The Rapidian

Interfaith and Interwoven: Knitting for peace, justice and healing

Local church in Grand Rapids launches Interfaith & Interwoven semi-monthly series for second summer to promote fellowship and understanding. The next gathering is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
Interfaith and Interwoven 2015

Interfaith and Interwoven 2015 /Courtesy of Interfaith and Interwoven

Underwriting support from:
Interfaith and Interwoven 2015

Interfaith and Interwoven 2015 /Courtesy of Interfaith and Interwoven

Interfaith and Interwoven 2015

Interfaith and Interwoven 2015 /Courtesy of Interfaith and Interwoven

Returning for a second summer, Interfaith & Interwoven: Knitting for Peace, Justice and Healing is a communitywide ministry open to all faiths, ages and skill-sets providing a space for fellowship, collaboration and creativity! The ministry stems from Kaufman Interfaith Institute’s “Year of Interfaith Service” which launched in 2015 and helped to coordinate several projects around Grand Rapids by bringing together different non-profits, congregations, neighborhoods and collectives around the common goal of serving our city and forging unity (not uniformity).

Interfaith & Interwoven is hosted by the members of Central Reformed Church and meets semi-monthly on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. New or novice knitters have the opportunity to be paired with experienced knitters to help teach the skill. Simple and advanced patterns are provided as well as introductory questions encouraging interfaith dialogue.

“Not only did Interfaith & Interwoven support the Kaufman Interfaith Institute's interfaith service initiative, but I was personally really excited for the idea as well. Practices and crafts like knitting have a way of tearing down barriers between people, making it easier to get to know one another authentically. Promoting intentional dialogue while we do this activity is a great way of getting to know our neighbors we might otherwise not share experiences with," said Katie Gordon, the program director at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute, program host at WYCE Catalyst Radio and a new knitter.

Projects that are completed over the summer are donated locally and globally to the following organizations:

·      West Michigan Refugee Education & Cultural Center serving Kent and Ottawa County and receiving winter wear for children

·      Gilda’s Club and Knit Michigan serving cancer patients and families and receiving chemo caps, knitted knockers/prosthetics

·      Warm Up America partnering with local hospitals and American Red Cross serving homeless shelters, women’s shelters, veterans’ homes, senior centers, hospices and other organizations and receiving afghans, mittens, scarves and gloves

·      World Vision serving high poverty regions of the U.S. and worldwide and receiving beanie caps, blankets, etc.

Diane Baum, an experienced knitter from Congregation Ahavas Israel said, “Interfaith & Interwoven is a great interfaith project, useful for charities who receive our knitting projects, helpful in that the "newbies" gain a skill, and informative in that we chat with our fellow participants from other religions, responding to questions designed to stimulate our interfaith dialogue. I like it especially because it is cooperative and makes use of a craft that is traditionally woman's (though we did have wonderful men who came too). It is not a "passive" experience where people are served food, nor is it a meeting where the more aggressive all too often drown out the less aggressive speakers, nor a lecture where we all listen to a speaker. Sitting around a table, helping each other, everyone can engage.”

Interfaith & Interwoven is a ministry particularly geared towards communities who may already knit prayer shawls or come together for craft days. The initiative came together as an opportunity to allow people of all different abilities and ages to come together to engage in an evening of intentionality, productivity and companionship. Interfaith & Interwoven is always open to partnerships and local sponsorships to receive donations for yarn, supplies, coffee, etc. Please consider joining us this summer and bring a friend.

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