Wrapped in Love

Jackie Brence   -  

If you’ve ever witnessed a baptism at Ebenezer, you’ve already seen the ministry of Phoebe Circle in action. At the conclusion of the sacrament, each newly-baptized member of the faith is presented with a beautiful handmade blanket, lovingly knitted or crocheted by this dedicated group.

According to Cheryl Johnson, who led Phoebe Circle for many years, the group’s name is a tribute to her grandmother’s knitting circle, as well as the deacon of the early church mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Throughout its history, Phoebe Circle members have used their creative gifts to wrap others in love during life’s most significant experiences, whether celebratory or challenging.

Their ministry begins with the warm and whimsical hats they create for new babies at Stafford Hospital and continues each spring when they fashion unique blankets for every student in Ebenezer’s confirmation class.

“We try to make sure that everyone gets a blanket in their favorite color,” said Elise Pailthorpe, Phoebe Circle’s current leader. She explained that the blankets become a tangible reminder of confirmation for the students. “They can have it on their bed where they can see it. They can wrap themselves in it. It confirms their faith,” she said.

Phoebe Circle artisans also provide warmth and reassurance during difficult times. They make prayer shawls and lap blankets of all sizes and colors for patients at Stafford Hospital, residents at the Marian Manor assisted living center, and veterans at the McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond.

“We want people who receive them to be blessed and to feel loved,” Elise said, recalling how much her own mother appreciated having a prayer shawl. “Getting a blanket is special.”

The group participates in special projects throughout the year including Project Linus, which provides blankets to children in need. They have also assisted local girl scout troops with creative Take Action projects to benefit Mary’s Shelter.

After a short summer break, Phoebe Circle will resume meeting in August on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 9:30 AM in Room 215. You can see more of their handiwork on display in the Lobby this Sunday or find more information here.