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Female bonding ... for a good cause

By MICHELLE JONES
Published April 14, 2007


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NEW PORT RICHEY - Church Women United supports women and children whose voices aren't heard.

"We feel God has put us here to help," said Gina Bolander, president of the West Pasco Unit of Church Women United. "We are Christian women from all over."

The West Pasco group meets seven times a year. The next meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Westminister Presbyterian Church, 4125 U.S. 19 in New Port Richey.

Paul Richards, interim pastor of the church, will talk to the women about the Presbyterian doctrine at the Spring Forum.

The women are asked to take nonperishable food for Farmworkers Self-Help in Dade City. "We support this group with food, clothing and money when we are able," Bolander said. "We also provide Christmas gifts for the children."

One year the children needed shoes, and the women provided them, she said.

Formed in 1941 in Atlantic City, N.J., the movement represents Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women. The biblically based group has 1,200 local and state units working for peace in the United States and Puerto Rico.

It is recognized as a nongovernmental organization by the United Nations.

Part of the mission statement is to become advocates for those who suffer injustice as they work for a more social, economic and political order.

Irene Patterson, who attends First United Methodist in New Port Richey, joined the group to share her Christian faith with other women.

Patterson said she especially enjoys the outreach called the Fellowship of the Least Coin, a ministry that reaches out to people in war-torn countries.

"Each of the women who belong to the fellowship (a group started in 1956 by the Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.) would give their least coin of their country when they prayed for peace and justice."

"We collect the money monthly and send it to (the fellowship) to rebuild schools and help in other areas," Patterson said.

Margery Deluco, who attends King of Kings Lutheran Church in New Port Richey, says the group has helped her.

"It is wonderful realizing that there are women all over the world doing the same things and praying for the same goals," she said.

A friend invited her to join the organization and become the devotional leader.

"It is amazing how much studying can do for you," she said. "The more I teach, the more I learn."

She said she would love to see more young people join the group. "The warhorses are wearing out and reaching the end of our paths," she said.

One of the best meetings took place in November for World Community Day, said Bolander, who attends Presbyterian Church of Seven Springs.

"We sent out invitations to several religions in our community so we could find out about them," she said. "We had a rabbi, a Muslim and an Indian attend."

After the dismissal, people stood around and visited awhile.

"We discovered that everyone is trying to go to the same place, but we are all going a different way," she said.

Fast Facts: If you're interestedAnyone wanting more information about Church Women United can call Ann Marie Kreger, a Roman Catholic and vice president of the local group, at (727) 849-2464 or visit www.churchwomen.org.

[Last modified April 13, 2007, 22:36:54]


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