Prayer shawl? Isn’t that what a Jewish man wraps himself in when he prays? Not the kind we are talking about. A few years ago when Carol Sherwood started the Parish Nursing program at NFC it included the prayer shawl ministry. Volunteers began knitting or crocheting shawls and praying for those who would receive them. In most cases, they did not know who that might be. The shawls are kept in a special place in the church office so they are always available when needed.
Giving a prayer shawl to someone going through a tough time is a tangible way of expressing the love, concern, and prayers of the people in our church community. Being wrapped in a prayer shawl is a reminder that no matter what the circumstances, we are always wrapped in God’s arms of love.
Carol took the very first prayer shawl she made to Sally Woodyard when Sally’s husband was moved to the health center at Friendsview and her brother had just passed away. Carol felt her handiwork was not quite what she wanted it to be, so later, after becoming more skilled, she wanted to replace it with a “better” one. But Sally said, “No way!” She treasures the one given her just as it is. She keeps it on the back of her couch, and it still is a comfort to her.
There have been many expressions of appreciation from those who have received prayer shawls. We hear about some in the hospital or close to death holding their prayer shawls close. The ministry has been a far greater blessing—to those who make prayer shawls and those who receive them—than I envisioned when I first became involved. Sometimes someone who makes prayer shawls becomes a recipient. This was true for Carol when she was being treated for cancer.
Since 2009, when NFC started our prayer shawl ministry, more than 75 prayer shawls have been made by volunteers and given out to bless others. Perhaps you would like to be a part of this ministry. We have prayer shawl patterns we can share. Can’t knit or crochet? Donations of yarn can help. Three skeins of Lyon Brand Homespun yarn make a nice prayer shawl, and sometimes Fred Meyer has it on sale.