Michael Hugh Hinnant would love knowing the little prayer box at the end of his church's parking lot is still collecting requests.

The former choir director at Salem United Methodist Church passed away in 2015, but his dream of praying for his community is still alive.

The busy intersection at the corner of Belfast and Salem Church roads was the home church to Hinnant and his wife, Janet, who told the News-Argus in November 2011 that it just might be the oldest Methodist Church in Wayne County, founded in 1786.

Then-Pastor Schaller, the church's first female pastor, had arrived in July 2011.

In a rededication ceremony following the May 20 church service, she shared a bit of the history of the prayer box. She said she remembered well the day Hinnant came rushing into her office to talk about a dream.

He told her that Salem is a "praying church" and as such needed to take that effort to the community.

Schaller bought into the concept. It was presented to the administrative council, approved and plans were made.

A garden was created, with a mailbox later added for the public to drop off anonymous requests. Forms were available and including names was optional, and the mailbox was kept locked to ensure privacy and confidentiality.

The effort didn't initially stop traffic or bowl over the congregation with responses, but that did not deter Hinnant and others behind the effort.

He said at the time that the important thing was, "We want them to know that we're here to help them."

For as long as he was able, Hinnant checked the prayer box every day, said Barbara Hughey, who handles church communications.

In an abbreviated ceremony on Pentecost Sunday, lay leader Jay Webb talked about prayer "as an opportunity to spend time with God and develop a deeper relationship with God."

He said that the power of prayer also provides the power to overcome.

Pastor Liz Hounshell opened the prayer box and pulled out several requests recently left, and led the group in praying for them.

Choir director Lynette Overman led the church members in singing the hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour."

Then the former and current pastors laid hands on the prayer box and rededicated the effort, in memory of Hinnant.

Rachel Hinnant, his aunt, was in attendance representing the family.

"Salem's prayer box waits for church members, friends and strangers, all passersby to stop and leave their request," said Hughey. "Each concern will be prayed for as requested and as guided by the Holy Spirit."