During a very difficult time in her life, a prayer shawl was given to Lois Campbell by the SDA Prayer Shawl Ministry group in Keene, Texas. It meant so much to her that within a year, she joined the Prayer Shawl Ministry (PSM) and began knitting prayer shawls herself. In that first year alone, Lois knitted nine shawls. And—she had never knitted before!
When the Campbells moved to Prescott, Lois immediately began the ministry at our church.
“The purpose of a Prayer Shawl,” says Lois, “is to give comfort, solace, peace and love to those going through challenging times. Two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut, Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo, gave birth to this ministry in 1998. It is now international.
Each shawl is prayerfully made and dedicated and then gifted with continued prayer to individuals as a symbol of caring. A particular pattern is used and 3 skeins of Lion brand homespun yarn are needed for each knitted or crocheted shawl. There are usually 13 colors for the person to choose from. Our church’s PSM team has never turned away anyone who wants a shawl. A complete record is kept for each shawl, the color, the date it was blessed, the name of the person who received it, the circumstances and any response from the individual or their family. Although sometimes responses are delayed, the team eventually hears back from nearly everyone who receives a shawl.
At the monthly PSM meeting, the members have a short devotional, share prayer requests, discuss shawl requests, read thank you letters, go over the finances and determine what supplies they need. The the cost of mailing the shawls to those who are out of town is covered by a donor. However, contributing coupons to Joanne’s or Michaels or donations to “Prayer Shawl Ministry” to cover the cost of the yarn would be very helpful. Participants in the PSM do not have to be members of our church. (No church budget funds are used for the Prayer Shawl Ministry.)
Another important need is for someone to help Lois in presenting the shawls to local individuals. She is grateful for those who assist her in this part of the ministry.
In the little over eight years that the Prescott Prayer Shawl Ministry has been in service, 202 shawls have been dedicated (including one quilt), and 189 shawls have been gifted. 59 of the gifted shawls were mailed to persons in crisis in 24 states. One was even sent to Italy!
If you have the talent of knitting or crocheting and would like to contribute to this outreach ministry, please contact Lois Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the past they have had about 25 shawls on hand; now it is closer to 12-15. They still have enough to offer a first and second choice of colors to those being gifted.
If you know of someone going through a difficult time, also contact Lois.
Oh, and by the way, the prayer shawl given to Lois all those years ago is “in shreds.” And that’s a good thing!