Fr. Bryan blessing the shawls.jpg

Contributed photo -- The Rev. Bryan Owen, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, blesses prayer shawls created as part of the Fleece for the Police program, which provides the shawls to officers who distribute them to those in need.

Members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s Prayer Shawl ministry recently delivered the first set of handmade fleece shawls to members of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

As part of the Fleece for the Police program, officers will carry the shawls in their vehicle trunks and distribute to anyone in need.

According to church member Becky Williams, the ministry is part of a larger effort that was started in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary, and it grew from there.

The shawls take time to complete, and the idea, Williams said, is to give someone sick or suffering a physical symbol of faith, comfort and the community support that comes with a church family.

Williams said the shawls are blessed at a special ceremony before they are distributed.

The Fleece for the Police program expanded the shawl ministry.

Each shawl includes a label noting its origin, she said, but other than that, there is no advertisement to speak of. The women only seek to pass along a blessing and the knowledge that they care.

Fleece for the Police’s first round of shawls were blessed May 29 at St. Luke’s 10:30 a.m. service.

The group is meeting again on July 21 to craft more shawls.

For more information on St. Luke or its ministries, visit the church’s website at www.stlukesbr.org.