The Prayer Shawl Ministry is a tangible symbol of the love of our church community.
Women and men knit or crochet shawls to be given with prayers of blessing for those who receive them. Shawls are knit for many different reasons. Shawls celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, friendship and love. Shawls console those who are grieving, comfort those who are ill, and bring hope to those who are in despair.
It is our prayer that these shawls will be a blessing to those who receive them. That they may wrap them around themselves when they feel down, when they pray, when they sleep, whenever they feel a need for love and support. Always remembering that they were woven with prayers for God’s love and healing and comfort.
Prayer ShawlsThe word “shawl” comes into the English language in 1662 from the Persian word shAL.
Shawls have been made for centuries;
they are universal and embracing;
they comfort and enfold, wrap and warm;
mother and hug; shelter and beauty.
Those who knit and receive shawls are loved and blessed.
A group of women who participated in the first Women’s Leadership Institute at Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut, began this shawl-knitting ministry in 1998. Vicky Galo started knitting shawls for women who were undergoing treatment for breast cancer and other illnesses; Janet Bristow started knitting shawls for new mothers. Other members began knitting shawls for their friends, family members and people who just needed a shawl.
Cathy Murtha, a Daughter of Wisdom and director of the Spiritual Life Center in Bloomfield, CT, introduced this ministry to many people at the Center. Susan S. Izard, a United Church of Christ minister in Hartford, CT, wrote an article about this shawl-knitting ministry for Presence; The Journal of Spiritual Directors International in September 2000. As a result, people throughout the world are knitting and receiving these wonderful gifts of love.
This ministry continues to grow. When you wear your shawl, you are connected with many people throughout the world. Those who knit the shawls are blessed by the experience of sharing God’s love in this very tangible way. For more information on the origins of this ministry and how it continues to grow around the world, click here.
-This text adapted by Susan S. Jorgensen from the orginal by Victoria A. Cole-Galo and Janet Bristow.