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Hartselle Enquirer

West End UMC begins prayer shawl ministry

Tucky Carlisle, right, teaches knitting to Kerensa Ford, far left, and Marlene Whiteley members of the UMW at West End UMC. | Clif Knight

The United Methodist Women at West End United Methodist Church in Hartselle has stepped up to the challenge of starting a prayer shawl ministry, thanks to the assistance provided by the Helping Hands Prayer Shawn Ministry at First UMC.

Nine members of the West End UMW met with five members of the Helping Hands knitters in their fellowship hall on July 14. They were told how the First UMC ministry got started and what it is doing now to minister to people who face life-threatening illnesses or emotional upheavals in their lives.

The Rev. Bobby Ray Halbrooks, associate pastor of FUMC, estimated that Happy Hands members have knitted or crocheted 500 prayer shawls during the last five years. They are made in adult, juvenile and baby sizes and have been mailed around the world.

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He pointed out that the practice originated in biblical times and is still practiced in Israel.

“We lay hands on and pray over the shawls we make,” he added, “and the testimonies we’ve received from recipients are proof they are anointed by God.”

“Our UMW wants to incorporate the knitting of prayer shawls as a part of our ministry,” said Karen Clemons. “We feel it will bring our women closer together as well as reaching out to those who are hurting and in need.”

Joining her at the meeting were Kereda Ford, Edna Halbrooks, Serena Pewitt, Faye Draper, Annette Shaffer, Mary Townsend, Mary Travers and Marlene Whiteley.

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