More than ten years on since the establishment of prayer quilting ministry in our Pāuatahanui parish whānau, the 28 ladies who make up that parish’s Prayers and Squares chapter are now blessing hundreds of local students from families with financial struggles as they head into the colder weather.
Prayers and Squares is an international ministry, established in New Zealand by Glenis Rutledge from Pāuatahanui Parish after a visit to an Australian parish which was well-established in this mahi (work). Members gather and craft prayer quilts, which are gifted to people in need of spiritual, emotional or physical prayer and support. “We do it because of our intense love of God and wanting to make a difference in peoples’ lives through the power of prayer,” Glenis says. “It’s not about the quilt, it’s all about the prayers.”
But now, the ladies have developed an innovative ministry to use up all their leftover material. The group tells us: “we have offcuts of polar fleece fabric from the backs of our prayer quilts and decided we could make beanies. However, this was time-consuming so decided scarves for a [low decile] school in East Porirua would be easier.” But given that the group was swimming in leftover wool, they then found that knitting was a better option in order to create the beanies. “Many older women like to knit but don’t have anyone to knit for so this was a great idea,” the group says.
The group now includes women from neighbouring Whitby Parish, as well as a local retirement home, other nearby suburbs, and even as far away as Christchurch. And the group has recently been blessed – receiving over 200 additional beanies from a parishioner’s business, allowing them to be an even bigger conduit of God’s blessing to an additional local school.
“We have been gifting beanies and scarves to Cannon’s Creek School for four years now. This year, We also included beanies for the mums at He Huarahi Tamariki, a local school for pregnant teenagers, and beanies and knitted slippers for their pre-schooler children.” According to the group, some of these young mums go on to graduate from university, so being part of such a worthwhile ministry is a satisfying experience.
The group reports that the total amounts given so far this year are 462 beanies, 140 scarves and 32 knitted slippers. This is an incredible achievement which has such a far-reaching and necessary impact. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou / thanks so much to the Prayers and Squares ladies for your hard work and inspiration!
Post Script: Some recipients of scarves from Cannons Creek School wrote thank you notes to the ladies who had created them. Here’s a few that featured in the Pāuatahanui Parish newsletter: