Prayer Shawl Ministry

AURORA UNITED CHURCH
PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY

COORDINATORS: Anne Ella-Arnold at a.ella.arnold@gmail.com
or Elizabeth Ramsell at 905-503-0645  

RECIPIENTS OF SHAWLS 

The prayer shawls which are presented for blessing are available to anyone who is in need of comfort and encouragement.  This ministry is all encompassing.  Shawls may be requested by anyone for anyone within and beyond the A.U.C. congregation.  

REQUESTS FOR SHAWLS

On most Sundays, anyone may request a shawl at the table in the foyer beside Binions Great Hall.  During the week, requests may be made of the ministry coordinators, or at the church office where there is a small selection available.  

DONATIONS WELCOMED:   

All donations may be left at the church office.  

Equipment:  from 7 mm to 9 mm knitting needles and 4 mm to 6 mm crochet hooks


Yarn:  gauges 2 to 5; no matter how small or varied the quantity; leftovers or new

Crafting Time:  needles, patterns, yarn for do it yourself kits, and ready made kits are available through one of the ministry coordinators

Gift Bags and Tissue:  new or gently used

Funds:  to purchase supplies; donations made to A.U.C. and designated for the Prayer Shawl Ministry will be receipted  

2017 DATA:

  • 150 shawls crafted
  • 162 shawls distributed
  • 26 shawls on hand on December 31, 2017  

CRAFTERS’ CIRCLE—2012 to present:  

The purpose of this group is to gather with others who are preparing prayer shawls for our ministry.  These meetings are a time of creating, supporting, sharing of crafting ideas and techniques, and fellowship.  Every month, meetings take place on the first Thursday afternoon and on the third Tuesday evening.  Shawls kits and a small supply of needles are available for crafters to pick up on most Sundays and at all of the Thursday afternoon meetings.  All are welcome to attend—seasoned and beginner crafters alike.  At the end of 2017, Crafters’ Circle had seventeen members.  

UPCOMING CRAFTERS’ CIRCLE MEETINGS:  

  • Thursday,February 7, 1-3 pm ~ Trinity Nursery
  • Tuesday, February 19, 7-9 pm ~ Chartwell Hollandview                                                                              

HISTORY OF THE PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY AT A.U.C.
2006 to present:
 

In 1997, following a leadership programme at a seminary in Connecticut, U.S.A., Janet Bristow and Victoria Cole-Galo created the shawl-knitting ministry and the website “www.shawlministry.com” in response to encouragement to continue the intent of the conference.  Today, prayer shawl ministries exist in many countries, presenting needy recipients with these symbols of comfort and compassion.  

Late in 2005, both Carol Rose-Kudelka and Evelyn Wilkinson became aware of the existence of this type of ministry, and convinced A.U.C.’s newly formed Health Cabinet to begin one here.  Carol, Carol Beaver, and Carol Tanner stepped up as leaders of the ministry with much needed technical expertise provided by Jean Anthes.  The ministry was launched in the spring of 2006, with prayerful support from the Health Cabinet and financial support from the Faith and the Arts Committee.  The blessing of the prayer shawls created that first spring and summer took place on the following September 24.  Presently, this programme is supported under the umbrella of the Health and Wellness Ministry.  In 2012, Anne Ella-Arnold and Carol Beaver became the ministry coordinators.  One of their first tasks was to launch Crafters’ Circle, in an effort to bring together the crafters of the shawls.  Ever since then on every Sunday following the donation of a shawl, it is offered and blessed to prepare it for distribution to a worthy recipient.  

Since its inception in 2006, our prayer shawl ministry has enriched and knitted the entire A.U.C. community.  All members of the congregation are participants, contributing in a variety of ways.  Some of them donate funds, yarn, equipment, and other supplies.  Crafters give generously of their talents.  And many distribute shawls to needy recipients. It is said that, “God’s hands are our hands.”  We may never know how the love, woven into each shawl, will touch or change another’s life.  But it has and it will.   This ministry has truly been a blessing to all of us.  And our work continues.  

SOME OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  • Every August since 2012, A.U.C. has provided a sizable amount money for the ministry to purchase enough yarn for half of the shawls that have been crafted, and all of the other shawls have been produced from private donations of new and leftover yarn. 
  • Ever since we began to keep records in 2012, an annual average of just under two hundred shawls have been distributed and almost the same number has been crafted.
  • Since 2012, every A.U.C. confirmand has been presented with a shawl.
  • Since 2014, in addition to shawls, the crafters have also made a total of over sixty chemo caps which have been donated to the Oncology Department at Southlake Regional Health Centre
  • As a result of the fire in 2014, sadly thirty-eight shawls were lost to smoke damage.  But five United Churches in Ontario donated fifty-one shawls to us to allow us to continue our ministry while we restocked our coffers.
  • The purple prayer shawl that drapes the cross on the communion table at A.U.C. was a gift from the Newton-Robinson United Church and was dedicated to the congregation on Easter Sunday 2014.
  • Following the devastating fire at Manitoba’s Starbuck United Church, just six weeks after our own, our congregation sent twelve shawls made by our crafters to comfort that congregation. At least four other prayer shawl
  •  In May 2018, A.U.C. sent three shawls to the community of Humboldt, Saskatchewan in response to the bus accident, which killed or wounded all on board.
  • At least four other prayer shawl ministries have begun as a result of our example.