By Lurayn Haines Prayer Shawl Ministry Leader
This Ministry’s story began in Hartford, Conn., with two women who, after they graduated from the Women’s Leadership Institute at the Hartford Seminary, responded to a classmate’s request for prayers for her extremely-ill husband. This woman was wearing a shawl, which others touched as they were praying and later she told the others she felt that the shawl was holding their prayers and lending her their support.
When next they saw her, the shawl was the altar cloth at the husband’s funeral and they realized what a source of solace it would always be to this family. As these women began to prayerfully knit shawls for family and friends, they began to realize that it was becoming a spiritual process much different from other “good works” they often performed. Encouraged by this awareness, and the gratitude they received from others, they saw the potential that giving and receiving a shawl has in opening doors for communication, which reinforced relationships and invited understanding and also healing. They spread the word to others and these to others and these to others resulting in workshops and retreats and newspaper articles and the publishing of many books. In 2008, our Ministry began at SOTH with eight women. Shawls are made, blessed by our priest or deacon, and given to those who are enduring or recovering from an illness or surgery, to those experiencing loss or during the time of bereavement, to our many at-home caregivers, and for unspecified, occasional events. If we are able, we give shawls to church members’ relatives. We have assisted in starting three additional ministries in Lecanto, Fla., Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Gabriola, British Columbia. In 2015, we were truly blessed with four new members. Our meeting dates are yet to be set for 2016. Stay tuned, while you consider becoming part of this wonderful group.