rayer shawls will help bereaved mothers

rayer shawls will help bereaved mothers

Image Credit: Dave Mast

The call is going out to all knitters who enjoy their craft and love helping those suffering.

The Christwalk Prayer Shawl Ministry has been created to help comfort and encourage mothers who are bereaved due to the loss of an infant with one loving stitch at a time.

The ministry was created in support of the Lifting Hearts Bereavement Program of Pomerene Hospital.

Evelyn Wooten, who initiated the prayer shawl ministry program, knows exactly how grieving parents feel. She lost an infant child decades ago, and she said the grief that accompanies that loss never goes away, but people can learn to cope with it.

“I am amazed with the important job they do in working with families at Lifting Hearts,” Wooten said. “I was really touched by their work and wanted to find a way to help them with their mission.”

Last May Christwalk Church was hosting a gathering in their sanctuary, and Toni Mishler, director of Lifting Hearts, connected with Pastor Chip Woodall. At that meeting she shared her program’s mission and their desire to help families mourning the loss of an infant, and Woodall told Mishler the church would provide for a meeting and meal for Lifting Hearts.

Wooten joined the banquet committee and was immediately touched by the mission of the program.

The wheels started to turn in Wooten’s head, and the idea of the prayer shawl mission sprang to life.

Wooten said Mishler was thinking volunteers would provide the program with perhaps a dozen shawls they could hand out, but Wooten was thinking bigger picture, wanting to create a shawl for every mother at the dinner in February.

“I like to think big,” Wooten said.

In creating the ministry, Wooten is seeking the aid of every knitter out there who has a heart for helping others in need.

“Our ministry combines the love of needlework and the desire to reach out to those in need of comfort and solace,” Wooten said. “There is something comforting for a mother in wrapping themselves up in a warm shawl that not only provides warmth and comfort, but also knowing it was created specifically for them through love and prayer is equally important.”

Wooten is adamant in creating support for grieving parents and the bereavement program, and she is aiming to go big and make an immediate impact. Her hope is that from now through Jan. 30, the ministry will be able to provide Lifting Hearts with 100 knitted shawls that will be given to couples suffering the loss of an infant. The ministry will present the shawls to Lifting Hearts at a mother’s brunch in February.

Following that, the hope is knitters will keep on knitting, creating shawls that will provide comfort to grieving parents for years to come.

According to Wooten, volunteers can come from Holmes County and beyond. The desire to do something special and meaningful for someone hurting is the only requirement. She asks that volunteers call and register so she can get a count on the number of people and shawls. Volunteers may participate by using their own purchased yarn, or the ministry will purchase yarn for those who would like to participate but can’t afford the yarn.

“If someone who doesn’t knit or crochet would like to be a part of this, they can do so by donating either financially or with yarn,” Wooten said.

Shawls may be hand-knitted, crocheted, woven or even machine knitted. Volunteers can use their imagination when it comes to creating a quilt but are asked not to use pastel pink and blue or bright red yarn. Prayer shawls should be a minimum of 24 inches wide and between 68-72 inches long.

Judy Mann, part of the prayer shawl committee, said making shawls for experienced knitters can take a day or weeks, depending on the shawl, but like many knitters, she said she expects to put her talents to use in creating multiple shawls by Jan. 30.

“Knitters love what they do, and many of us love the idea of giving to others from something that comes from our hearts, so we definitely invite any volunteer knitter to join us and be a part of something that is meaningful and special,” Mann said.

What makes this endeavor unique is that while knitting a quilt, volunteers will be asked to say a prayer for whomever receives the shawl before they begin knitting and then continually pray throughout the process.

Volunteers who complete their shawls can call Wooten to pick up their donation if it is local, or they can drop them off or send them to Christwalk Church in care of Wooten at 684 Critchfield St. in Millersburg.

Each prayer shawl will be given a final prayer during services at Christwalk Church on Feb. 6 before they are presented to Lifting Hearts at the brunch.