Healing Blankets program celebrates 10 years

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St. James’ Episcopal Church in Pewee Valley is marking the 10th anniversary of its Healing Blanket Ministry and celebrating a milestone, after creating a landmark 1,000 blankets.

The Healing Blanket Ministry was brought to St. James by parishioner Carolyn Heymann, as part of Episcopal Church Women. Heymann was serving as parish nurse when she heard about the program.Excited volunteers gathered fabric from their closets and drawers and got to work. They’ve gathered once a month in the ten years since the program was launched, handcrafting blankets.

“The most rewarding part is seeing how our congregation has embraced this program,” said Heymann. “From cutting fabric, sewing and ironing to having the blankets blessed on the altar and then distributed to people in need – it’s incredibly fulfilling.”

She’s amazed the small group of 20 women working on the blankets over the past decade has had a worldwide impact. Parishioners have distributed blankets to people in need across the country and around the world.

The healing blankets are offered as a source of comfort during difficult times. They’ve been given to people suffering with illness, grief, loss and loneliness. Some have been sent to soldiers overseas and several blankets were sent to Newtown, Conn. after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

Many cards and letters of thanks have been sent to members of the Healing Blanket Ministry over the years. Heymann says it’s very moving to hear of the lives touched and to know the blankets are a comfort to those who receive them.

The 36-inch square blankets are made from a rainbow of colors and fabrics, with a prayer sewn onto each one before they’re neatly ironed, carefully folded and tied with a ribbon. The blankets are placed on the altar and blessed by the Rev. Jim Trimble on the first Sunday of each month and the entire congregation says a prayer for the recipients, before blankets are distributed by parishioners.

Each blanket carries the following prayer:

“This blanket was sewn with love. You know now that you are covered by the prayers and love of the community of St. James’ Episcopal Church. In Jesus’ name we pray that you will be healed.”

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