I participate in two ministries: in one, I use yarn and needles; in the other, hammer and nails.
I have knitted over 50 shawls for the Prayer Shawl Ministry at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Forestville, Connecticut, which have been given to recently bereaved members of the congregation, our new vicar, those fighting major health problems, women living in a shelter for the homeless, and many others.
I also volunteer for Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity. Many of our new Habitat homeowners are single mothers who have been through many trials in their lives, but are getting a new start and seeing their homeownership dreams come true through Habitat. This is not to say, of course, that everything will be easy for them from the minute they turn the key in their new front door. There will be times of joy but also times of worry and perhaps of tears.
I've joined my two ministries by knitting a prayer shawl for each female homeowner whose house I assist in building, and giving it to them at the dedication of their home.
In late October 2004, my work with Habitat took me to Puebla, one of two Mexican cities where the Jimmy Carter Work Project was being held. Over the course of five days, 75 new homes were built in each of the two cities, and when House #15 was dedicated that Friday afternoon in Puebla, its homeowner, Cecilia, received a prayer shawl knit in Homespun Mexicana. The wearing of shawls is common in Mexican culture; I had seen her wearing a lightweight woven one earlier in the week as she mixed the mortar used in the construction of the cement-block houses.
After I gave it to her and gave her a brief explanation in my halting Spanish, she gave me a big hug and wrapped it around herself. All the pictures taken during the rest of that afternoon show it still draped around her shoulders, adding the warmth of love to the warmth of the day.