I had an inspiring time last week at “Love Wraps”, a ministry of West Ashgrove Uniting Church in Brisbane. The congregation had nominated the coordinator of the program, Robyn Carmichael, for a Moderator’s Community Service Medal.
Robyn coordinates more than 25 women who for the last 12 years have knitted rugs for those in need. She has networked throughout the district with other churches and with other disaster relief organisations to distribute about 300 rugs and 100 beanies each year. The goods travel as far away as Ethiopia to Dr Catherine Hamlin’s Fistula Hospital. They are also given as gifts to survivors of domestic violence and people doing it tough.
The group has been a healing and restorative community for many as folk come, knit, share the stories of their lives, engage socially and pass on traditional skills. Academics and social researchers have visited the group to research the way the program has enhanced the lives of the participants.
It’s a bit traditional; the women do the knitting, the men cook the barbecue lunch, but I don’t think anyone would mind if there was some role swapping.
It is the multi-layered benefits of “Love Wraps” that impressed me. Folk who maybe were thinking or had been told in one way or another, “you don’t have much to give anymore” have found a place of community; a place where they can be a blessing while being blessed. And as they seek to be a blessing, others have wanted to join in.
Project Plenty is about helping us to discover how we are called to be a blessing, and I reckon this group is a fantastic example!