Building Bridges One Prayer Shawl at a Time

2014 Elva McFarlin

Building bridges of understanding and peace. This program year, Zumbro is focusing on building bridges of understanding and peace. Taken at face value, building bridges takes a lot of time, effort, tools, and materials. But Zumbro isn’t asking or recommending massive monuments be made in this endeavor. Zumbro member Elva McFarlin is doing what she can to build bridges, and has been for years.

DSC_0186 (2) Nestled in her cozy Rochester home, Elva lovingly crochets prayer shawls. Looking around her living room, you can see and feel the warm of her love; there are throws and lap blankets draped over furniture-all made with her two hands.

She started crocheting prayer shawls for Zumbro’s Prayer Shawl Ministry in 2012.  “The Prayer Shawl Ministry is one of caring that is universal and enduring. The shawl is a reminder of God’s love and helps to sustain an awareness of the presence of God in our lives.” Since Elva’s start in 2012, she has made 87 prayer shawls (as of December 10, 2014) for those in need of the warm of Jesus’ embrace. She has no goal in mind, as she says,“it is second nature for me to sit and crochet,” and “it gives my hands something to do.”

DSC_0186 Elva learned how to crochet as a child from her aunt. As with anyone starting something new, intentions were high although skill was not. “One of my first crocheted items was too tight to wear,” remarks Elva. With time, her skill and love for this art grew. Since then, Elva has shared her passion with her two daughters in teaching them to crochet. One of her daughters has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has made 16 prayer shawls for Zumbro.

This act of generosity, hand making something in need for others, isn’t new to Elva; in the past, she has made bears for children and knit hats for Lutheran Social Services of Rochester.

“My hope for these shawls is that is provides comfort to the recipient in knowing that someone is praying for him or her,” says Elva.

In what ways can you build bridges?