At Moravian Church synods, delegates are often on the receiving end of prayers and best wishes from Moravians around the country. At the 2014 Synod, those prayers, best wishes and love took the form of beautifully-crafted prayer shawls, one for each delegate.
In a Friday morning service, the Rev. Maggie Wellert, pastor of Great Kills Moravian Church in Staten Island, and all those present for worship, blessed more than 400 shawls that were knitted or crocheted by Moravians and denominational partners from across the U.S. and Canada. In blessing the shawls, delegates sang:
Bless these shawls with your presence,
Bless these shawls with your love
May we feel healing oneness,
May we share healing love
Then we will be God’s people, Knit together by God’s love
And they’ll know we are Christians
by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
Championed by Maggie and coordinated by Kate Reynolds of Graceham Moravian Church, what started as a small idea turned into a major undertaking involving many Womens’ Fellowships and individuals. The effort to offer a prayer shawl to all delegates at this Synod began nearly two years ago.
When introducing the effort in 2012, Maggie wrote, “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 Northern Province.”
During the service, Maggie recounted the story of how the colorful shawls arrived at Synod. Before being shipped to Bethlehem, congregations prayed over each shawl. All the shawls were delivered to Edgeboro Moravian Church; under the watchful eye of Jen Hoff, each shawl was wrapped and tagged with the prayer, “May you be lifted up in hope; surrounded by joy; and graced with peace. These blessings are only possible through the love of God.”
As the service came to a close, each delegate selected a shawl, stood in a large circle around the hall and sang the hymn “Bind Us Together, Lord.” And, we were, indeed, lifted up in hope, surrounded by joy, graced with peace.
Throughout the rest of Synod, those shawls were a constant reminder of the love and prayers from many for their important work on behalf of all Moravians across the Northern Province. Thank you to all the hands and hearts that worked to nurture this amazing ministry from the simple dream of one woman, Nancy Doran of Great Kills, to reality on the floor of the Northern Province Synod. ■
Maggie Wellert is pastor of Great Kills Moravian Church in Staten Island.
From the July/August 2014 Moravian Magazine