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Nurture through Friendship

Prayer Shawl Makers

If you happen to be coming into the church building through the door nearest the office, on any given Tuesday at 10 am, you will see a group of women in the Edith Spencer room busy knitting and talking, talking and knitting.

These ladies are the prayer shawl makers, a group that formed in February 2006, after Joyce Winston brought back the idea from a UMW conference to make prayer shawls that could be distributed to someone who might need a blessing—the sick, grieving, lonely, or sometimes just because.

The initial group consisted of women whose names are known by those who have attended First UMC Fox Hill for a few decades: Evelyn Boone, Joyce Winston, Joyce Pizzeck, Joann Johnson, Jean Sprouse, June Williamson, Gladys Burtt, Ann Drummond, who gladly teaches knitting newcomers, and Alice Wishon from our sister church, Wallace UMC.  Recently Donna Leavell and LaRose Richardson have joined in.

As each one is completed, these women pray over the shawls, calling God to bless those to whom they are given. They are then placed in a case near the door to the smaller parking lot to be taken by anyone who wants to give them to someone as a reminder of God’s great love: shawls made with love and given with love as a reminder of the greatest love which God gives to all HIs children. A book on top of the case records both the names of those who have taken them and been blessed by them.

These women deftly work their magic with their needles beating out a unique rhythm as they share stories of people who have received these shawls and their reactions. Often a person receiving one sheds tears of gratitude. Family members throughout the country going through health crises or grief have had shawls sent to them. The shawls have made their way into nursing homes in Hampton, to our guests at A Night’s Welcome, to persons in our pews who need some warmth in their lives.

God is in their midst as these women meet to share their stories both of joys and pain, of births and deaths, and always of the gratitude expressed when someone receives this gesture of love. Evelyn told of giving a shawl recently to someone dear to our congregation who is going through a trying time; Evelyn noted that seeing the joy in the eyes of the one receiving the shawl is what makes this ministry worthwhile.

Ann Drummond made note of the group never having to buy yarn. Often yarn simply appears in the Edith Spencer room. There is a long-time donor who brings in enough yarn to supply the knitters for several months. This kind of support points to God blessing this ministry.
The shawl makers demonstrate how friendships and common interests bring God’s family together. Not only do these women show God’s love to others, but they also share God’s love together in their relationships as they lift one another up and encourage one another in their spiritual journeys. It is a natural progression that this friendship of nurturing one another becomes an outreach of God’s love.

Submitted by Judy Grigg

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