By Pat Walter
St.Lukes Episcopal Church, Lebanon, PA
A Prayer Shawl Conference took place Saturday, March 19, 2011 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Lebanon. Approximately 50 people from 22 churches in Lebanon County came together for this Lenten, daylong activity. Those present represented the Prayer Shawl ministries from their churches ranging from established groups, to newly formed groups, and those in hopes of starting a group.
Opening the event, Father Terrence Wible, St. Luke's Rector, welcomed the group. Canon Jane Teter, widow of the former St. Luke's rector, Lloyd Edgar Teter, was the speaker. Canon for Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Teter spoke about Contemplative Knitting and Crocheting and how its repetitive motion is soothing and opens the mind to higher thoughts. She also spoke about a possible outgrowth of each individual ministry to include countywide projects for various agencies and people in need. She showed many of her own items for this extended ministry.
Those at each table then discussed questions that had been distributed through the registration packet. Those results were presented and organized under the leadership of St. Luke's member, Linda Arguedas. Many in attendance were knitting and crocheting as the meeting progressed. After lunch prepared by the ladies of St. Luke's, tours of the historic building were given. A time of contemplative working was available in the afternoon in the sanctuary with organ music presented by Dr. Terry Heisey, Organist.
What is a Prayer Shawl Ministry? A person participating in this ministry, either knits or crochets a shawl. While working, the creator prays for the person for whom that shawl is intended, whether he is known or unknown. The completed items are brought to a monthly meeting where the group lays on hands and says more prayers. In some cases, those shawls are then blessed by the local priest or minister before being distributed. A variety of types of shawls were on display including adults shawls, baby shawls, and pocket prayer shawls sent to those in the military. The exchange of ideas was invaluable to those present.
One of the questions for discussion led the group to summarize that an “unexpected result” of their ministry was the gathering that day of many different groups of different faiths – all for the same reason – the reaching out to others beyond church and community.
The event was under the leadership of Coordinator, Laurie Daub, Pat Walter and members of St. Luke's Prayer Shawl Ministry.