Posted on Sat, Apr. 26, 2003
Tampa, it combines the best of the long-ago times with her grandmother and
the spiritual needs of friends and neighbors.
spiritual director at St. Peter's Church in the Great Valley in Malvern,
has organized a group of knitters to make prayer shawls for people facing
is one of hundreds across the country who have taken up needles and yarn
to make shawls.
program was born in 1998 when Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo were
attending programs at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. The women
decided that care, concern and knitting could be combined in a shawl that
could be given to people in need.
. . . made for centuries - are universal and embracing. They enfold,
comfort, cover, wrap, give solace, warmth, mother, hug, shelter, and
beautify. They are symbolic of inclusive and unconditional loving. Those
who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if
given wings to fly above their troubles," Bristow writes at the Shawl
Ministry Web site.
40, was taught knitting at age 10 by her grandmother. "I still have
the first scarf I ever made," she said. But she put knitting aside
after marriage and motherhood took up her time.
are quick to find one another, it seems. Tampa found out about the prayer
shawl program while attending a spiritual training session in Washington.
Prayers and blessings are recited before work begins.
knit one shawl and gave it to a woman diagnosed with cancer in our church
last year," Tampa said. "Apparently she wore it all the time and
visitors reported how much she liked it. That's when I thought maybe this
is a ministry our church could take up."
single mention during announcements in a Sunday worship service, 15 women
showed up for the initial meeting. Now they meet once a month to knit and
have lunch. They have completed several shawls for parishioners and
is not just knitting a sweater for your husband in front of the TV,"
group now includes an 80-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl - and
Tampa's 11-year-old son has been known to try his hand.
figure anytime you can have 80-year-olds and 11-year-olds in the same room
knitting and praying it's a good thing."
on how to begin your own group, knitting and crochet instructions for the
shawls, and suggested prayers are available online at www.shawlministry.com
Contact columnist Lucia
Herndon at 215-854-5724 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Tampa leads a group that knits prayer shawls at St. Peter's
Church in the Great Valley, Malvern.
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