FAITH IN FOCUS: Knitting with Plastic Bags at Jackson's Middlebr - WJTV News Channel 12

FAITH IN FOCUS: Knitting with Plastic Bags at Jackson's Middlebrook Methodist

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Pastor Robert Brown of Middlebrook Methodist Church in Jackson speaks about how his church's members are reaching out to people who've lost everything in this week's "Faith in Focus".

"A lot of times I feel that we don't know who we are until sometimes we have ups and downs," Pastor Brown said.

Everyone knows the story of Rumpelstiltskin - a tale about a little man who can spin straw into gold.

Well there's a similar scheme going on in South Jackson only in this case garbage is being transformed into a place to sleep.

"I mean, it's no different than using yarn," Middlebrook Methodist Church member Robert Pennington said.

The blankets are surprisingly soft, not unlike cotton. But they aren't made of fabric.

"They've made from plastic bags and on the Internet you can get the instruction or the directions," Pennington said.

"They had said just Kroeger's and Wal-Mart's but I use everybody's. Piggly Wiggly has nice white ones with a little red. And McDade's has red and white. And even now the telephone directories are coming out with the yellow bags. If we get enough of those we can add some yellow," Pennington said.

Joined by another blanket maker, Connie Ashley, Pennington said they are both 80-years-young and don't mind sharing that information.

Making the low cost, labor-intensive blankets keeps them active, Ashley said.

"It keeps me out of the refrigerator," Ashley said, getting a laugh from Pennington.

But it's also going to help the people who do not have a roof over their heads or anything to sleep on.

The senior members of the church are not the only people trying to give back and help the homeless. In fact, every other group at Middlebrook - including the children's group - have selected programs to try to help people who are either on the streets or forced out of their homes because of violence.

"I volunteered to cut hair for the homeless and that was a great experience," Pastor Brown said.

"I heard so many wonderful stories. How they got to be homeless. It would blow your mind just to hear how they wound up on the street," Pastor Brown said.

Brown describes the church as open and without demands for members. He calls faith a journey that only an individual can decide to commit to.

"And you might not get there overnight but along the way your experiences and your brokeness and your hardship, pain, your struggle - in each one of those areas we discover and grow and have a relationship that really depends on God in our struggles," Pastor Brown said.

And for Connie and Roberta, they just want to help until people find a way back one their feet.

And they are using only two ingredients: the hope in their hearts and what they're calling plarn.

"P-L-A-R-N. Which is plastic: P-L. And yarn: A-R-N," Pennington said.

The seniors at Middlebrook Methodist say the Clinton YMCA is running a similar program. Members here actually got the idea from another church - a Baptist one - in Jackson.

They say they are hoping to present six full blankets to a food shelf in the next few of months.

And if you'd like to share your church community with the viewers of News Channel 12 contact Jacob Kittilstad at or 601-664-8839.

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