This ministry started with one woman, a member of the church, who knitted stuffed animals, mittens, scarves and other things for the needy. When she passed , the women of the church were trying to come up with a ministry for Lent. Toni stumbled upon an article about two women who started a shawl ministry in their church. Toni then, purchased a book entitled "Knitting into the Mystery," talked to a few women, and the ministry began. The group experienced such blessing from the ministry that after Lent was over, they couldn't stop meeting together.
Toni told me that their small group meets at different homes on Wednesdays each week and at the church on the first and third Saturdays of the month. They have sent shawls to the wives of the miners killed in W. Virginia a couple of years ago. Shawls have been sent to the survivors of the shootings at VA Tech. They have provided miracles of healing to some who were very ill, and some have been buried with loved ones who received comfort in their illnesses. Their shawls have wrapped new born babies. They have been given to mothers whose sons are fighting overseas. They have comforted people at times of loss, been given to women's shelters, a home for girls and more. The group keeps a map of the world where they put little pins on some of the locations their shawls have been sent.
She went on to say that they meet each week during Lent and Advent to do special projects. They gave 275 hat, scarf and mitten sets to an Elementary school in their town that is the poorest per capita school in the area. They gave hats, scarves and mittens to schools for special children and made chemo caps to the cancer unit of the local hospital. For this last Lenten season, they made hats to be sent to the military overseas to wear under their helmets.
"To touch so many lives so significantly is beyond amazing. We all pray our thanks that God gave us the gift to do His work. We have gained so much more in just the doing."
"We also have formed such a bond as a group, we can tell all, support all, bless and comfort each other. The group and the doing has changed so many in our group. Women who don't do anything else will not miss a knitting session. Women who struggle with so many issues find support and solace with us."
Toni had more touching stories about the Shawl Ministry. I don't have the room for them in this article, but if you join a shawl ministry team or start your own, it won't be long before you have your own stories of blessing to tell.