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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : Our ministry started at Grace Bible Church in Sun...

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Our ministry started at Grace Bible Church in Sun...
Created By: Claire Bingham

Our ministry started at Grace Bible Church in Sun City, AZ when I approached our assistant pastor asking if I could start a ministry for knitting babies' hats and booties. Things stagnated until I went to one of the ladies in the church who suggested that we knit shawls rather than babies' things. We called a meeting at the the church that 4 women attended. One of those women brought a shawl with her and made the same suggestion, which only confirmed that it was prayer shawls we should be doing.

Over the course of the next few months, we met at each other's houses and the group grew steadily. Because we are a senior citizens' church, many in our congregation are in either care centers or in-home care. Those were the two groups that we centered on first. We started knitting in May and by July had both groups totaly covered in prayer shawls (for the women) or lapghans (for the men). This was a total of 76 pieces knit by 8 women.

At the end of July, we took all these pieces and draped them throughout the sanctuary for a dedication service. The pastors dedicated both the women knitting, the ministry, and the prayer shawls knit to date.

It is now February, 10 months since our first meeting. We now have 18 ladies knitting/crocheting. The ministry has expanded to cover not only those in care centers or homebound, but also those who are recently widowed, those who are

hospitalized, and women being released from prison through a program in Phoenix known as Along Side Ministries. Along Side houses, feeds, and finds work for women being released who accepted Christ while in prison. To date, we have knit a total of 143 units.

The deaconesses in our church deliver the finished pieces and have done a spectacular job. They have quite a delivery system set up, and have even developed a special way of presenting the shawls/lapghans. In reporting back to us, they tell us that they are met with tears of joy from so many people, mostly because they are so overcome by the fact that someone would go to that extreme to care for them. So many people have sent us thank you notes that bring tears to our eyes when we read them.

The people receiving the shawls have no idea who knit for them....only that it was Needles of Grace, the name of our ministry, that did so.

We use the prayer shawl card from Lion Brand's website. we color the card, put the person's name on the front, and inside write the prayer that was said for the individual in the course of the knitting process. No two cards are colored alike, and virtually every prayer is different. the card is tied to the shawl with a strand of yarn. It looks really professional when completed.

Should anyone be interested in starting a group in their church or neighborhood, I would suggest putting out a "feeler", first. Pray if there is a need and what group the Lord would want you to first center on. This gives you a goal. Once that goal is met, you can spread your wings to cover other groups to knit for, as the Lord leads. You'll need time and money to get started. I know that I have had to invest about 20 hours a week to get things organized, knit, set up a record keeping system, and determine who will knit for whom. Many are willing to offer money, but so many have so little time to invest. We have found that with a group as large as ours and with the quantity that we knit, it takes about a year to get things really organized.

As our ministry has grown and as more people have become aware of it, people in the church have donated money to us. We now have a substantial fund set up in the church treasury, so each woman who wants to can be compensated for her expenses. the pastors have been more than surprised at how this ministry has grown and at how much has been accomplished.

Thank you for this opportunity to tell you about our ministry in Sun City, AZ. It has brought complete joy not only to the people receiving, but also to those knitting and crocheting for Needles of Grace.

I wish we had some pictures to send you of our work! But as fast as we knit, the shawls are out. We never considered taking pictures. So Sorry!

Claire Bingham

Needles of Grace

Grace Bible Church

19280 North 99th Ave

Sun City, AZ 85373-1401

Church phone: 623-972-6414 FAX: 623-933-1744

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