Bridgeville-area churches take part in prayer shawl ministry |

Bridgeville-area churches take part in prayer shawl ministry

Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo started the concept of a prayer shawl ministry in 1998 after completing a course on applied feminist spirituality.

The shawls would be their way of reminding people that God could bring warmth, healing and comfort. The women are graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at Hartford Seminary.

As word spread, the ministry has gone beyond churches in Connecticut to dozens throughout the United States.

Lynn Gross heads up the ministry at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Green Tree which began in October 2009. The shawls are made by St. Margaret volunteers and are free. Anyone who is experiencing stress and would benefit from having a shawl is invited to ask for one.

The Green Tree volunteers estimate they have given away about 200 shawls, including some sent last year to Newtown, Conn. as part of a nationwide contribution to families and townspeople affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“Volunteers knit or crochet, while other people buy or donate yarn and supplies,” Gross said.

A soft yarn is used; patterns are available online or from the group’s collection of patterns; some volunteers design their own. A prayer card is inserted with each shawl.

To volunteer, give supplies or to request a shawl, call 412-303-0631.

The prayer shawl ministry at Holy Child Parish in Bridgeville began four years ago. The group meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. So far, they have made about 303 shawls; some have been sent nationwide; others have been given to local parishioners, St. John Lutheran Church in Carnegie, Rachel’s Vineyard, and Pittsburgh Diocesan seminarians.

The church also offers prayer patches for those who cannot take a shawl. It fits in one’s pocket and serves a similar purpose.

For more information, call 412-221-5213.

Our Lady of Grace Parish in Scott Township began a ministry in the last couple years under the guidance of their Ladies of Charity.

To donate yarn and supplies or to volunteer, call 412-279-7070.

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or [email protected].

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