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Religion briefs

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Coat closet to open Oct. 23, seeks coats
The St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church’s Neighbor to Neighbor Coat Closet Outreach program will open Tuesday,
Oct. 23. Hours will be from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Donations of warm, gently used adult and children’s coats will be accepted. Vouchers will be needed in order to receive a coat. Make arrangements by calling the church office at 754-9313.

Winter nights program to begin
Although evening temperatures are still mild, Brunswick County StreetReach and local churches are gearing up for the annual winter night shelter program.
Across Brunswick County, congregations are busy rounding up everything from winter coats to volunteers willing to prepare and serve food. This is the second season of the winter nights sheltering program.
“We’re expecting more people this season because of the economy,” said Garry Phelps. “Jobs are being lost, grocery bills are going up and power bills are going up, but wages aren’t. Many in the county do not even have jobs and some are one paycheck away from eviction.”
This year’s overnight shelters will be hosted by eight churches/ministries, including Building Hope Ministries, Generations Church, Shoreline Baptist Church, New Life Christian Fellowship, Breath of Life Ministries, New Ebenezer Faith Ministries, Ocean View United Methodist Church and Sharon United Methodist Church.
“I am definitely expecting our numbers to be up this year, because of so many more people struggling to meet basic household needs, and also the awareness of the program,” said the Rev. Donna Phelps, who coordinates the Interfaith Sheltering Program. “So many people are out of work and it’s gone on for so long. It is hard for many families to sustain. It’s really tough.”
Sheltering sites will open during the coldest months, November through February. The local churches will be open at 5 p.m. for guests to sign in.
The shelter programs, which operate solely on private donations and volunteers, offer dinner, breakfast and a safe place to sleep for the night and showers where available. Brunswick County StreetReach wants to encourage social services, law enforcement, commissioners, churches and other agencies dealing with the homeless issue to send the homeless to the site.
“The program is designed to save all the agencies money, alleviate pain and suffering, but we cannot do it without the churches and county’s participation. It is for the betterment of the entire county,” Donna Phelps said.
“There’s so many people out there who need this hand up,” Garry Phelps added. “We have neighbors living in desperation, hoping for a better day. Just since January, we have already provided services to 118 homeless individuals in Brunswick County. This program is greatly needed.”
For more information, visit www.bcstreetreach.org or call the 842-2711 homeless hotline.

Women’s conference to begin Friday
New Hope Freewill Baptist Church will host its annual Women’s Conference Oct. 19-21. This year’s theme is: “Will You Be Bitter or Better? The Choice is Yours!”
Services will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19. Dr. Patricia Freeman will be the guest speaker. Conference workshops begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. There is a $10 registration fee for this workshop. Lunch will be served immediately following the workshops. Elder Cleo Goodman will be the speaker at the 11 a.m. service Sunday, Oct. 21.
For more information, call 253-4202 or email newhope@atmc.net or contact any member of New Hope Freewill Baptist Church. Ladies, come out to be blessed and to be a blessing.

Fall Festival set for Oct. 20 in Ash
Plan to attend the fall festival at Soldier Bay Baptist Church in Ash from
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 20. There will be fun and food for everyone, including children’s games, horse rides, face painting, an antique car and tractor show, an auction (beginning at noon), yard sale, cakewalk and live music.
There will be a raffle for a handmade quilt and $100 cash; tickets are $1.
Grilled Boston butts will be available for $25 each. Buy tickets in advance from church members. Call 287-5643 in Ash or 575-2080 in the Ocean Isle Beach area.