Members of the Stow Community United Church of Christ are knitting prayer shawls for nursing home residents, cancer victims, surgical patients and others in need of comfort. The Prayer Shawl Ministry, which originated on the West Coast, has spread to churches around the country.The Stow Community United Church of Christ chapter gathers on the second Friday of every month at 10 a.m. in the church, located at 1567 Pilgrim Drive, to work on the shawls in the church's lounge.The shawls are made with a simple knit stitch, and participants range from experienced knitters to beginners. Instruction in basic knitting skills is available."Our beautiful shawls are given as donations and are not for sale," said project chairperson Sandy Roeger. "Over the past 14 months, we have made and donated 52 shawls. Each knitter prays individually as we make the shawls, and we send along a prayer for healing with each completed shawl."The shawls are approximately 22 inches by 36 inches, plus fringe, and they can be used as a lap robe as well as a shawl.The group also is making baby shawls."Our shawls are designed to give comfort to persons going through a difficult time in their lives," said Roeger. "We have had wonderful feedback from some of the people who have received a shawl. One told us that when he had to go into the nursing home, the shawl was the first thing he packed."