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Beginning in the fall of 2014, the Decatur County Prayer Shawl Ministry has been hand making and providing prayer shawls to patients at Decatur County Hospital. The ministry is a spiritually driven, community based project to provide warmth, comfort, joy, peace, and healing to patients that are weary and hurting. The prayer shawls serve as a reminder that they are surrounded by the love and prayers of others.
The Prayer Shawl Ministry first began when Decatur County Hospital CEO Suzanne Cooner sat next to Local Craft Show Committee member Jan Chambers at Church. When she found out about Chambers’ involvement in the Craft Show, she asked whether she knew anyone who did crochet or knitting, as she was wanting to start a Prayer Shawl Ministry for patients at the hospital. Chambers immediately agreed to help and has since handmade several dozen shawls for the project.
“My sister taught me to crochet at the age of nine — because Mom thought I needed to get my head out of books all of the time,” recalled Chambers, “I do not have a clue how many scarves, vests, prayer shawls, baby afghans, and big afghans that I have made over the years.”
The first recipient of a prayer shawl was Leon resident, Ruth Beasley. Although Chambers originally did not know that Ruth was the recipient of her shawl, Ruth called Chambers shortly after receiving the shawl during her time at Decatur County Hospital. Ruth and Jan share a special connection, as Ruth rocked Jan in the hospital when she was born. “Suzanne had no way of knowing that Ruth and I had any connection when she gave the first of the prayer shawls to Ruth,” stated Chambers. Not only did Ruth make a full recovery and get back on her feet, she soon returned home.
“Through Suzanne, I feel that God has given me an opportunity to use a skill that I have to help people who are in need of a ‘lift’ – in form of a prayer that they can wrap around them any time they want to. The ministry has been as good for me as it has been to the recipients of the shawls.” stated Chambers, “In my opinion, the ‘story’ is not of the person who conceived the idea for Decatur County Hospital, nor the person who make the prayer shawls or who donates money to buy the yarn, but of God’s hand in the way the ministry is helping people in our community through rough times in their lives.”