At St Nicholas we occasionally make prayer blankets for people undergoing health issues or significant change. Here’s news of what other Episcopal churches are doing with the idea: a knitted, pocket-size shawl. For Veterans’ Day, they went above and beyond the call of duty.
By Linda Arguedas, November 11, 2011 [Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania] In honor of the men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces, the Episcopal dioceses of Bethlehem and Central Pennsylvania combined on Nov. 10 for a Veterans Day service in the chapel at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
More than 200 pocket prayer shawls were blessed by Bethlehem Assistant Bishop John P. Croneberger, the Rev. Terry Wible of St. Lukes Episcopal Church, Lebanon, and the Rev. William Alford of St. Andrews in the Valley, Harrisburg, before being presented to Chaplain Joel Copeland of the veterans hospital.
The shawls were created by members of the Sacred Stitches group at St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, and the Hooks and Needles prayer shawl ministry at St. Lukes.
Members of both churches were present along with approximately 100 veterans and VA Medical Center employees.
Pocket prayer shawls can be carried in pockets or used in situations where a large shawl is not appropriate or allowed, such as intensive care units or by troops in combat, according to the Central Pennsylvania dioceses Sacred Stitches webpage. Essentially, they are “prayers you can hold onto.”
A card added to each prayer shawl says: “May this pocket-sized prayer shawl, made with love and infused with prayers, be a sign of God’s sustaining presence. May it refresh your weariness and provide comfort in your anxiety. May it make available to you healing for your pain and consolation for your loneliness. May it bring, joy, gladness and brightest blessings.”
The prayer shawls were distributed to veterans in the hospital following the service.