Greene Memorial Spreads Some Warmth Downtown

Hats and gloves hang along the wrought-iron fence alongside Greene Memorial United Methodist Church at 402 2nd Street SW.

Hats and gloves hang along the wrought-iron fence alongside Greene Memorial United Methodist Church at 402 2nd Street SW.

Just in time for this year’s first cold snap, which can best be described as “brutal,” Greene Memorial United Methodist Church has been adorning the gate out front with caps and gloves that are offered for free for anyone that needs them. According to the church’s pastor, Rev. Gary Robbins, “so far, whatever we put out there has disappeared.” He adds, “And we thought Chicago is the windy city!”

With passersby bundled up, leaning into the wind as they hurried along the sidewalk, some stopped to see what the little bags on the gate contained. The church’s Needlework Guild, headed up by Nancy Healy, “had seen the idea done in Bedford and thought it was a great idea, and wanted to make it available for folks downtown,” according to Robbins. He adds, “The group here gets together on a regular basis to knit – they also have done prayer shawls; they are a good group.”

The Guild had finished about 100 caps in different sizes, which are marked on the bag so people can easily choose what they need. The church still has more to put out, but judging from the rate the hats are being picked up, the ladies will soon be getting started knitting more of them for next winter. Healy says that when she was putting hats out on a frigid evening, she realized how much they may be appreciated and “that really made me feel good about what we’re doing.” She adds, “It doesn’t matter your background, when it’s that cold, if you need a hat, you need a hat!”

Greene Memorial was also one of the churches that participated in last week’s Stained Glass tour – an event which included several downtown churches opening their doors to the public on a Sunday afternoon during the Christmas season. Rev. Robbins said “many of these sanctuaries were constructed during Roanoke’s boon time, and they are just gorgeous. [Some of] the architecture, craftsmanship and workmanship was done by hand.”

Referring to these uniquely beautiful and ornate sanctuaries, Robbins said, “Not many places are set up like this, for peacefulness and quietness and reflection. They really do invite people to be calm and peaceful inside.”

The knitting ministry is another way to give people on the outside a little piece of that peace and warmth coming from the inside.

Need a knitted cap? Stop by Greene Memorial Church, located at 402 Second Street SW. Phone 540-344-6225 or visit for more information.