Sock monkeys like this one from Christ United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas, comfort children.
provide healing comfortSoft sock monkeys have spread Jesus’ love from Christ United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas (www.cumcsl.org), to children in 16 states. Creative leadership and hundreds of volunteers reach out through the colorful toys.
Many children who receive the sock monkeys come from homes where they were abused, said Ingred Lathrop, director of children’s ministry at the church. The stuffed animals “give them something to cling to and hold while adjusting to a new living situation.”
The ministry began in January 2005
as a mission outreach project for first and second grade Sunday school students. The teacher, Beth VanSickle, wanted to continue serving God in spite of having breast cancer. She has been able to direct the ministry from home with help from her family and friends.
“The growth of the program has been explosive,” said Lathrop. By October, it had expanded to include 36 adult church members, more than 500 students from a local elementary school, several college students and members of other churches. They made 1,200 sock monkeys and sent them to facilities for children, said Joan McGee, a leader of the ministry.
“People who might not be able to come to the church can do this at home,” McGee said. Children who help make the monkeys are learning about serving others who are less fortunate.
Several other churches in Texas as well as organizations outside the state have contacted Christ Church about starting sock monkey ministries. Three more public schools are making plans to be involved.
For more information about the sock monkey ministry, call the church at (281) 980-6888.
Comfy Care Quilts share love
Shirley Hickman (left) gives a Comfy Care Quilt to Mary Slagle. "People just stop in their tracks to see my Comfy Care Quilt from Trinity, I just love it,” she says.
Members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Chillicothe, Ohio, have used more than 100 Comfy Care Quilts over the past two years to spread love around the corner and across the ocean.
A Comfy Care Quilt is a piece of fleece that has hands and hearts appliquéd on it. The word “Trinity” and the recipient’s name are stitched on the hearts. Church members trace the outline of their hands to serve as patterns for the fabric hands.
The ministry began as an outreach of the Trinity Care Team, which delivers the quilts to homebound members, senior citizens in care facilities, members who are grieving and others who have serious medical issues. It has expanded to reach hospitalized children in several other states and family members serving in the military.
“A quilt offers physical, emotional and spiritual comfort,” said Kay Wallace and Pat Coleman, members of the ministry team. “The comfort can come in the making of the quilt, or in the giving of it or in the receiving of it. The Comfy Care Quilts seem to speak to the individual needs of those in need of comfort. The healing message is that God will send you comfort in your time of need.”
Quilts provide security to foster children
Members of Pleasant Retreat United Methodist Church in Thorndale, Texas, use their sewing skills to help warm the bodies and hearts of foster children.
The Pleasant Retreat LAMBS (Love And Ministry Builds Servants) meet at the church throughout the year to make quilts for the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco.
“Knowing that children who are separated from their families will have a security quilt to take to their new home makes sewing them a labor of love," said Dee Kress, a member of the group.
Angel Circle in North Dakota helps patients
The “angels” at Milnor (N.D.) United Methodist Church make security bears, turbans and pillowcases for hospital patients and others.
The Angel Circle began several years ago when a member read about another group that made head coverings for cancer patients. The women meet once a month to work on a variety of projects including scarves, hygiene kits and activity book bags for children.
“We feel there is a real need to reach out to others and to help those who need comfort and support wherever that may be,” said Eileen Lotzer of Milnor Church.
Pillow Pals comfort children
The Helping Hands from Lakewood Park United Methodist Church in Ft. Pierce, Fla., have made more than 100 “Pillow Pals” for children staying with their mothers in shelters for abused women.
The women also have made hundreds of teddy bears, dolls, afghans and quilts for ill and disabled children who attend the Boggy Creek camp. Each child is given a teddy bear or Humpty-Dumpty doll and an afghan or quilt to take home.
Prayer shawl ministry blossoms in West Virginia
Bethesda United Methodist Church in Ona, W. Va., is reaching out with a new prayer shawl ministry.
In the spring, church leaders provided members with shawl patterns to knit or crochet. Since then, 12 members have made more than 180 shawls. Two members created cards explaining the ministry with space for personal notes to recipients. After shawls are completed, members pray over them at the altar. Several members deliver shawls, donate yarn or keep track of shawls and recipients in a scrapbook.
Shawls have been given to soldiers, people who are moving or making long trips, guests with health issues and a young woman starting service in the Peace Corps.
Bethesda Church is among many churches that have modeled prayer shawl ministries after one outlined at www.shawlministry.com. “We invite you to begin a shawl ministry to bring you closer to God, provide comfort to those in need and afford you another opportunity to witness,” wrote Barbara Windon of Bethesda Church. For more information, see www.bethesdamethodist.org