Knitted crosses for Easter - in abundance!
Updated: Mar 18
Generous God – the story of how hundreds of knitted holding crosses came to be made to bless older residents in Morpeth, Northumbria, told by Lead Chaplain for the Morpeth Anna Chaplaincy Team, the Revd Jeremy Cooper.
During the past few months, our Anna Chaplaincy team has found it difficult to maintain contact with the residents of care homes and those living in sheltered accommodation. During a national Anna Chaplaincy Zoom meeting, one of the Anna Chaplains, Babs Lowes who ministers in Barrow, Cumbria told us of a campaign to knit holding crosses for all those in Barrow care homes, assisted living and sheltered accommodation.
Our team in Morpeth thought we might be able to involve the knitters of Morpeth in knitting some crosses for our elderly residents. The Holy Spirit challenged me to ask God to be generous and to pray that we would have enough to give one to each resident of Renwick House, Northlands, St Christopher’s, Hepscott Care Centre, Foxton Court, East Riding, Riverside, Silvas Court and William Turner Court, with some leftover for the housebound whom the churches were in contact with. This would have been a total of about 200 knitted crosses.
Members of all the churches contacted me for the pattern and in the past few days I have been inundated with beautiful hand-knitted crosses. Yes, God has been generous. It soon became abundantly clear that God had been faithful and we did have some spares, which we would not only be able to give to a wide variety of housebound and isolated people with whom the churches in the town are in contact, but that also we would be able to give some to the Northumbria Health Care Trust Chaplaincy team.
God has been so generous. It reminded me of the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes and the jar of flour and the jug of oil of the widow, which God kept replenishing for her herself, her family and Elijah. We asked for 200 crosses, but our faithful God has enabled us to deliver approximately 400. He has provided abundantly through the kindness of our knitters sufficient crosses to include those we had hoped to give them to and many more besides. A huge ‘Thank You’ to all who have been involved in knitting and distributing.
Each cross had a label attached which read:
May the hope of Jesus Christ be with you at Easter and always. Love from the churches in Morpeth.
There was a sheet, too, which explained how to use the holding cross:
Your Holding Cross has been knitted for you by members of the churches in Morpeth. Hold the cross in the palm of your hand and wrap your fingers around it. You can use it as an aid to prayer. Here are some suggestions: – Use your sense of touch and express your love of Christ and your need for him. – Try saying a familiar prayer, such as the Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23 or saying the name of Jesus while holding the cross. – No words are needed, simply hold your cross silently during quiet meditation is a prayer. – Offering a hymn or song of praise while holding your cross is also an act of prayer. – It can be helpful to hold your cross when making an act of penitence. – Many just fall asleep at the end of the day with their holding cross in their hand.
In addition, the Anna Chaplaincy team has put together an Easter service on CD that is going to the residents of care homes, assisted living and sheltered accommodation and some people who are housebound. Collingwood School generously offered to burn the service on to CDs. Many of the residents fail to engage with online resources like YouTube and Facebook, but the team thought that most would have access to a CD player. We plan to have the CDs and knitted crosses to people in time for Easter.
The team and some volunteers are also making palm crosses to go to the elderly in time for Palm Sunday.
We are looking forward to, and praying, that we will soon be able to visit our friends again.
Revd Jeremy Cooper, Lead Chaplain for the Morpeth Anna Chaplaincy team