Keene Church Members and University Students Knit Together

April 10, 2024

KEENE, TEX. – Established in 2008 by Mary Ortiz, Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church member, “Loops of Love,” is a prayer shawl ministry of the Keene church. It became a place of fellowship and prayer until COVID-19 necessitated the participants knit from home. However, the prayers and knitting continued undeterred.

When it was time to reconvene in the fall of 2022, Southwestern Adventist University President Ana Patterson invited Ortiz’s praying knitters to meet on Wednesday afternoons at the campus’s Hopps Museum. “One of the reasons we chose to reopen at Hopps Museum is it’s on the university campus,” Ortiz reports. “We’re excited several young adults have already expressed interest in joining us at our more student-accessible location.” The university students have responded positively. In addition, a couple of young people from the Keene church have joined the group, and one student from Chisholm Trail Academy is a prayer partner.

Over the past 15 years, the group has gifted 920 prayer shawls to people in 38 states and 18 countries. They have also knitted 156 baby dedication blankets. “There are so many times when someone needs just this type of shawl,” says Ortiz, mentioning that about 60 percent of the prayer shawls were given to people who were not Adventist. “As we knit, we pray over every shawl and blanket and dedicate it to God’s service. We ask God’s blessing on the person where our gift is going, and we pray God will care for them.”

The knitters enjoy their time together—laughing, bonding, and sharing in a confidential atmosphere. ”Whatever is said in our group stays there,” Ortiz says. “I didn’t expect or dream that the group would become a safe place for people to pour out their hearts if they needed to. That’s an extra benefit I didn’t foresee.”

Knitter Laurice Durrant agrees, “Loops of Love has been a gift to a lot of people—including myself. It is such a blessing because it promotes fellowship among us. We can share each other’s experiences. It is encouraging to be there among friends.”

By Kitty Evans