Imagine that you are lonely, grieving or ill, or perhaps leaving home for the first time, or celebrating the birth of a child and what a blessing it would be to receive a soft, warm and comforting shawl that was created with the love and prayers of your church family. Over the centuries, shawls have come to symbolize shelter, peace and spiritual sustenance. An initiative called the Prayer Shawl Ministry (see www.shawlministry.com
) began in 1998 and, since then, members of this organization have lovingly donated their time and talents by creating hand-knit and crocheted shawls, filled with the power of prayer, for those in need.
How is a prayer shawl made?
The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on its way. The experience has been described by many as a very moving and powerful experience with both the giver and receiver feeling encircled by the love of a sheltering, mothering God!
A Prayer Shawl Ministry has begun here at Rideau Park. Together with the Pastoral Care Committee and several willing volunteers, we have already begun to create an inventory of shawls. The first batch of prayer shawls were dedicated at a service in April 2007 and we look forward to continuing on with this ministry with the creation and blessing of more shawls in the coming months and years.
How can you get involved?
If you like to knit or crochet, we need volunteers to create the shawls. Patterns and materials are available. If you have yarn that isn’t being used, we would happily accept donations. If there is enough interest, regularly scheduled prayer shawl meetings could be held, either at the church, or in our homes, where we could prayerfully work on shawls together. Finally, if you know of someone who would benefit from receiving a prayer shawl, or for more information, please speak to any member of the Pastoral Care Committee, or call the church office at 613-733-3156 ext 229.
Prayer shawls are knit or crocheted by members of the Rideau Park congregation. Prayers for comfort and grace are said while the project is being completed. They can be given to those that may be ill, grieving, lonely, in celebration of a birth or wedding, or for any other reason deemed appropriate.
The shawls are blessed by the ministry staff before distribution. They may be blessed as part of a regular Sunday service, or on an individual basis, depending upon the urgency and timing of the request.
If a prayer shawl is desired, please contact the church office at 613-733-3156. Please indicate if the person requesting the shawl wants to deliver it themselves, or if it is preferred that a member of the Pastoral Care Committee or some other designated person take the shawl to the recipient.
Prayer shawls will be wrapped in tissue and put in a white gift bag, ready for presentation. Attached to the gift bag will be a card stating the purpose of the prayer shawl and that it has been provided by the Prayer Shawl Ministry of RPUC. There is room on this card for personal notes, if desired.
If shawls are requested for people who are not a part of the Rideau Park congregation, a voluntary donation toward the cost of the yarn would be appreciated. Also, if the shawl is to be mailed, this would be the responsibility of the person requesting the shawl.
A journal will be maintained listing the names of those who have requested prayer shawls and the intended recipient, if appropriate. If it is the wish of either the requestor or the recipient to remain anonymous, this will be respected. It is also hoped that a small sample of the yarn will be provided by the creator of each shawl, and, if possible and appropriate, a picture of the recipient wearing the shawl, to be included in the journal.