When Phyllis Osborne’s sister-in-law died from cancer in April, Osborne couldn’t sit back and do nothing.
She has worked as the housekeeper at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church since 1995, and she asked Pastor Jeff Pinkston if the church could do something in connection with Cancer Awareness Month in October.
“We told her absolutely,” Pinkston said.
Osborne’s job at Steele Creek Presbyterian includes setting up tables and spaces for church events. Now she has helped organize a churchwide worship service and reception on Oct. 6 to celebrate cancer survivors, recognize loved ones who have died from cancer and share information about cancer treatment and support.
The Sunday morning service will feature prayers, special music and speakers from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society. The service will focus on how cancer affects people worldwide.
“Cancer is prevalent enough that it’s part of the spectrum of life and death and disease and struggle,” Pinkston said. “There are a lot of spiritual questions that come up associated with this disease.
“Why me? Why my family? Why doesn’t God do something about this terrible disease?”
Osborne said several of her close friends have recently died from cancer recently. Her sister-in-law, who did not have health insurance, died two weeks after her diagnosis.
“She didn’t know where to go, and by the time they diagnosed it the cancer had spread all over her body,” Osborne said. “That really took a toll on me, and it really hurt. I thought, ‘People need to be aware of what cancer can do your body.’”
The reception following the worship service will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, informational materials and experts available to answer questions. Many people, Osborne said, don’t know what to do about cancer and they don’t like to discuss it.
“Maybe this will help people understand that you can still find a way to talk about cancer and there is help out there for you,” she said.
Members of Osborne’s home church, Revival Tabernacle in Stanley, will join Steele Creek Presbyterian for the service. Osborne hopes to “pack the pews” with cancer survivors so the church can celebrate their recovery.
Pinkston plans for the Cancer Awareness Month service to become an annual event at the church.
“It’s worthy to be highlighted in the liturgical and worship life of the church,” he said. “We want it to be special in the sense of remembering the struggle and those who have defeated it, and to remember (dealing with cancer) is a new experience for everybody when they encounter it.”
The community is invited to Steele Creek Presbyterian’s celebration for cancer survivors at 11 a.m. Oct. 6 and the following reception at the church’s Bledsoe Family Life Center, where attendees can tie a knot in a prayer quilt for those with cancer or who have died from the disease.
For more information, visit http://www.steelecreekpres.org or by calling 704-588-1290. The church is at 7407 Steele Creek Road.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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