Women of Hope Cancer Prayer Group
Pattie Noel gave the following information on the breast cancer support ministry she started at her church:
What made you start a cancer ministry?
During my breast cancer treatment and recovery I felt the need for Christian support for survivors, by survivors.
When did you start?
What is your vision for it?
It has always been about prayer and hope. There is other social and medical support out there, but I've always felt that prayer for each other was the need. Our vision can be stated through Romans 12:10a, 12 "Devoted to one another in Christian love; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer."
How do you receive cancer patients to minister to … do people refer to you or how do folks find out about you?
I am associated with a breast cancer support organization called Pink Ribbon Girls, and they put our meetings on their calendar and in their newsletter. Our church, New Hope Community Church in Cincinnati, publicizes it in their bulletin and in Sunday's announcements. We print postcards which are left at local oncology offices, churches and given individually. We also create awareness through word of mouth by our members and church members.
How many volunteers work with you … what kind of training process do you use?
Since most of our ministry is monthly prayer meetings, there is no need for many volunteers. I usually lead the prayer meetings; then if any of our members are having surgery or have a need for other assistance, we facilitate, providing through our members who are able to help out. The training we've received mainly has been through the Our Journey of Hope program, as well as books and online. Otherwise it’s our training by fire through shared experience.
How many cancer patients have you been able to help, approximately?
What do you hear from cancer patients as their greatest needs in the way of support?
The greatest needs are social and personal like food; housecleaning while going through treatment; patient advocacy in knowing what to ask their doctors and understanding their diagnosis and treatment options; spiritual and peer support during and ongoing after treatment.
What are some of the things you think you do really well?
Our prayer meetings and prayer support throughout the month, sending cards to members, and serving each other with food when needed.
What are some things you still hope to do with the ministry?
I would love to see the group grow to meeting more than once a month and for caregivers to also have a prayer support group possibly meeting at the same time we do. I would love for other churches to offer groups as well. I feel the more we can spread Christian spiritual cancer support the better. So possibly having larger spiritually minded cancer support events with other groups in the vicinity would be great.
What are some of the difficulties you’ve faced?
One of those difficulties is keeping members interested in continuing with the group and getting word out about the meetings. Another is that I think some are hesitant in coming, because it’s not at their church.