It’s been a busy fall for women across the church: retreats, conventions, gatherings and more. I’ve always thought that if you can walk away from an event with at least one new idea it’s been a productive time together in community. So, today I’m sharing two ideas many encountered this fall. Perhaps one or both of them will inspire a new ministry for you.
I first saw prayer squares at the Ninth Triennial Gathering where the women of the Northeastern Minnesota Synodical Women’s Organization (SWO) gave them out. When I visited the Eastern North Dakota SWO convention in September I picked up directions for both the knit and crochet version of the prayer squares. And just this past weekend, prayer squares were a dinner favor at the New England SWO convention.
So what’s a prayer square? It’s a piece of knitted or crocheted cloth, less than 5 or so inches square that can function like a small version of prayer shawl — made in prayer, with prayer, for prayer (as we say in my congregation’s prayer shawl ministry). Placed in a pocket or backpack or purse, the prayer square serves as a reminder: a reminder to pause and prayer and also a reminder that someone has already prayed for you.
The second idea surfaced for me through a question received by email last week. Once I asked about it on Facebook, it became clear that lots of women are already working on it. The it? Reusable feminine hygiene kits. Days for Girls is the organization behind this effort to empower girls and women through quality sustainable menstrual management. Both the Minneapolis Area SWO and the Southeastern SWO offered workshops in making the reusable feminine hygiene kits, and many congregations and individuals are making the kits too. Find details about the kits on the Days for Girls website.
Jackie Chattopadhyay, vice president of the Minneapolis Area SWO, shared this advice in our Facebook discussion. “For those of you talking about doing this for your convention — we just ‘happened’ to connect with a Rotarian woman who is really into this project. She has a die-cutter for cutting out the liners. She brought in a bundle of already cut liners and we sat up sewing machines. Those machines went non-stop. My advice is to check in your area to see who else is doing this and connect with them.”
So, there you have two new ideas: prayer squares and reusable feminine hygiene kits. What new idea did you encounter this fall? All who read this blog want to know!
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director. Download the directions for prayer squares here.