Prayer Shawls

It began almost 20 years with two women Janet Severi Bristo and Victoria Galo, who had studied together at the Women’s Leadership Institute at the Hartford Seminary. Inspired by what they learned there, they combined their love of knitting and crocheting into a prayerful ministry which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, and also to mark occasions of celebration and joy.

Since that beginning their ministry idea has spread far and wide, generating prayer shawl ministries all across the nation and even the world. The idea is quite simple. The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient, and those prayers are continued throughout the shawl’s creation. Once completed, the shawls then receive one final blessing before being sent on their way.

Here at First Presbyterian, that final blessing occurs in our worship gatherings with the shawls being blessed collectively by the whole congregation before they go to people in need who could be right around the corner or across the nation. Our shawls have gone to victims of tornadoes in the Western states, to folks in need in Alaska, as well as to folks in need right here in Hollywood. But as these shawls go out, they go out with a tangibly powerful and healing message, God loves you. And when you wrap this hand-knitted shawl that has been lovingly prayed over, that sense of God’s love becomes more powerfully present than ever.

If you like to knit or crotchet or would simply like to learn, then this ministry provides a place for you. And like every ministry at First Presbyterian, it is not simply about the good work that you do, but about the relationships that develop as you gather with others in this very special knitting circle. If you would like more information about this beautiful ministry of literally hand crafted love, please contact Alice Carlisle at And then come out and join the team, a team that is spreading the love of Jesus in a beautifully hands on way!

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