The Prayer Shawl Ministry
What is a Prayer Shawl?
Webster defines "shawl" as a "square or oblong (usually fabric) garment or wrapper used especially as a covering for the head or shoulders."
We define a "Prayer Shawl" as a soft, hand-made garment stitched with special prayer and love and given to someone to use as a covering to comfort, enfold, wrap, and warm. If one could wear the heartfelt sentiments often found in a greeting card, it would be as a shawl. Shawls console those who are grieving, comfort those who are ill, bring hope to those who are in despair. The reasons to make a shawl are as numerous as the people who stitch and receive them.
Who started this ministry?
It was originally started by Vicky Galo and Janet Bristow after they completed the Somen's Leadership Institute at Hartford Seminary. After graduation, they carried on the spirit through a prayer shawl ministry. It quickly caught on and spread, and Susan S. Jorgenson, a Roman Catholic laywoman who knit her first shawl in 2001 for a woman whose husband of six months had died in a car accident, and Susan S. Isard, a United Church of Christ minister who was given a prayer shawl in the fall of 1999 by a woman in her church, wrote the book, "Knitting into the Mystery."
What is the Prayer Shawl Ministry of Forest Park United Methodist Church?
Using "Knitting into the Mystery" as a guide, we'll gather together once a week from September through May. An opening prayer asks God to bless the stitchers, a lighted candle signifies the light of God upon the ministry, and a closing prayer asks God to bless those persons who will receive a shawl. Notes and cards are shared, help with stitching is given, and suggestions for recipients may be offered.
When the shawls are completed, they are blessed. A card with a personal message from the group is attached to each shawl, and it is then wrapped. Designated visitor(s) deliver a prayer shawl to a selected recipient, placing it around the person's shoulders, accompanied by a prayer.
"This is what I have asked God for you: that you will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love, and that you will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding." Colossians 2:2 (The Living Bible)