Shepherd of the Prairie prayer shawl and quilt ministries give back
Giving gentle comfort to others in need, while bonding in prayer and fellowship, is merely the start of the joyful benefits achieved by members of the prayer shawl and quilting ministries held at the Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church in Huntley.
Each ministry's volunteers have shared their hands-on, creative gifts to the result of 1,800 personally crocheted or knitted prayer shawls/blankets/baptismal blankets and nearly 1,000 hand sewn quilts donated to others.
A majority of the quilts are donated for World Relief to Lutheran World Services and are sent overseas to people in impoverished nations. Others find local homes throughout McHenry County at organizations such as: Home of the Sparrow, Turning Point, and Exodus.
The quilting group, comprised of about 30 members, meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the church, 10500 Main St. in Huntley.
Nancy Murdock has managed the group for the past six years. "The ladies all know what to do and just jump in and do what needs to be done," Murdock said. Some put kits together which include 11-inch x 11-inch squares in a pattern that is 6 squares across and 8 rows down. Then the work begins in putting the quilt together. "Usually four ladies work on one quilt and they seem to have a great time, because I hear a lot of laughter."
At any given time, there are 12 members who crochet and/or knit triangular prayer shawls.
"We do meet the second Thursday of the month to pray over the completed shawls and attach a prayer," said Jeanne Henley, who coordinates the group. "We do a little work while we are there, but most of the work is done at home."
The shawls serve as a virtual, soft gentle hug of comfort during an illness, or at times of stress, while the recipient is in the hospital or at a nursing home. "I have been involved in this ministry for close to fifteen years," adds Henley, "and it has truly been a blessing to give back."
Alice Hallett has been a part of the shawl ministry for 20 years. She, along with her daughter Tammie Dunkel of Schaumburg, stay busy crocheting baptismal blankets and blankets for students going away to college or the military service. "I ask the students to choose two school colors," said Hallett. She has also created a flag pattern for a blanket given to those entering the military. The baptismal blankets are a very special gift. They are placed in a wooden handmade chest along with a banner with the little one's name. Even older children and adults receive their own personalized baptismal blanket, too.
"I love Shepherd of the Prairie," Hallett says. "Our church is so welcoming and my friends have become like family. I have never belonged to a church that so strongly believes in reaching out its hands to the community and not holding out."
Knowing how to crochet, knit, or quilt is not a requirement for anyone to join the two ministries. All are welcome to learn and enjoy fellowship together.
Both the prayer shawl and quilt ministries are always in need of yarn or fabrics for their projects. Donations can be dropped off at Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church.
For more information, contact Jeanne Henley of the prayer shawl ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nancy Morbeck regarding the quilt ministry at email@example.com.
Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church, under the faith leadership of Pastor Mark Boster, has served the Huntley community for over 20 years. Visit www.sotp.org.