BY MARIE E. DISBROW

Haines Women’s Christian Fellowship meets each month from October through May. Women from churches of all denominations gather for fellowship, encouragement, and inspiration. All the women of the community are welcome to attend. Each church provides a speaker, music, refreshments, and often a craft demonstration. Every November, a silent auction is held and the proceeds are given to the local Salvation Army for their holiday food baskets. In December and May, instead of “finger food” refreshments, we enjoy delicious potluck luncheons.

Last March, we were honored to have Sister Delia Sizler come from Juneau. She gave a moving message on the Beatitudes at Sacred Heart Parish that was very well received. Sister Dee’s gentle voice and loving demeanor held our attention as she spoke about God’s mercy. After her talk, she answered questions, some of which focused on the religious life. We would love to invite her to speak again, but alas, Sister Dee is returning to her mother house in the fall. She will be greatly missed.

In May, at our meeting in Klukwan, Martha Mackowiak shared her testimony of being rescued from a plane crash into the waters of Lynn Canal. Her faith and courage through her rescue and recovery are inspiring. Her physician wanted her to talk to a psychiatrist thinking that she surely suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome. Martha explained that because of her Christian faith, she knew that whatever happened to her was in God’s hands and that living through her ordeal was clearly a gift. After the consultation, the psychiatrist remarked, “You don’t have post traumatic stress syndrome, you have post traumatic growth syndrome!” Instead of being negatively affected by trauma, it had a positive effect on Martha and she grew stronger from it.

These are just two examples of the wonderful testimonies we hear at our monthly meetings throughout our eight-month Women’s Christian Fellowship season. It is a blessing to be able to share with our sisters in Christ, regardless of church affiliation. The testimonies of the speakers are a vibrant witness to Christ’s love. Through our fellowship, we have discovered that there is more in our faith that unites us than divides us. Our group is for all women, not only Christian women. Our meetings encourage us as believers in Jesus Christ, and they also are a witness to seekers.