From early March to Mid-May 2005, more than 20 women from St. Pauls UCC[1]  on the north side of Chicago, IL met weekly to knit and crochet collectively for the Shawl Ministry. During our weekly gatherings, we prayed, laughed, cried, snacked, shared, cared, and blessed materials, work, and completed shawls. We discovered that we were gifting ourselves as well as the Women’s Support Program of the CRMHC in Hartford CT. We are delighted to have shipped 20 shawls to the program in May 2005. Our interface with the program director, Rocio Chang, has been a memorable and meaningful experience of feeling her presence and caring connection throughout our journey. The photograph above is taken at the shawl blessing ceremony held on May 22, 2005. On that day, using the theme of Epiphany and three wise women, we:

            * gathered in the chapel re-membering our Christian ancestors, the good women (named and unnamed) of the New Testament
                    (adapted from Miriam Therese Winter’s Psalm);
            * reflected and shared about the gifts of this ministry and what was most illuminating during our collective process;
            * blessed the shawls and prayed for the women who will receive them; and
            * celebrated with bread and wine.

Having been a pastoral intern at St. Pauls for nine months in 2004-2005, the last Sunday of my ministerial practice in this community ended in a wonderful sense of personal blessing for me as well. Thank you for creating this program, the beautiful website, and for making the connections!

Grace and peace,

Cyndi Gavin, Student In Care UCC

(Chicago Theological Seminary)


[1] St. Pauls does not spell their name with an apostrophe honoring their founding German heritage; there are no apostrophes used in the German language.



·        We are women of time between the ages of 20-something and 80-something

·        We are women of many legacies: women of Native American, Latin American, and European-American heritage who have grown up with and without, in the city and in the country, who come from or have lived parts of our lives in the east (New York, North Carolina) the Midwest (Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri) the South (Texas, Georgia), and the West coast (California, Wahington)

·        We are women of resources who bring our gifts to the world through the roles of mothering and grandmothering, partnering and home-making, and workers in the areas of health care and finance, social work and science, religion and psychology, teaching and business.

·        We are women of the arts appreciating and creating works of art through music, painting, fabric and yarns, flowers and food, cooking and baking.

·        We are women of all incomes: resources that nurture and sustain us in our eating and sleeping, our medical care and emotional care originate from many places both public and private. 

·        We are women of the hooks and needles…crochet hooks and knitting needles…pulling, twisting, looping, winding…creating shoulder hugging shawls of many beautiful colors. We are beginners, middlers, and skilled enough to teach and mentor others. We are women who learned these skills from mothers, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, friends, and mentors.



·        We have been named and have named ourselves. Our names come from mothers and grandmothers, aunts and friends, movies and storybooks, WWII history, and Saints. We, the following named, are the women making the shawls, praying the prayers, sharing ourselves with each other…and with the women of the Women’s Treatment and Support Diversion (WTSD) program of Hartford CT:





Ann B
























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