Prayer shawls provide comfort

Two priests extend hands over a pile of knitted blankets
The Rev. Canon Judy Herron-Graham, incumbent of St. George Memorial (left) blesses prayer shawls at the anniversary service with the Rev. Pamela Lucas, the Anglican chaplain at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
 on October 1, 2019

St. George Memorial, Oshawa celebrated the second anniversary of its prayer shawl ministry with a special service on May 26. The Rev. Canon Judy Herron-Graham, incumbent, blessed many beautiful prayer shawls, and the Rev. Pamela Lucas, the Anglican chaplain at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, was the guest preacher.

Since its inception in 2017, the church’s prayer shawl ministry has grown significantly. About 200 shawls have been created, blessed, and distributed to anyone who might benefit, including recipients as far away as the Channel Islands, Sri Lanka, Baffin Island and British Columbia – as well as many parishioners and friends. In addition, the church has presented a shawl or blanket to each baptismal candidate and young person leaving home for further education. Recipients have told heart-warming stories of their appreciation. A cancer patient kept his shawl with him at home, used it often to keep warm, took it with him to treatments and appointments, and had it with him as his life ended; it helped him feel closer to God.

The shawls are created by skilled crafters at the church. Each shawl is unique in shape, size and colour. A parishioner gift-wraps each shawl to make it even more special. Parishioners distribute each gift personally, accompanied by prayer and the assurance that St. George’s prays for each recipient.

Responding to a need to comfort trauma patients at St. Michael’s Hospital, the crafters have reached out (with the help of Knitters and Knatters of Newcastle, Ont.) with blessed prayer blankets and knitted teddy bears for Ms. Lucas to distribute. In her sermon, she testified to the immense appreciation of the hospital patients.


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