"The Afghan and Shawl Ministry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in
Palm Coast is a beautiful ministry," says The Reverend Dr. W. Frank
Hull IV, the church's recently retired Priest. "I have taken
these shawls into hospitals and put them directly on patients
shoulders. Each patient's eyes light up and fill with tears
when they receive the afghans or shawls." I tell them, "This
blanket is covering you as Christ would and we're praying for you.
This is one aspect our church's popular prayer vigils."
St. Thomas Episcopal Church's Afghan and Shawl Ministry began in
2006 at the helm of congregation member Ms. Anahid Savio. One
of her friends saw this wonderful idea online of creating afghans
and shawls for people who were in need - of warmth, prayers and
blessings. After hearing about this Afghan and Shawl
Ministry, Ms. Savio says, "We all liked the idea very much.
We started out with 20 regular members with six members attending
meetings regularly on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. In
addition, four other parishioners contribute afghans or shawls when
needed, and two non-St. Thomas ladies do the same."
What makes this ministry especially meaningful to this
group is that they pray over each of the finished afghans and
shawls and then a priest blesses the afghans and shawls. The
group also has created a customized card that is attached to each
afghan and shawl with the initials of the person who made it
printed on the card. The afghans and shawls are gifted to
those who are ill, lonely, or in need of comfort. Their
favorite Bible verses and prayers are included on the cards and
there is a frog logo on the back of each card, which stands for
"Fully Rely On God."
Since this St. Thomas Episcopal Church group of ladies
began this caring ministry:
- 53 afghans have been donated to Habitat for Humanity. For a
time, during dedication ceremonies, one of our afghans was
presented to each family as they moved into their new home.
- 50 afghans and quilts were sent to the Wounded Warriors
organization when retreats were held at Camp Weed and the Cerveny
Conference Center in 2014 and 2015.
- 16 afghans were recently given to Clyde E. Lassen State
Veterans Nursing Home in St. Augustine.
- 30 afghans were given to Flagler Pines Nursing Home in
- Six afghans were given to The Windsor Nursing Home, Palm
- 13 afghans were given to the Family Life Center in Bunnell.
- Six afghans were given to Florida Cancer Specialists &
Research Institute in Ormond Beach.
- 186 knitted preemie hats and 17 pairs of knitted booties have
been given to babies at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville
with more to come.
- In all, 537 knitted or crocheted prayer afghans and shawls have
been made and approximately 500 have been distributed as of this
The group feels special to be empowered by the church to provide
this service to their community. Now, moving forward into
2017, they plan to concentrate on making larger afghans for cancer
patients to use while they are getting treatment at the Cancer
Center, in the Florida Hospital in Flagler and Palm Coast.
"The rooms are so cold and we want to provide physical and
emotional comfort for these patients. I've been active in our
church for 32 years and I'm going strong, especially for an
89-year-old. The St. Thomas vestry and parishioners are so
friendly and supportive," says program lead Ms. Savio.
Think about this. This Afghan and Shawl Ministry began when one
congregation member saw a need in her community and found an idea
of how to fill this need. This group was further encouraged
by the church to grow this ministry. They're thankful to be
able to provide comfort to people in need.
"This service has been such a blessing to our group as well as
to the people we serve. There are all sorts of ministries yet to be
discovered and offered to our community," shares Ms. Savio.
"The members in our congregation deliberately search for needed
ministries for our surrounding areas. They use our outreach money
for people in need who live in Flagler County. Our congregation
members all have very giving attitudes. These successful notions of
new ministries come from our church members, and they always
respond to people's needs," says The Rev. Dr. Frank Hull. "The
Afghan and Shawl Ministry is quite successful for all