In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.
“As God created the heavens, the earth, and life itself, may God give birth to new life in us. May God’s love be known to us today through Jesus Christ. And as tiny pebbles thrown into a pond cause ripples to move outward in ever-widening circles, may our love move from this place outward—expanding to embrace our neighbors, our community, our human family, and our world.” (MBW, p. 47)
One day, a few women were chatting about the various ministries of the Staten Island (SI) Moravians in Mission (Great Kills, Castleton Hill, New Dorp, and Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian Churches). One of those women shared a devotion she had read. The writer spoke about the prayer shawl ministry of her denomination and the amazing undertaking that was part of their ministry. For a national church gathering, those who knit and crochet prepared enough prayer shawls for each delegate to receive one.
As it happens, a prayer shawl ministry is one of the ministries of SI Moravians in Mission! The women began to muse aloud: what if we did that for the 2014 Synod of the Moravian Church—Northern Province?
That musing proved to be a tiny pebble thrown into a pond that caused ripples to move outward in ever-widening circles!
First, we asked how many prayer shawls that might take. Well, came the response, maybe as many as 350! Really?
Then we asked: how will we possibly fund this? Who will buy the yarn? Who will contact the people? Who will coordinate? How will we get them to Synod? How will we distribute them? Who will coordinate with the Planning Committee so that they could be distributed, say, during the opening worship of Synod?
Once we had all those fearsome questions out of our mouths…we began to smile. Hmmm…could we possibly? Lots of doubt…worries…yet…
We sent out a “what if” e-mail through the Congregation List of the Northern Province, asking if there were local prayer shawl ministries in our sister congregations across the province who might be interested. We knew quite well that most of those e-mails went right to the pastors! Fat chance they’d get any further…then we could just give up. We got at least ten responses: we will help! Darn.
So, we decided we had best ask the Provincial Elders’ Conference if such an undertaking would be welcome. If they said, “no,” well, we could just give up.
They said, “Yes…and we think 250 is a good number.” Darn.
We carried this idea back to the Board of Elders of the United Brethren’s Church on Staten Island, comprised of representatives from all the SI congregations, as well as the pastors. They said, “Let’s do it.”
WOW!! Ripples moving outward in ever-widening circles…
We are going to make prayer shawls for the entire delegation of the 2014 Synod of the Northern Province. And “we” are very hopeful that “we” will include you!
This website will tell you everything you need to know in order to make a prayer shawl. Please check it out. http://www.shawlministry.com/instructions.html.
Prayer shawl patterns are typically done in patterns of “3”—very Trinitarian—which gives you a basis for praying for the recipient in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit many times!
It is our hope and prayer that with these shawls, those who are serving as delegates to the 2014 Synod will feel the warmth and love of our Holy God, and feel the support and love of each member of each congregation scattered across the Province. Thank you for being one more ripple in our ever-widening circle of God’s love.
Maggie Wellert is pastor at Great Kills Moravian Church in Staten Island. In photos, volunteers present prayer shawls during a Mississippi mission trip.
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Tuesday, May 21 – Psalm 67
Proverbs 14; 1 Corinthians 16:1-11
The Lord has sent me to comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 6:1,2
God consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
You are our refuge and strength, O God, our ever-present help in trouble. Embolden us to share the good news of your steadfast love. Make us instruments your consolation, we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Count Zinzendorf speaks once again in this collection of sermons preached during his sojourn in Pennsylvania in the 1740s. These sermons, translated by Craig Atwood and Julie Tomberlin Weber, will touch your heart as they did those who heard them more than 250 years ago.