Bringing comfort through touch...
Updated: Aug 12
Patterns for woollen holding crosses and prayer squares
Susan Ramshaw is Anna Chaplain in Bedlington in Northumberland. She is also a Reader or Licensed Lay Minister (LLM). She writes about the craftwork which has taken off amazingly well in her area:
'A wonderful thing about being part of the Anna Chaplaincy network means that we get access to various newsletters and blogs, with a number of ideas for support with care homes, elderly in the community and more: offering spiritual care in later life.
'Earlier this year, I read an item by Morpeth Anna Chaplaincy team and their great work on knitted or crochet holding crosses for care homes and the community.
'I thought this was a great idea as they outlined how holding crosses can aid in spiritual comfort, prayer as well as enabling a sense of connection to God. However, people with hand problems can find it hard to hold a solid wooden cross, so the woollen crosses provide a softer option.
'So, I decided to take their idea and expand the great work in the Northumberland area by reaching out to those in my current Parish of Bedlington, Sleekburn and Cambois.
I put the idea out to a few people asking for those who can knit or crochet if they would like to make a few for the local care homes and community.'
Well the response has been fantastic! To date the knitting and crochet people have made nearly 200 crosses. A wonderful achievement!
She and her team have expanded into Individual prayer squares which – as they are so tactile – also give comfort through being held. 'Each cross and square has been sanitised, individually bagged with a blessing added,' she said.
'Our vicar, the Revd Ian Hennerby, and I delivered the crosses and squares to some of the care homes as well as to various members of the community in need, with more ready to deliver to other homes.
'We have also made a connection to Cramlington Parish and to St Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle to provide some to them for distribution through the cathedral.
'We are still going strong with them so if it helps others to see what a simple but effective way to offer comfort it will be great. It even helped a lady who was dying as she held one as she passed away, with she and her daughter holding hands with the cross in between.
'Thank you to Morpeth for the idea, and between us we have helped support and spiritually minister to those in our communities and beyond.'
Here are the patterns for anyone else who would like to have a go. Do let us know how you get on!