If you've been inspired to start your own prayer shawl ministry or group, you might be a little confused about how to get started. it can seem overwhelming to try to recruit people, decide who to give the shawls to and figure out how to get supplies.
These thoughts should give you some ideas on how to get your prayer shawl group started right.
Prayer shawl ministries originally started and are still typically done through churches or other religious organizations. While that's an easy way to find members -- simply talk to your clergy person about starting a group and advertise in the church bulletin -- it isn't the only way to go about it.
In fact, prayer shawl ministries do not have to be centered on one religion, or even necessarily any religion. A group of friends can get together and knit shawls for people in need, sending good thoughts along but not necessarily any formal blessings.
The first step is to decide what kind of group you want and where meetings will take place. Again, a church group is likely to meet in the church building, while outside groups could meet at a library, coffeeshop or local yarn store. A small group could meet at a member's home.
Recruiting members can be as simple as talking to your current knitting group or e-mailing a few friends, or as complex as making flyers to post around church, the yarn store or the wider community, depending on how large and open you want your group to be.
Once interested parties have been assembled, the group will need to make some decisions about when and where meetings will take place, who will receive shawls (other members of the community, a hospital or charity group, etc.) and where supplies will come from. Individuals may provide their own supplies, or the group may need to raise funds (perhaps by selling or raffling off some shawls?) to keep the group in yarn and needles.
The group can decide to all use the same pattern for their shawls or to pick patterns individually.
You may decide as a group that you want to start your meetings with a prayer, reading, meditation or moment of silence to focus the group on bringing positive energy and thoughts into the shawls. You may also pray over the shawls when they are finished, either just within the group or as part of a regular addition to the church service.
Each prayer shawl ministry is a bit different, like each knitting group in general is different, but getting the organization in place from the start will make it easier to ensure the group runs smoothly.
For more information on prayer shawl ministries, check out the Prayer Shawl Ministry website.