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Callers from all over find comfort from St. Stephen's prayer line

October 21, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

CASCADE - Each day, a woman in Oklahoma calls Dial A Prayer for comfort. The twist is the prayer she hears is delivered by the Rev. Terry Foor, pastor at St. Stephen's United Church of Christ - her childhood church in this tiny Washington County community.

Foor said he knows this because the woman's mother told him her daughter was calling the new prayer service.

Those daily calls from the Midwest accounted for part of the 124 calls that came in during the first two weeks of the outreach the small church is offering to anyone dialing 301-241-4747, Foor said.

"We heard at our fall festival in September from people who said Terry's voice is very comforting," St. Stephen's member Lisa Glass said as she prepares to try her hand at recording prayers.

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Mary Fahnestock, a member of St. Stephen's for more than 50 years, agreed that it is very soothing to hear the message. "I also have prayer two times a day in my home," she said. "Prayer is very powerful for me."

The church has been publicizing the Dial A Prayer by word of mouth and a bulk mailing that went out to approximately 2,300 residents in Cascade as well as nearby Sabillasville, Md., and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

The prayer recordings and the mailings carry information about the church itself and other programs available to the community.

Another new outreach at the church is a Community Prayer Room located to the rear of the sanctuary at 25445 Highfield Road. The room is open 24 hours a day for anyone wishing to stop in, Foor said.

"It opened in the middle of September, and we really don't have any way of knowing how many people have used it," Foor said.

Inside the prayer room, there is an altar and kneeling bench as well as seating on straight-back chairs and a recliner. The room is carpeted and was painted yellow. A bookcase contains copies of the Bible, bookmarks, magnets and other information.

"We have a prayer board in the room for anyone who wants to write down a person's name who needs prayer," Glass said.

Foor, pastor at St. Stephen's for two years, estimated the active membership at 35 to 40.

"Our arms are open to everyone here at St. Stephen's," Foor said.

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