon into a pattern you find, draw it with a permanent marker or attach a separate piece to the center of the butterfly.

Here are some craft pattern suggestions, but feel free to create your own!

If you have ideas that aren’t on this list, the planning team for Advocacy Day would love to hear from you. Email them at [email protected].

Last Updated on February 7, 2024

The Michigan Conference