Shaping Post-Christendom Spiritual Practice in the United Church of Canada One Prayer Shawl at a Time
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Piercy, Mary Elizabeth
Piercy, Mary Elizabeth. Shaping Post-Christendom Spiritual Practice in the United Church of Canada One Prayer Shawl at a Time; A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Spiritual Disciplines and Ministry Practices, United Centre for Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Theology) Program, The University of Winnipeg. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: University of Winnipeg, 2021. DOI: 10.36939/ir.202108241453.
Although shawls have been fashioned in one way or another for hundreds of years, this research is focused around the special shawl-making of the relatively new Christian prayer shawl ministry that has developed in North America over the last two decades and, specifically, in the United Church of Canada. This thesis is a qualitative research study of six such prayer shawl ministries within southern Ontario. My interviews with prayer shawl groups for this research has led me to conclude that this ministry is significant in three vital ways: (1) personally, this ministry often mediates a life transition of the crafter and the recipient, (2) theologically, prayer shawls are tacitly understood to be blessing, sacramental, and a spiritual practice, and (3) culturally, this ministry provides a flexible and non-threatening form of outreach in a post-Christian setting.