The following is the Winter update from Rev. Elizabeth Gibbs Zehnder, Presbyterian Staff Chaplain at LAC+USC Medical Center.
All through the year, people in churches across Southern California are knitting, stitching and quilting blankets for the patients at LAC+USC. Many of the blankets are created as a prayer for healing and blessing. The chaplains give these beautiful hand made blankets to patients in need throughout the year. However, once a year, in the week before Christmas, a team of volunteers come to the hospital and give a blanket to every patient who is in the hospital over the holidays. December 20, 2016 over 30 of us teamed up to go to each of the 600+ patients to offer them the gift of a prayerfully made blanket.
One of the volunteers, a high school student, told me that when he explained the gift to one patient, she burst into tears. Through her sobs she explained that she had spent the day in prayer, reviewing her life, and that she had taken the difficult first step and reached out and reconciled with a family member. She told the young volunteer, “You walked in with that blanket, you are the one God has sent to me as a blessing!”
Another volunteer told of a patient whose mother and grandmother had made quilts just like the one she received. Her quilt had been made by a class of first grade boys. The patient exclaimed, “It gives me the comfort of those memories! Thank you!” “It was a privilege to walk into the room, on behalf of the greater community of faith, and offer this simple gift made of prayer and love,” a volunteer told me over lunch. “One of the patients I visited was unable to talk, but he wept as he wrote out his appreciation for the gift.”
Every time I am amazed at how the Holy Spirit knits us together across the distances of geography, language and culture – a knitter prayerfully knitting a blanket and a quilter prayerfully fashioning a quilt, a volunteer face to face offering the blessing, a patient receiving the blanket reminded of God’s care for them.
Rev. Elizabeth Gibbs Zehnder serves as Presbyterian staff chaplain at LAC+USC Medical Center. To find out more about this ministry and how you can be involved, please contact her at: Elizabeth.GibbsZehnder@gmail.com
To learn about the Legacy of Caring ministry, click on the link below.
Legacy of Caring Get Involved List Winter 2017