Prayer Shawl Ministry

Gloria, an 84-year old loving wife and mother, was a resident in a dementia unit.  Her devoted husband visited her daily as she slipped further away from reality.  Gloria and her husband, Tom, had been members of Southminster Presbyterian Church for over 50 years.  One day when both Tom and their daughter were visiting Gloria, a member of the church who was part of the Prayer Shawl Ministry Team, brought a prayer shawl for Gloria.  This prayer shawl was filled with prayers from the congregation and was a symbol of God’s steadfast love and presence.  Though Gloria was unable to appreciate the intention of the prayer shawl, it brought great comfort to Tom and their daughter.

Seven months after Gloria died, Tom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Southminister again surrounded the family with love and support.  Tom also received a prayer shawl that he wore on days when he was chilled or not feeling well from the radiation treatments.  The prayer shawl was covering him when he passed away.

Gloria and Tom were my parents and I am now the owner of these two beautiful prayer shawls.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry at Hyde Park Community UMC was started in September, 2006.  A prayer shawl is a symbol of God’s unconditional embracing love and a physical sign of community presence and support.  Prayer shawls are given not only to those facing life challenges, but also to those celebrating life joys, and to those serving God’s Kingdom.  As we knit or crochet a prayer shawl, we ask God’s blessings on our hearts and hands and on the heart of the recipient.  We use patterns of three to represent the Trinity and attach a cross and prayer cards on each shawl.  Once a prayer shawl is completed, the prayer shawl team has a blessing of the shawls celebration during which each team member lays hands on the shawl and offers a prayer asking for God’s blessing upon the recipient.  Thus each prayer shawl is bathed in prayer and blessing.  As of November, 2014, over 500 prayer shawls have been presented including those sent to our sister ministries in Germany and Russia. It is a great joy and blessing to be a part of this ministry that brings such comfort, support, affirmation, and joy to others.

The Prayer Shawl Team meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 6:00 – 7:30 pm in the library.  If you are a knitter or a crocheter, please join us on a Tuesday evening.  You also may participate by completing a shawl at home and dropping it off at the church office.  If you don’t knit or crochet but would like to support this ministry, donations of yarn are greatly appreciated.   For questions or if you know someone you would like to receive a prayer shawl, email

Christine McHenry

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