Paisley youth members lay hands on the sick through prayer blankets (Jan. 20, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Paisley youth members lay hands on the sick through prayer blankets

Jan. 20, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht* 
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0010}

An e-Review Feature

Blankets touch lives as far away as Israel

By J.A. Buchholz**

PAISLEY - The junior youth members at Paisley United Methodist Church can turn an ordinary blanket into an extraordinary work of art with soothing powers that some say can heal the sick.

PAISLEY - Members of Paisley United Methodist Church's junior youth group pose with one of the prayer blankets they make and send to people who are sick. The group began making the blankets less than a year ago and has been inundated with requests. They have sent blankets across the country and globe, as far away as Israel.
Photo by Claire Puertas, Photo #04-0003.

The blanket ministry at the church began less than a year ago when a child at a local elementary school was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

One of the co-directors of the junior youth decided the group would pray for the child, as well send a tangible sign of their love by dipping their hands in vibrant colors of fabric paint and placing them on a blanket. The blanket was then delivered to the child.

That's how the blanket ministry began more than 100 blankets ago. Today, requests come to the church through friends and strangers alike.

The Rev. Nicholas Godun said the blankets have changed lives.

"They started doing it as an expression of love," Godun said. "There was a man in the church who had a severe accident and the [junior youth] members made a blanket for him, and he's back in worship. There was a child in a local school who had an illness, and they laid their hands on the blanket, and they had a miraculous recovery. The blankets have changed many, many lives. I think it's marvelous. God's power is beyond our comprehension."

Claire Puertas, co-director of the junior youth, said the amount of calls and letters the group receives requesting blankets is also beyond comprehension. She said blankets need to be made at each weekly group meeting.

"We sent a blanket to a rabbi in Israel," Puertas said. "It's just unbelievable. It's amazing that what started out just to lift people up, to let them know we were praying for them, has turned into this."

When the local edition of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper heard about the blanket ministry and the stories of physical healing, the church found itself thrust on the front page of a Saturday edition.

While that was thrilling and exciting for the junior youth members, Puertas said she never wanted the group to lose site of the mission of reaching people for Jesus Christ.

"We talk about how important this is, not for us, but for the people who receive the blankets," she said. "We talk about how this just isn't about us, but about God. God's hands are all in this blanket ministry."

That's evident by the anonymous benefactor who supplies all the blankets for the ministry. Prior to that the co-directors had been funding the ministry out of their own pockets.

Stacey Barnhart, co-director of the junior youth, said she knew it would be successful because God is such a large part of the ministry. She said it has been blessed by God.

"When we pray for the people, the prayers from the children are so sincere. To see their expressions is really awesome," Barnhard said.

Godun said the ministry has been as much of a blessing to those who receive the blankets as the children who make them.

"The co-directors do a wonderful job of using it as a teaching ministry for the children," he said. "Children are realizing new purpose in their lives. Word has spread about the ministry, and we just thank God for that. We have a wonderful Lord, a wonderful God."


This article relates to Missions.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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