PROSPERITY — Zion United Methodist Church in Prosperity has a unique ministry called Zion Yarn Ministry that is designed to help children in need stay warm during the winter months.
Members of the Zion Yarn Ministry meet every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church and crochet.
“We started this in May of 2015. We are a little over a year old. We started with 13 ladies, but one of our members, Sara Shealy, died last year, so we now have 12 members. We still have all of our original members, except Miss Shealy,” said Susan Fellers.
The ministry started after Fellers shared at a bible study about children at local elementary schools needing warm clothing for the winter.
As Toni Taylor tells the story, they wondered if people would be interested in crocheting clothing or learning to crochet to do just that.
“So I said let’s work together and see if we could figure this out. So we planned a meeting, made a flyer and set a start date to see who might be interested,” Taylor said.
After that initial meeting in May 2015 the members decided to meet every week, and if they did not know how to crochet, Fellers would teach them how.
“I had never picked up a needle, no one in my family had ever. My mother, grandmother, they never crocheted. I just thought it would be something interesting to learn how to do,” said Janie Morris.
Not every member of the Zion Yarn Ministry is a member of the Zion United Methodist congregation.
Annette Rish is one of three members who do not belong to the church. She said she just saw Fellers’ advertisement on social media, and thought it would be something she would love to do.
“When we first started planning, one of the things we talked about was how important it was for us to build a community with whomever. We wanted to open it up to the outside of our church. Annette is a member that does not belong to our church, but lives in our community and comes and supports us and is here almost every Tuesday,” Taylor said.
When the Yarn Ministry meets, they always start with a devotion, and the members share their faith while crocheting. As Taylor said, they use their hands to serve in that way.
“It is rewarding when you get into all this. Last year we presented over probably close to 250 to 300 hats and scarves to four of the local elementary schools,” Fellers said.
Those schools were Gallman Elementary, Little Mountain Elementary, Pomaria-Garmany Elementary and Prosperity-Rikard Elementary.
Taylor said that they have a connection to each of those elementary schools, and those connections let them know what the needs of the students are.
The items were delivered last year to each school during Zion’s Mission Sunday, which was the last Sunday in October.
“We had representatives from those four schools come and we presented the items to them. We will probably present to them again this October. It does not really get cold until November or so,” Fellers said.
The items were blessed by church pastor David Taylor before they were sent off with the schools’ representative.
While making items for the schools is the first priority, members have made items for other organizations and groups to give out. One such group was West Virginia coal miners.
“We found out there was a real need there, so we sent some things like hats and scarfs, blankets and ponchos,” Morris said.
The ministry also sent items to the Cancer Center of America in Atlanta for prizes for patients and their families and they recently gave a box of items to Palmetto Health for their oncology patients.
Fellers said her daughter-in-law was a nurse at Newberry Hospital in the New Beginnings and asked if the group could make some small sweaters and hats that could be used for the Angel Babies, or those who are stillborn.
“She wanted something to put on them when she took them to their parents, if they wanted a picture. Frances (Counts) has made several of those, and sent a bag full of items,” Fellers said. “Unfortunately she has had to use two of them, something we hope we do not have to use often.”
In addition to outreach projects, the group will also make items for the upcoming Bazaar at Zion. Any proceeds earned there will go to Zion’s December food pantry.
“Last year we had so many families at the December one, they ran out of food. There were close to 104 families,” Fellers said.
The ministry will also provide items for the December food pantry’s gift shop. Children who come in with their parents will go into the gift shop and pick out a Christmas present.
“This is a classic example from the hands of the few become many or become a lot. It’s just overwhelming the amount of items that were made last year, and the way these ladies are working. It is a good fellowship,” Taylor said.
If you are interested in joining the Zion Yarn Ministry, or making a donation, which can include yarn, you can contact Fellers at 364-4048 or the church at 364-3797.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.