First Presbyterian Church Prayer Shawl Ministry began in May, 2009 with a group of women who like to knit and crochet, and who were looking for a way to use their hands and hearts in a loving ministry.
Shawls and lap robes have long been associated with warmth and comfort. The Prayer Shawl Ministry offers an opportunity to serve our Lord and to minister to those who are in need of love, comfort, and support. Items can also be used as remembrances of joy and celebration.
The repetitive motion of knitting or crocheting brings rhythm and calm to the crafter, making it easy to give thought and prayer as she works. The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient and these intentions are continued throughout the creation of the item.
Wrapping up in the warmth of a gift from the Prayer Shawl Ministry reminds the recipient not only of God’s love, but also of the prayers and love with which the item was created joined with the prayers and love of our church family. Prayed over as they were made, and blessed by the Prayer Shawl Ministry, pastor, and congregation, these Gifts of Love are tangible symbols of hope, comfort, peace, and love.
At FPC, our Prayer Shawl Ministry also provides warm neck scarves for local Warming Centers in the winter months as well as fleece scarves for our youth groups, graduation blankets for our high school seniors, and baby baptism blankets.
In 1998, Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut gave birth to Prayer Shawl Ministry. Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy.
As each gift has been sent along, some recipients have continued the kindness by making one themselves and passing it onto someone in need. Thus, the blessing is rippled from person to person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace of a sheltering, mothering God!