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Madison United Methodist Church has opened a Prayer Walk, an outdoor guided display with 11 stations. Anyone is welcome to visit the walk. CONTRIBUTED

Madison UMC opens Prayer Walk for anyone to visit

MADISON – For anyone looking for hope and inspiration during these troubled times, Madison United Methodist Church at 127 Church St. has built a simple, guided prayer walk.

On the lawn east of the sanctuary across Church Street, “The prayer walk has 11 stations with a scripture, a reading and a guided prayer that takes you on a journey from hope to hope,” Senior Pastor Travis Wilson said.

Madison Methodist’s staff had been praying about and visioning a creative way to reach out to the community so people could connect within a socially distanced way. Their plan “was sensitive to individuals’ calendars (as things geared back up) so folks could participate on their own time at any time,” Wilson said.

“We also thought it would be good to have it outside for a little fresh air and not just social distancing. Everyone has been inside way too long,” he said.

Wilson and the staff thought only of church member Jessica Sloan to write messages for the prayer walk. “Jessie jumped at the offer,” Wilson said. Sloan was a leader in Madison UMC’s youth group and currently is a sophomore industrial engineering student at Mississippi State University.

Each of the 11 stations has a theme: “Praise God,” “Trust God,” “Christ Is Savior,” “Repentance,” “Lament,” “Calming the Storm,” “Healing in Us,” “Healing in the World,” “God’s Promises,” “Surrender” and “Give Thanks.”

Sloan wrote the following excerpt for the “God’s Promises” station: “We can always cling to God’s promises. Our Lord is a God who keeps His promises. God is always going to be with us.”

Madison UMC’s staff prays that visitors will feel close to the Lord, especially when people might think He is distant. “Intimacy with God is the height of the human experience,” Wilson said. “We also hope it’s an experience that is calming and therapeutic. This has been an anxious several months.”

“We hope folks know we’re one of many churches in town where they can feel welcome and call their spiritual home. That’s our prayer, hope and vision for all,” Wilson said.

Currently, Madison UMC has a sanctuary service on Sundays at 9 a.m. with social distancing and masks. Children’s ministry will return at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1. “We’re in serious prayer and conversation about returning to our regular worship schedule of 8:30 and 10:45 a.m. after the first of the year, but that has not yet been decided,” he said.

To visit the walk, individuals can park in the east parking lot across from the sanctuary. The first station walk is in front of the sanctuary.

The Prayer Walk will be open to the public until early January 2021.

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