Especially for YouHere is the little homily I presented about all of you during our worship service on December 5:
God moved powerfully in, through, and on behalf of, the Crafty Angels in 2010. Daily "hits" on our blog grew; subscriptions to our new monthly electronic newsletter grew significantly; Angels in other states started local Crafty Angel gatherings -- and even began distributing yarny goodness in their own communities; an article about the Angels was published in "In Spirit" magazine - Women Ministries' magazine; we played an important role in Triennial; and there were "chance" encounters at knitting conventions and gatherings, even the checkout line at Jewel - all these were ways God brought new Angels to us. Additional knitting and crocheting groups joined us - as did many more individual women - and our numbers are growing on what almost seems to be a weekly basis. These women have created more yarny goodness than ever before - 45 giant bins - and boxes keep arriving from new places -- all of which allowed us to reach out to new groups serving people in need. Resources and funds came when needed - as did "super sales" and discount coupons whenever we needed yarn, those little bottles of body wash and lotion, or office supplies. It truly was amazing to watch the miracles that God is working as we move ever closer to our tenth birthday, which will happen on June 1, 2011!
The Crafty Angels were able to significantly support a wide variety of organizations locally and globally, including:
Afghans for Afghans-an international effort to collect warm things for children and mothers in war-torn Afghanistan
Christmas at Sea Project-an outreach of the Episcopal Church to men and women working on ships on the world's oceans and rivers
Cornerstone Community Outreach Ministries- Jesus People USA's outreach programs to the homeless and poor on Chicago's north side
Edgebrook Covenant Church-prayer shawls, afghans, baby blankets
Halos of Hope-providing soft caps to patients going through, and recovering from, chemotherapy across the United States
Mother Bear Project-providing handmade toy bears to children whose parents died from AIDS in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
North Park Friendship Center-serving needy families on the northwest side of Chicago
Parenting ProGRESS-Ravenswood Covenant's ministry serving teen mothers and their children on the northwest side of Chicago
Red Scarf Project- Orphan Foundation of America's outreach to former foster kids now in college and training programs across the United States
Swedish Covenant Hospital-the maternity ward serving very low-income and immigrant mothers and their newborns
Shawls for Triennial - providing over 100 prayer shawls to be used for worship in the onsite Chapel during the conference in July - and then distributed to visiting missionaries and Triennial speakers
And all that yarny goodness in the chapel will have an impact beginning next week. What you see there is only about 2/3 of the total - we've already shipped out or delivered packages of yarny goodness that will end up in Afghanistan, around the world, across the US, and in Chicago. After our fundraiser today, all the remaining yarny goodness will be delivered to: Cornerstone Community Outreach, North Park Friendship Center, and Swedish Covenant Hospital
Early in the year, I came across a quote by Oswald Chambers, which seemed to epitomize the Crafty Angels as 2010 progressed:
"Some people do a certain thing, and the way in which they do it hallows that thing forever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it."
Using sticks and string to make something warm for people in need is indeed a commonplace thing, but God's touch on the women who use those sticks and strings, and the amount of love they knit or crochet into those warm things, does indeed transform the doer, the process, the result, and the result's impact on the recipient. I call the results "love gifts" and believe me, I have heard story after story this year from the agencies receiving the Angels' love gifts regarding the tremendous impact the Angels have had on people's lives. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for 2011!
Please join me now in prayer now for each of these loving women - we have so many names now that I would ask that you take some time today to read through the list of those precious names in your bulletin:
Father God, we are so very, very thankful for each and every one of these loving women, your dear daughters, dedicated to caring for the "least of these." All are committed to showing Your children Your love, using what they know best - sticks and string. Their gifts are humble and small in the grand scheme of things, but we ask that You take them and use them. Only You know where they will go - but the Angels trust that You have a plan for each item they made, because You led them to make it.
Please keep their fingers nimble, their sticks strong, their string tangle-free, and their hearts continually open to Your leading to care for those they will never even meet - so that You can use a hat, a scarf, a blanket, or a bear to bring someone closer to You. We ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen.
And here are the names of all the individual Angels, groups, and donors which were included in our worship bulletin, mentioned above:
Hand, Anna Marie
Seymour, Joan and
Tedrow, Pam and Sydney
Caring Hearts Charity Crafters
Fourth Presbyterian Church Knitting Group
Happy Charity Klickers
Holy Trinity Church Crafty Angels
Knit 1, Purl 2-GloriaDei Lutheran Church
Loops of Love
Padiea School, Atlanta, GA
Schaumburg Twp. District Library, Teen Services
The Armitage Army @ Richard Armitage Central
Doucette, Mary and Michael
Gartner, Katherine and Jack
Gartner, Marianne and Jack Bonke
Nelson, Jerome and Joanne
Schmalz, Frank and Michelle
God bless each and every one of you!