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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : Prayer Shawl Ministryof FUM Church

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Prayer Shawl Ministryof FUM Church
Created By: Lois Weibley

The Prayer Shawl Ministry of First United Methodist church, Carlisle,Pa. is in it's second season. Beginning Nov. 2006 we began with 23 participants and at the start of 2008 we have 24 active and 4 part time ladies. I truly believe the idea of a Prayer Shawl Ministry for us was God inspired. I was looking for an activity for the ladies of the church and when this idea came to me by another person, it actually hit me in my heart and felt like the answer to my searching. Our circle of knitters/crocheters is open to the community. We began our ministry with a dedication and blessing by our Pastor during a worship service. The circle has adopted the guidelines from the book KNITTING INTO THE MYSTERY, by Susan S. Jorgensen and Susan S. Izard and THE PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY by Lion Brand. Prayer is always our beginnning as we gather on the 2nd Thurs evening of the month and the 3rd Fri afternoon of the month for 1 1/2 hours each day. The ladies sit in a circle around a small altar consisting of a cross and 3 lighted candles(representing the Trinity). Soft background music is played. I have chosen Robin Miller's recordings for our music. It is so soft and soothing. As shawls are finished and brought to the meetings they are displayed for that time. Once we have 15 or so completed, we begin our session by standing in a close circle around a lighted candle and in total silence we pass each shawl from person to person as each participant prays over the shawl. The silence seem so reverent as our heart prayers are sent to the ear of God. After the circle prayer the shawls are placed over the sanctuary railing in a worship service for the Pastor's blessing. After the blessing of shawls we have a wrapping session. Some shawls are wrapped in white tissue paper and tied with the yarn of the enclosed shawl. We have chosen to include in that package a portion of the history of the original Prayer Shawl Ministry. A card stock tag is pinned to the shawl that included the date of the blessing, a short prayer,the name of the knitter/crocheter, and the name of the church and address. We have found that many of the receivers enjoy reading about the history and purpose of a prayer shawl. Many write thank you notes to the person who made the shawl. We have received such heartwarming words of appreciation about how the prayers, love, and God's presence is felt as they are wrapped in their shawl. We share these notes around our circle and they are such an encouragement for us to stay faithful to what we have dedicated ourselves. An embroidered label is also sewn to a corner of the shawl. We purchase the labels from the CHARM WOVEN LABELS. They add a permanent identification for the receiver. One church member crafts tiny angel pins and she keeps us stocked with these delicate tokens of love to attach to the shawl. Some of the shawls are kept in a secure closet for giving at the church healing services. This service is held in the church chapel and there we drape the shawls over the railing for those who have come for prayer and anointing to choose. The Pastor wraps the chosen shawl around them as he prays and anoints with oil. I feel it is the most heartfelt way of giving the shawls. It is such a tender loving time in God's presence. The ladies in this ministry has really taken the needs of others to heart. Along with the shawls they find time to make lap robes for the American Wounded Servicepersons at the Lebanon VA Medical Center. We do this through the ministry of another group,"Afghans of Appreciation." There are many community services that are glad to receive items for those they serve. You just need to be alert to what's in your area. Our first 12 shawls went to the Carlisle Cancer Center in memory of a loved church member. Shawls have been given for many reasons. We have given to the yourg members who have left home for college. Also our church has 3 ladies who have been active in the same congregation for 70 plus years. We recognized their faithfulness with a shawl. We have just begun making chemo caps and they are received with great gratitude. Guide Post Magazine advertises T Tops for Tots. They send sweaters around the world for needed children, This may also become one of our outlets for serving. Since our beginning in Nov. 2006 we distributed 85 shawls, 14 lap robes, and 4 chemo caps. I have started a journal and a photo album. The album holds photos of shawls the ladies made along with their name. The journal contains photos of receivers, meeting photos, newspaper articles, thank you notes and our method of wrapping and delivering shawls. Anything of interest is included as a record for history and a guide for others. God is gently moving within our circle and ideas for giving continue to grow. Even though the Prayer Shawl is our priority, these other outlets keep the ladies interested by having shorter projects to work on. All projects are GIFTS. We do not sell anything we make. However, we do accept donations, which I divide among the ladies to purchase yarn. The best part of our ministry is the giving. Being a part of an exchange of love gifts is truly a touch from God. As we wrap a shawl around the shoulders of a person and see the smile of gratitude on their face, it is a gift returned to us. Submitted by Lois Weibley

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