COORDINATORS: Anne Ella-Arnold at a.ella.arnold@gmail.com or 905-751-1315 and Elizabeth Ramsell at 905-503-0645 

DURING THE CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS, PLEASE BE ADVISED OF THE FOLLOWING: 

PRAYER SHAWLS CONTINUE TO BE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.  CONTACT ONE OF THE MINISTRY COORDINATORS OR THE MINISTERIAL STAFF FOR ASSISTANCE. 

CRAFTERS IN NEED OF KITS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONACT ANNE ELLA-ARNOLD TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO OBTAIN THEM. 

AS INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE, DETAILS OF THE CRAFTERS’ CIRCLE MEETINGS WHICH ARE MENTIONNED BELOW MAY NEED TO BE CHANGED.  WHEN IN DOUBT, CHECK WITH ANNE ELLA-ARNOLD. 

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:

Pre-Covid Arrangement: (currently on hold)

·      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 of shawls available.   

 

During Covid Arrangement: (current system)

·     Prayer shawls continue to be available upon request.  Contact one of the ministry coordinators or the ministerial staff for   assistance.

 

DONATIONS WELCOMED:  

Pre-Covid Arrangement:  (currently on hold)

All donations may be left at the church office.

·      Equipment:  from 6 mm to 8 mm knitting needles and 4 mm to 6 mm crochet hooks


·      Yarn:  gauges 2 to 5; quantities of 15 g. or greater; leftovers or new

·      Crafting Time:  needles, patterns, and ready-made kits are available

·      Gift Bags and Tissue:  new or gently used

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

 

During Covid Arrangement:  (current system)

The following donations may be arranged with Anne Ella-Arnold.  Please contact her.

·      Equipment:  from 6 mm to 8 mm knitting needles and 4 mm to 6 mm crochet hooks


·     Yarn:  gauges 2 to 5; quantities of 15 g. or greater; leftovers or new

·      Crafting Time:  needles, patterns, and ready-made kits are available 

·      Gift Bags and Tissue:  new or gently used

 ·      Funds:  to purchase materials; donations made payable to Aurora United Church and designated for the Prayer Shawl Ministry will be receipted.  Financial donations may be mailed directly to Aurora United Church, 15186 Yonge Street, Aurora, ON L4G 1L9.

 

2020 DATA:

·      126 shawls crafted

·      116 shawls distributed

·      41 shawls on hand on December 31, 2020

 

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.  Shawl 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.  In August, we take a fieldtrip to a yarn factory in Listowel to restock our yarn supply.  At the end of 2020, Crafters’ Circle had thirteen members. 

UPCOMING CRAFTERS’ CIRCLE MEETINGS:

All crafters of prayer shawls are welcome to attend.  All meetings are virtual at this time.  So if you wish to attend, please contact Anne Ella-Arnold for the login information.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021; MEETING CANCELLED 
Thursday, December 2, 2021; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm; virtual meeting
Tuesday, December 21, 2021; MEETING CANCELLED 
Thursday, January 6, 2022; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm; virtual meeting
Tuesday, January 18, 2022; MEETING CANCELLED
Thursday, February 3, 2022; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm; virtual meeting

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 support from the Health Cabinet and 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 a part of the Serving Ministry.  In March of 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. Currently Anne Ella-Arnold and Elizabeth Ramsell are the coordinators.

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 or it will.

This ministry has truly been a blessing to all of us.  And our work continues. 

SOME OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

·      Ever since we began to keep records in 2012, an annual average of about one hundred eighty shawls has been distributed and almost the same number has been crafted.

·      Since 2012, every A.U.C. confirmand has been presented with a shawl.

·      Crafters have made and donated over ninety chemo caps to the Oncology Department at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket.

·      At least four other prayer shawl ministries have begun as a result of our example.

·      In November 2019, we participated in providing data about our ministry for a post-graduate student, Mary Elizabeth Piercy, studying at the University of Winnipeg.  Her master’s thesis is entitled, “Shaping Post-Christendom Spiritual Practice in the United Church of Canada, One Prayer Shawl at a Time”. 

·      The pandemic has not stopped our ministry from continuing.  Since mid-March of 2020, shawls have continued to be crafted and distributed at almost the same rate as before COVID-19.

 

NOTES OF APPRECIATION:

  ·      During the pandemic, Crafters’ Circle has continued to meet once a month.  Many thanks to Reverend Andy Comar for his assistance and patience in getting the virtual meetings booked and started smoothly.

 ·      Thanks to Mary Elizabeth Piercy who has completed her thesis and has offered it to us for our website.  It can be accessed by using the link supplied.

https://www.auroraunitedchurch.ca/news/shaping-post-christendom-spiritual-practice-in-the-united-church-of-canada-one-prayer-shawl-at-a-time

·      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 in 2014 in response to the tragic fire, which took our building.  We so appreciate this constant reminder of the love and support that this community shared with us in our time of great loss. 

·      Also as a result of the same fire, sadly thirty-eight shawls were lost to smoke damage.  But five United Churches in Ontario (Dunbarton-Fairport U.C. in Pickering, Goodwood U.C., Mount Carmel Zion U.C. in Morriston, Richmond Hill U.C., Thornhill U.C.) came forward and donated fifty-one shawls to allow us to continue our ministry while we restocked our coffers.  As a result of this generosity, our ministry continued with barely a pause.  What a blessing for us. 

Refreshed on November 15, 2021.