Beyond the beads: Necklaces for “New Beginnings 29:11”

by Rebecca Hannigan


Freshly baked bread and hand-picked beads were passed around the table in the Women’s Center Feb. 12 as students gathered to craft necklaces with deeper meaning than simple decoration.

The story of the necklaces was told by Sally Walker – mother of Elizabeth (C’13) and Robert (C’15) Walker – as part of the fundraising effort for a school which will be built for impoverished children in Huntsville, Alabama. Each bead represents a piece of the story of man’s return to God through Jesus Christ as told in the Bible, just as each necklace is part of the lofty ambitions for the new school.

“New Beginnings 29:11” will open in fall 2013, symbolizing the positive opportunities which will open up to children who would otherwise be unable to receive strong education. “29:11” refers to the passage in the Old Testament, when God told Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Walker trusts that God has such prosperous plans for the at-risk kids who will enter into the school; she also emphasizes God’s plan for all of mankind to choose to return to a joyful life in Him, as symbolized by the complete, unending circle of the necklaces.

Walker’s faith has not always been so strong, but out of the trials came the idea for the school. She has suffered hardship and loss which led her through spiritual crises, including an unfortunate car crash with fatal consequences. However, something good came from it – Kenny Cole, the father of one of the boys who was involved in the car which caused the accident, matured spiritually after the incident, leading him to develop the vision for the new school. He was unable to shake this recurring idea, resulting in the extensive efforts to make this dream a reality, efforts which have paid off so far.

Walker and her team demonstrate contagious joy and hope which come from their faith in God, even when facing adversity. Smiles and laughter were passed around the room alongside the different beads; their passion will soon spread to children in need in Alabama. For more information about how to help support “New Beginnings 29:11,” contact Sally Walker by e-mailing