John Hallman, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Minong and co-founder of Pocket of Prayer, offers prayer with a flag distributed along the parade route at the Minong Summer Days parade June 30. Fellow member Kent Carlson, who worships at New Hope Lutheran Church in Minong, rides on the group’s float. (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

The Non-Denominational Minong Area Men’s Group works in multiple ways to serve spiritual needs, in the local community and beyond.

Terry Turek, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, is one of the founders. At the suggestion of a friend, six men from three Minong churches started a weekly prayer group in 2002.

The group receives prayer requests, usually anonymous, via an email the group established, a post office box and a prayer box at the entry of Hensen’s Country Foods in Minong. Needs submitted include health issues, family matters and spiritual needs.

Among the three or four prayer requests received each week there have been notes of gratitude for prayers offered, responses of how they prayers were answered and comments complimenting their efforts and the presence of the prayer box in a public place.

Another founder of the group, also a St. Mary’s member, is John Hallman. He said the group has gotten prayer requests from as far away as Florida and California.

With current participation at around eight men, Hallman said, “we don’t advertise for membership, but we do invite.” As many as 14 men have been a part of the group, which meets in a neutral spot without any direct connection to a specific church.

“Our faith differences remain in the parking lot when we gather to pray to the God we have in common,” Hallman said. Local churches represented include St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Calvary Lutheran and New Hope Lutheran; non-denominational Christians as well as a Russian Orthodox have also taken part.

The men are proud of the interfaith cooperation and understanding the group has helped promote. They also host an annual ecumenical picnic for local Christians to “mingle, communicate and understand.”

Turek shared that some years ago, they started a blind drawing for a “person of the month.” Names are submitted by the men themselves; they are the names of community members who do a lot but get little recognition. Whoever is selected is presented with a gift certificate or other token of appreciation.

One time it was an employee of the local dump; another, it was a very surprised waitress. Turek said they have even honored members of the Link family, even though what the group could offer in acknowledgment was nominal.

For the past 14 years, the group – under the name “Pocket of Prayer” – has entered a float in the annual Minong Summer Days parade. With God Bless America in large letters, church hymns playing from a speaker and the Ten Commandments visible, men from the group wear star-spangled vests and hand out flags with an attached card. The card states their group’s mission of prayer and gives information of where to mail prayer requests.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 flags with an offer of prayer are distributed along the route.
Another recent addition to their outreach is called JELLO. An information card is attached to a packet of gelatin with an invitation to pray for JELLO, as an acronym for justice, equality, liberty, law and opportunity. These packets are made available for interested groups to distribute.

The men’s group may be contacted at or P.O. Box 99, Minong, WI 54859.