NEWFIELD – Theirs is an interfaith, nondenominational Outreach Ministry with lovingly handcrafted blankets sent not only across the U.S. but to Africa as well. They call themselves the Newfield Blanket Ministry Ladies, of Newfield United Methodist Church, having blossomed into a group of 10 dedicated women whose main purpose is to have their treasured blankets be a gift of love and prayers to others.
Charlene Myers, Newfield UMC choir and church member, began the prayer blanket ministry with three other women who all loved the concept.
“It all started because my sister had this ministry in her church. I had her come to our senior luncheon and show us how it was done and why they make the blankets,” she said. “I then did some research as well and found it is an interfaith global outreach ministry as well as a non-denominational organization. The blankets are made and offered in many different churches. We have been doing ours since 2014.”
To date, the Newfield ladies have created 296 blankets, giving out all but six. Myers called the blankets “a statement of faith in God and His power to heal, comfort and strengthen each person in need, no matter what the need may be.”
The group meets every Thursday morning for almost two hours, trying to make three to four blankets each week. All blankets are done by hand as the rules state that one cannot use a sewing machine.
“It must be done by hand, with love,” said Myers, who does all the measuring and cutting which consists of two 60 x 45 pieces of material.
“One must be a pattern and the other a solid,” she stated. “In the middle we put the batting. I then give the material to Opal so she can press it, then Diane, Ruth, Joan and I put them together. We then pin them all the way around the outside. The final touches to make the blanket complete are pieces of yarn spaced appropriately throughout.”
According to Myers, the blanket is now ready to be passed to all attending church. They tie a knot in the yarn while praying for the specific recipient. There are knots left untied for the recipient’s family, doctor, nurse or others to also tie and pray.
“The blankets are requested by people in our church and even people we meet when we are delivering them to the person in need. We don’t turn anyone down who is in need of our blankets,” Myers added.
Materials are purchased through donations from members and friends of the church and are solely funded by generous congregants, people who have received blankets and their families.
“We are humbled by the letters and the cards we received as to what these blankets mean to people. It fills my heart with such joy every time I read them. It is such a rewarding experience,” Myers said.
The group also makes smaller blankets for the residents of United Methodist Communities at Pitman as well as 12 x 12 blankets that they donate to the Gloucester County Animal Shelter to line the bottom of the animals’ cages.
Myers added that the Newfield Blanket Ministry Ladies are always looking for new members who have a passion for helping others.
“It is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done,” she said. “We are truly humbled by what these blankets represent to people. Some get well while others go home to God in Heaven wrapped in the prayer blankets from our church.”
For more information about the Newfield United Methodist Church’s blanket ministry contact Charlene Myers at 856-457-7720 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.