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University Hospital's new prayer wheel helps aids spiritual healing

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—A foot-high ceramic prayer wheel is now part of University Hospital's Chapel.

The prayer wheel was created by potter Chris Moench of Billingham, Wash., who takes the concept from Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The wheel is decorated with items from nature, such as leaves and sits on a small turntable. People place written prayers into the prayer wheel and then it is gently spun. Each revolution is counted as an uttered prayer.

At University Hospital, the prayer wheel collects prayers from patients, families, employees or anyone else who stops by and pens a concern. In addition to spinning the wheel, the university's Intensive Prayer Circle reads them aloud during weekly prayer services and then distributes them to various congregations in the community.

Since the prayer wheel was placed in the chapel earlier this month, prayer requests have doubled.

"It's a beautiful piece that speaks to all of us through its simplicity," said the university's spiritual care manager, the Rev. Terry Culbertson. "It's touching to know it already has such meaning and purpose to us all."