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Sharing their faith together

Laughter rang out in churches worldwide – including First Presbyterian Church in Ironton – as women gathered to help other women and rejoice in God.

Saturday, November 06, 1999

Laughter rang out in churches worldwide – including First Presbyterian Church in Ironton – as women gathered to help other women and rejoice in God.

Church Women United members and guests celebrated World Community Day at the church Friday as one of their three yearly celebrations, said Sharon Whitehead, co-president.

The service was prepared by four women from southern California, who were chosen because of their ecumenical experience in clown ministry, Mrs. Whitehead added.

"This service was used around the world today, and it invites us to experience God’s love being expressed through laughter and tears, through the joy and pain of our daily living," she said. "It also brings Christian women of various denominations together to learn, worship and share with one another."

The service used the actions of a mime to portray the emotions of the Lord, and how they are similar to those shared by all living beings, Mrs. Whitehead said.

A member of St. Lawrence O’Toole Church, Pat Gethins had never been to one of the CWU events until Friday.

Now, she’s considering joining.

"I thought it was wonderful," Mrs. Gethins said. "It cheered me up. I’m very happy I came."

But the service isn’t the only reason why the attendees enjoyed the meeting, said Linda Fraley, a St. Joseph Catholic Church parishioner.

"I loved it, because we can worship and praise the Lord together and it’s for all denominations," Mrs. Fraley said. "I enjoyed it for one thing, because you can get together with all these women and talk about the Lord and disregard denomination. The one thing we all have in common is the Lord."

And helping others just increases the enjoyment of the ceremony, said Patsy Scisney of the New Jerusalem Christian Center and a CWU member.

"We get a sense of sisterhood, sharing and giving, in this case to the women who are abused and to the shelters and stuff, by attending," Mrs. Scisney said.

Others come for more simple reasons, though.

"I just liked the whole service," said Eileen Jeter of Christ United Methodist Church. "It just mostly meant God’s love to me."

Church Women United meet three times a year for similar services, co-president Wanda Spears said.

The group meets in March and May, as well as for the November service, she said.

As well as supporting the national organization’s efforts to help needy women, the group also accepts donations for the local Helping Hands Haven at each meeting.

This time, the group collected laundry detergent and diapers.