From Prayer Shawls to Christmas Blankets
Kandace Lea, wife of Rev. Jamie Lea of First Methodist Church, Mont Belvieu loves to share a needle arts ministry story close to her heart. “Our son James has been in the Marine Corps for five years. On January 19, 2012, he was in Afghanistan and had just gotten off of a 14-hour flight as an aviation crew chief on a helicopter,” she shares. “About 30 minutes after turning the helicopter over to the next crew, it went down-- and he lost six of his closest buddies. The ladies in our needle arts ministry got busy and made 12 red prayer shawls to give to each mother and wife who lost a loved one. In fact, my husband and I delivered two of them to memorial services here in Texas. I have kept in touch with the families over the past two years and they go on and on about how special the prayer shawls are and how important these items have been in their moving forward in their lives.”
Kandace cites another story involving one of the group members who has a mother with a heart of gold and a driving desire to help children. Notes Kandace, “She has made 200+ blankets for the local EMS services and the ministry has extended into Harris County and even to the Texas Rangers which means children all over the state receive a Mont Belvieu blanket with a card that simply says God Loves His Children.”
Needle Arts Expands Prayer Shawl Ministry
Vibrant churches are continually seeking to improve and tweak their existing ministries to meet current and relevant local needs and build relationships that will strengthen discipleship. The Mont Belvieu congregation expanded the Needles Arts Ministry to Prayer Shawls and more recently began a blanket ministry. Member Janell Harvey says, “When our group learned that children in the foster care system were given blankets upon arrival but had to return them to be passed to other children when they left the system, we wanted to provide blankets for those kids to keep this Christmas. “We know they need something to call their very own and that this means someone prays for them and loves them.”
Growth of the ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry began when a beloved member of the congregation, going through her own personal struggles, made a prayer shawl. She realized the comfort it brought to her and began crocheting shawls as part of her own personal therapy.
Members of the Needle Arts Ministry joined in the new ministry and began making shawls to send to persons all over the country. The shawls are made with love and crocheted with prayers. When completed, they are laid on the church altar, anointed with oil, and prayed over by the congregation and the pastor.
Ready when needed
Recently this ministry has been extended to the local Emergency Responders who are called into situations where they often find children who are dealing traumatic events in their lives or the lives of their families. Soft blankets, made with as unique brand of Mont Belvieu
UMC love--and anointed and prayed over by the children of the church-- have been placed in Mont Belvieu’s police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and as requested in county constable vehicles.
The Prayer Shawl Ministry is supported entirely by donations and the prayer support of the congregation. Adds Janell, “These shawls and blankets are a statement of faith and a testimony to the church’s belief in God and the power of prayer.”