Community Church offers prayer chain

A single candle stands lit in the Community Church at Tellico Village sanctuary. The Rev. Jennifer Brown, church associate pastor, said the candle serves as a reminder to the presence of God through the Holy Spirit and grounds members in prayer.

The Community Church at Tellico Village keeps members connected and protected in prayer confidentially through the prayer chain ministry.

Led by Jan Elliott, the ministry is a “behind-the-scenes” effort, the Rev. Jennifer Brown, associate pastor, said.

There are about 50 volunteers in the prayer chain who receive and pray over church requests on their own time, Elliott said.

“It works like this, either directly to me because they have that information on the church website and on our Sunday bulletin then they can contact me directly, or they contact the church office, and the secretary will email me requests to me,” Elliott said. “The request, first of all, must have the person’s permission that they be prayed for. In other words, you can’t just meet someone and say, ‘I’m going to put you on the prayer chain,’ without asking their permission. That comes to me, and I put out the request via email to those people who are the prayers.”

Prayer requests can be as simple as a name or a couple sentences of description. Elliott said requests rarely contain detail.

One of the most attractive aspects of the prayer chain is the confidentiality between volunteers and the requester.

“They don’t meet people in church or wherever and have them ask questions about the situation, whether it’s an illness or loss of someone or whatever it is,” Elliott said. “They don’t have to make any further explanations in person is what I’m saying. It’s private. A person will stay on the prayer chain for the rest of the month in which the request was made and then the following month. Then, if I have received no updates about continued need, then the name comes off the list.”

Elliott estimates the prayer chain has been in operation for nearly 20 years, with some participating since its conception. Some have even moved out of the Village but requested to remain on the list, she said.

At the end of each month, Elliott creates an end-of-the-month review. Typically, there are 15-20 people asking for prayer each month.

Participants never meet in person, and all business is conducted through email. Most volunteers don’t even know their peers.

Patty Pridemore, volunteer, has lived in Tellico Village for 23 years and been a part of the ministry for at least 10. When she joined the list of participants, she was the church secretary and knew about the requests coming through her to the chain. She was moved by the effort and decided to help.

“It’s just a way to feel connected to the people who really are asking for help, and I know I can’t give the help, but I know I can pass it on to our maker who can,” Pridemore said. “It just makes me feel connected, and it’s the one thing I can do to help these people.”

Muriel Fawcett, volunteer, said she’s prayed for others through the ministry for at least 10 years.

“There are a lot of needs out there, and some of them are really great needs, especially health issues, and I feel there’s just a great power in prayer, and that’s why I do it,” Fawcett said. “I just feel that it’s very important. Mother Teresa once said, ‘Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.’ And I think if everyone could do small things, it would really add up.”