Prayer Bears Ministry
West Rome United Methodist Church began the Prayer Bear ministry April 2012. The church was looking for ways to minister to the community. Our minister at that time, Gary McWhorter, scheduled a speaker to come to the church to help the congregation ‘think outside the box’. One of the suggestions was to make and give away teddy bears. Realizing that sewing is a skill many of us have, we asked for additional information and received some great ideas from another church with this ministry. We started the ministry with five women and a two-piece teddy bear pattern. Our hope was to make 10 bears a month. We made our needs known to the congregation and were blessed with fabric and stuffing. We took the teddy bear pattern and traced it onto poster board and used that to draw the bear pieces on the fabric. We ordered a label that we sewed into the side of the bear so that anyone who received a bear would know that it came from West Rome. We also added a tag that shares a scripture relating to healing that we attach to the bears’ arms.
One of our members contacted the two hospitals in town and we discovered that the bears were a hit. After a few attempts we also decided to order eyes and noses for the bears rather than trying to embroider noses and sewing on button eyes. In order to involve as many of the congregation as possible we schedule specific days to meet at the church to work on bears. We have people who trace bears, others who bring sewing machines and sew the bears and stuff the ears, others who come to stuff bears and a group who sew up the backs of the bears. We have been blessed with many people who request bears as well as a large number of members who come out to help up make these bears.
We watch sales to buy fiberfill and specialty fabric and continue to be amazed at the fabric we are given. In the last two and a half years we have made Christmas bears, pink cancer bears, bears that are more geared towards men and lots of bears for women and children. When we have a group of Prayer bears ready we hold a dedication on a Sunday during the service so that the members can see the bears and everyone can pray over them before we give the bears away.
We have given bears to the two hospitals in town, Cancer Navigators and try to have a few available for individuals whenever a need arises. We have made and given away over 1000 bears since we began this ministry. We have also shared our Prayer Bear process with other churches thinking about starting such a ministry.
We feel strongly that through this effort we will be able to communicate to members of the Rome community the love that Jesus has to offer each and every individual and that the thought of our prayers on their behalf will be a source of strength and comfort to them.
PLEASE NOTE: Prayer Bears is a local ministry to the Rome, Georgia community; we are unable to ship prayer bears at this time.