454 Shawls and Counting...

454 Shawls and Counting...

article by Joanne Jones, photo by Bob Jones of St. John's, Roseville

Noel’s Prayer Shawl Ministry was begun at St. John’s, Roseville in 2007 by Noel Schively as she battled cancer. On Sunday the 454th shawl made for this giving ministry was blessed by Father John Schively as his wife’s legacy continues in her memory.

The blessed shawls are given to men, women and children in need of healing -- physical, mental or spiritual. Jenny Newcomb, a friend of Noel’s, now shepherds this ministry and reported that 407 shawls from St. John’s are currently in use nationwide. She said there are some 20 women who knit or crochet the shawls while praying. (Some of these women are pictured, l-r: Quinlan Brown, Edith Benyo, Jenny Newcomb and Sharon Richardson.) Once a month, the group meets with other prayer warriors to saturate the shawls with prayers for comfort.

When a person receives a shawl, it includes a letter detailing the prayer life it bears. The shawls are blessed by the St. John’s congregation just prior to the Eucharist at Sunday worship. In this dedication prayer, we pray that the recipient “...be cradled in hope, kept in joy, infused with peace, and wrapped in Your love.” It continues by reminding them and us to “know that You are always near, always ready to share their burdens, always ready to comfort and heal.”

Sometimes letters or calls are made thanking St. John's for the shawl or telling of its use. These remarks are from one such reply:

“...gives the gentle touch of angels wings when one’s body seems to be on fire...serves as a quiet companion that will go with you wherever: to the doctor, the lab, into x-ray or imaging, through procedures large and small...walks lightly with you when you are burdened with tubes, IVs and other unusual stuff…enables one to feel the caress of our Lord, entwining one's fingers deep in to the yarn to grasp the hand of God, reaching out in desperation or in hope...”

Other churches have begun this special caring ministry as a result of the giving of these shawls to many outside the parish. Lives that have been touched by the uniqueness of these shawls are expanding this outreach.

If you are interested in knowing more please contact Jenny Newcomb: jknewcomb@surewest.net.

To learn more about St. John's, Roseville, visit www.stjohnsroseville.org.

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