A prayer tree grows

 

Youth create way to pray for one another

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson | Presbyterians Today

The Rev. Joe Clifford, pastor of Myers Park Presbyterian Church, hangs prayers on the prayer tree that the youth created. Courtesy of Myers Park Presbyterian Church

At the end of March, when schools, businesses and churches began closing their doors to curb the spread of COVID-19, the youth of Myers Park Presbyterian Church came up with an idea. The Charlotte, North Carolina, teens wanted those in the community to know that they weren’t alone.

“The youth of the church wanted a way to represent our collective faith, grief and need for God and each other,” said the Rev. Michelle Thomas-Bush, associate pastor for youth and their families. And since the youth had experienced the power of prayer in spirituality centers created within the church’s walls, they had several creative ideas for outside the church.

Among them was creating a prayer tree by the church’s front entrance. Using colored strips of fabric — each color signifying either family, church, the world, etc. — and markers, prayers were written down and then tied to string hung over the tree’s limbs. The string was anchored into the ground with garden stakes. The result was a beautiful fluttering of prayers that blew in the wind, attracting the attention of those passing by who, while mindful of social distancing, found themselves in need of fresh air and exercise. The Rev. Joe Clifford, pastor of Myers Park Presbyterian, advertised the prayer tree through social media, inviting members to add their prayers.

While the prayer tree was a way to connect with others during a time of sheltering in place, the idea of offering prayers for the community in creative ways will continue in the future.

Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today.

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