Janis Grace remembers how much it meant to her when she received a prayer quilt eight years ago to help her fight cancer.
So when the Kansas City, Kan. police department lost two officers in the line of duty this year, she thought it would be a good idea to show support for local law enforcement officers by offering them the same gift of a prayer quilt.
“It came to me that we needed to do something for police, they risk their lives every day,” Grace said.
So every Tuesday for four hours, she and seven other ladies gather in the sewing room at Countryside Christian Church in Mission sewing prayer quilts for what eventually is planned to be 13 area law enforcement agencies.
The patches on the 30- x 40-inch quilts are connected by strings, and members of the congregation are encouraged to say a prayer for the person it’s intended and then tie a knot. Twelve strings with 10 knots equals a lot of encouragement for police.
“Our officers work really hard and listening to the media, you’d think we’re not doing a good job and people don’t trust us,” said Merriam Police Chief Mike Daniels.
“So to have people in the community show that they care about officers and what we’re doing, it’s really important to officer as they go out to do their jobs.”
Grace and others from the church delivered their prayer quilt to the Merriam police department earlier this week, and Westwood and Mission police received one too, Grace said.
Each card bears a message: “It is our hope that these small prayers will help protect you as you put your lives at risk for persons in your community every day.”
The plan calls for most if not all of the law enforcement agencies in Johnson and Wyandotte counties, sheriff’s and police, to have one of their own. Each quilt includes a patch with the department’s emblem.
Grace said the prayer quilt project started at Countryside Christian Church in 2011, and many members of the congregation needing extra prayers have benefited. She still likes use the quilt she received when she was battling cancer. She’s now in remission.
“It means so much to me,” she said. “My doctors and nurses tied knots. When I put it on my lap, I can feel their love and prayers.”
Daniels said officers are well aware of the uptick in police being shot and the prayer quilt is a symbol that people are concerned about their well-being.
“They think about it and their families think about it, but recognize it’s a reality they work under,” he said. “When people come and give us something like this, we know they care.”