“I love our community and deeply desire to cover every one of our schools, administrative leaders and children with much need prayer,” she said.
Some of Winchester’s specific concerns are the high pregnancy rate and drug and alcohol abuse among young people, as well as drop-out rates.
Although John and Brona Winchester’s children are now in college, Brona said she still feels a need to pray for other children, teachers and administrators currently within the school system.
Moms in Prayer, formerly Moms in Touch, is an international organization of mothers who come together on the local level to pray for their children and their schools. It started in 1988 with 35 women and now has groups in every state and in more than 130 countries.
Winchester said she heard a message on the radio from the organization’s founder Fern Nichols and was so moved she wanted to be a part of a prayer meeting.
“Other Moms in Prayer groups across the state were praying for our county because of the lack of a local group,” Winchester said.
They started meeting at a church, Life Fellowship Baptist Church or last winter with a few mothers.
“We decided to move our meeting to Main Street to be more accessible to the community. Any mother who feels a burden on her heart for her children, our schools, and our school leadership, is invited to join us,” she said.
Joyce Wilkie, whose 9-year-old daughter attends Grace Christian Academy, said although Bryson City has great schools, they have the same problems as larger school systems.
“Schools can’t do it all. It takes everyone working together to combat some of the problems, like drug abuse, that our children are facing. Children deserve to get a good education without those kind of problems taking away from their education,” Wilkie said. “Our biggest weapon is prayer,” she added.
The Moms in Prayer organization provides sample prayer sheets and scripture, which individual groups can personalize.
The Swain County Moms in Prayer will meet every Friday morning, beginning at 9 a.m., at the community room of Blue Mountain Studios, which the Winchesters own, at 160 Main Street in Bryson City. The prayer sessions are open to any mother who wants to participate and can include mothers of home-schooled children.
“If there is a need or there are requests for an evening meeting or Saturday meeting, we may reschedule or add additional meetings,” Winchester said.
For more information, contact Winchester at 828.736.0857.