There is an ancient story from the Christian scriptures about Jesus of Nazareth healing those who came to him one day by the Sea of Galilee. According to the story, after the healing took place, Jesus divided a few loaves of bread and a few fish to feed thousands of people who were gathered there.
The Needles and Pins Craft Group at The Church of the Palms in Sun City divides loaves and fishes of a different kind. The work of a few creative hands knit, crochet, sew and craft a variety of care items to donate to those in need. At a recent weekly crafting session, member Bobbie Chapman reported, “Whatever is needed, we make it.”
The crafters’ recent project is making prayer shawls for Doing Grief Community Healing Project, housed at The Church of the Palms’ Interfaith Chapel for Healing. The Healing Project provides grief education and support, arts programs and spiritual enrichment opportunities for those experiencing loss due to death, broken relationships, illness, injury, aging or any life change that causes grief. The crafters prayerfully knit or crochet each donated shawl for the one who will receive it as a gift of healing support.
Past donations by Needles and Pins include handcrafted soap bags, hats, baby blankets, clothes bags, backpacks and more for such care programs as The Church of the Palms’ “Showers and More” ministry to aid those who struggle with homelessness, HART Pantry (Helping At-Risk Teens), domestic abuse shelters for women and children, veterans associations and Dysart Unified School District, to name some.
In a recent interview, the crafters spun together a favorite story of their healing impact when they helped a Sun City resident who suffers from a degenerative motor skills condition. Group member Bonnie Green explained, “The woman could not hold onto a bar of soap when she took a shower. A friend would go to the woman’s home every few days to pick up the bars of soap she dropped.” Eventually, the woman was given a signature item from Needles and Pins’ inventory: a soap bag that ties onto a person’s wrist so that the soap bar does not fall. “When her friend gave it to her, she cried,” Chapman said. “She didn’t know anything like that existed.” Member Margaret Carpenter added, “It changed her life.”
Green has been crafting with Needles and Pins for more than 30 years. Five others make up the core of the group, including Carol Reynolds, Carpenter, Chapman, Leah Huse and Lou Dever. Other crafters donate handcrafted items such as aprons, wooden display items, jewelry and polished heart stones for the group to sell.
The crafters explained that their crafting ministry is as healing for them as it is for others, giving them a support group and a needed sense of purpose. Huse smiled as she told of the way she cuddles each quilt she makes for the babies at a domestic abuse shelter–to infuse each gift with her love before donating it. “I hope they enjoy using it as much as I enjoyed making it,” she said.
“When you’re down or upset about something, stop and think about what you can do to help someone else. There’s always someone worse off than you,” Dever asserted, and Carpenter agreed, “It’s helped my life. Absolutely. Because what do I have? I have time. So, I’m utilizing my time to bring comfort to other people. That’s what we do.”
To learn more about Needles and Pins Craft Group or Doing Grief Community Healing Project, call The Church of the Palms office at 623-977-8359, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thepalms.org.