Power in prayer shawls

Church group’s creations pass along God’s love

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A group of ladies at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church meet twice a month to crochet prayer shawls and other items for those in need. Pictured from left are Emily Finsand, Charla Gwartney, Dorothy Barlow and Marsha Dunford. (Photo by Michael Pineda)

By Michael Pineda
Staff Writer

 

A group of dedicated women are passing along the power of love through a prayer shawl ministry at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. 

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Twice a month, the group meets to knit and crochet shawls, prayer cloths, scarves and handbags.

“We want to remind others God is in every situation,” Emily Finsand said. “We want to assure others they are being prayed for.”

Going by a scrapbook that sits in the room where the ladies knit and crochet, the group dates to 2007. It was originally made up of 10 members. One founding member, Sue Corbin, continues to be a part of the group. Another core member who served as the lead, Helen Weingard, moved to Edmond. Finsand has since moved into that role.

“Helen taught me and everyone else helped me,” Marsha Dunford said. “I love the fellowship, laughing and talking. I learn from them, and I get tips when I get into a tangled-up mess.”

Dunford is a newer member, having joined the group about two years ago. She did not know how to crochet and learned on the job.

“When I first came, I got something for my mom,” Dunford said. “She was in a wheelchair, and I got her a lap robe.”

In total, the group has five members currently, although it had two others in the summer before school started back up.

“We will take someone that wants to do it from home,” Finsand said. “We will work with people.”

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The desire to work with people is part of the overall desire to serve people. The ladies agreed that membership in the group is as much about fellowship as it is creating items of love and care. Finsand highlighted the teamwork that goes into the effort and rapport with each other.

“The fellowship and the feedback we get is heartwarming,” Dorothy Barlow said. “It makes us feel we are working for God.”

After each meeting, the ladies join in prayer over the shawl or other knitted item and offer a devotion and prayer. 

Those items find their way to a home through several avenues. Church members will either get a shawl or let the group know of someone that needs one. In fact, there is a service once a year that is dedicated to praying over the shawls. 

Dunford said the group partners with Mustang Creek Elementary and Mustang North Middle School to provide items.

“Their counselors let us know, they have a lot of children that can use a scarf,” she said. 

Donations are also made to the Homeless Alliance – the group crochets soap bags to be donated to the organization.

The ladies also create baptismal blankets and baby blankets for Integris Hospital in Yukon. The blankets, which span 36 inches by 36 inches, are not just for newborns but children in need. 

Good Shepherd Pastor Charla Gwartney said it’s special to go into the hospital to see someone and take a blanket.

“As a pastor, I feel like I am taking a part of the church with me,” she said. 

The response is also overwhelming. Gwartney said it may be weeks or months later that she will see someone, and they share with her how much it meant.

For information on how to get a shawl for someone in need, call the church at (405) 324-1900.

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