You may have heard about our UMW’s Prayer Shawl Ministry, but did you know that it isn’t unique to First Church? In their book “Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry,” Susan S. Jorgensen and Susan S. Izard provide an explanation of the prayer shawl ministry and its history. The idea of making shawls to give away began in 1998 at a meeting at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Since that first meeting, many groups, including First Church’s UMW, have joined what may be described as the prayer shawl movement. Many of the women and men who make the shawls are part of a faith community, while others may have no religious affiliation.
In case you were wondering, a prayer shawl isn’t a special garment used by women while praying. Although you could certainly pray while wearing a prayer shawl, the word “prayer” in this case refers to the process of making the shawls. Whenever you make a gift for someone, you give not only the item istself but also something of yourself. As someone knits or crochets a prayer shawl, the maker’s prayers for healing, comfort, peace, love, and other blessings for the recipient become a part of the very fabric. Shawls are given to anyone, including men, who might have a need for a warm gift of love.
If you want to learn more about the prayer shawl ministry, “Knitting into the Mystery” is available for checkout at First Church Library.