Before COVID, our Wellness Council pioneered the OPC Prayer Shawl Ministry. Now that the Wellness Council has disbanded, there is no longer an organized group dedicated to the shawls – but that doesn’t mean you can’t carry on the tradition!

We’re hoping that eventually a new group will be formed, but until then, we’re extending an invitation to any knitters or crocheters out there. If you feel led to perform this act of love and service, we welcome your help! Work independently on your own timeline using whatever yarn you like. If you’d prefer to work on a smaller scale, we are always in need of prayer squares too! There is a stash of free yarn in the Bride’s Parlor on the second floor of the church for anyone interested.

Read more about the shawls and the process of making them below!

For more detailed information, visit

About the Shawls
In 1998, Janet Severi Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut gave birth to a ministry as a result of their experience in this program of applied Feminist Spirituality under the direction of Professor Miriam Therese Winter, MMS.

Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy. Many blessings are prayed into every stitch. The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on its way.

Some recipients have continued the kindness by making a shawl and passing it onto someone in need. Thus, the blessing ripples from person-to-person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace of a sheltering, mothering God!

For more information about prayer shawls, you can visit here.

Uses for the Shawls
Prayer shawls can provide much-needed comfort in a time of transition or uncertainty. Some scenarios in which a prayer shawl can be helpful include recovery from medical procedures, grief after a loss, commitment or marriage ceremonies, childbirth, nursing, rites of passage, an ongoing illness, ministering to others… There are endless possibilities!
Making the Shawls
Prayer shawls can be knitted, woven, sewn, quilted, machine knitted, etc. As long as they are made with love, they will be a comfort to whoever receives them!

Before you Begin:
Because this is a spiritual practice, before one begins the knitting process, a blessing, prayer or wish can be said, dedicating the work of your hands and the intentions of the receiver.  You may want to light a candle and play soft music to enhance your knitting time, remembering that this is a prayerful time.  When working in a group, you may want to pass the work-in-progress around the circle, asking each person to add some stitches to the shawl, or to just hold it for a while to add their prayers, energy and good wishes.

Detailed instructions on creating the shawls may be found here, including the original knitting pattern and a crochet pattern.

To make a shawl personal, the giver or the recipient may want to adorn the shawl with beads, shells, feathers, old jewelry, and/or charms.

When you Finish:
Before you give it away, say a blessing, prayer or wish over the shawl, keeping the receiver in mind. Another nice touch is enclosing a *potpourri sachet scented with lavender oil, a calming aroma, or any essential oil that you like.  It is also good to enclose an explanation of any certain colors or charms you may have used and/or a blessing, prayer or wish for the receiver.

Blessing the Shawls
Prayer Shawls are all about prayerfulness and sharing comfort and peace, which is why a blessing is typically said before and after making the shawl, as well as given to the recipient with the shawl.

This is a blessing litany our OPC Prayer Shawl group used, though you can find another if you’d like:

Blessing of Prayer Shawls Litany

Creator God, we give thanks for those who knit, crochet, sew and quilt. Bless them as they share their gift in a community of love to create a tangible sign of our prayers and your grace.
All: We thank you and praise you, O God

We give thanks, loving God, for the creativity and care, love and hope that is worked into each and every shawl and quilt. Bless those who answer your call to show mercy and kindness to those in need.
All: Praise be to God

We give thanks, guiding God, for the lessons of these shawls and quilts. Help us to see the beauty in the variety of colors and patterns and to forgive the imperfections just as you see the beauty in each of us and accept and forgive our imperfections.
All: Praise be to God

Patient God, remind us that our prayers and your love never die. Renew the prayers of these shawls and quilts that they may continue to bring comfort and peace to those who receive them and their loved ones.
All: Hear us, O God

Everlasting God, remind us that you are with those who cry out to you. Remind those who need healing, comfort, rest, courage, strength, patience, renewal, and hope, that they are covered not only by these shawls, but by the mantle of your eternal love.
All: Hear us, O God

Restorer God, send your spirit to fill us, renew us, and energize us for the days ahead. Allow us to be clothed with the spirits of light, love, and truth and to go forth from this place to continue our work and share your love with others.
All: Amen