CHURCH LADY: Island churches foster fellowship with social, informative gatherings

Stephen Ministers Jerry Gross, Marco Lutheran Church, left, the Rev. Kevin Koenig, Marco Lutheran Church; Byron Ferrell, the United Church and Jack Dukelow, Marco Lutheran Church enjoy a glass of wine at a dinner for Stephen Ministers hosted by St. Markís Episcopal Church. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Stephen Ministers Jerry Gross, Marco Lutheran Church, left, the Rev. Kevin Koenig, Marco Lutheran Church; Byron Ferrell, the United Church and Jack Dukelow, Marco Lutheran Church enjoy a glass of wine at a dinner for Stephen Ministers hosted by St. Markís Episcopal Church. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Cindy Hennings, center, leads the Faith and Wine team in prayer before the evening begins.  Faith and Wine offers women of all faiths a venue to hear inspirational speakers in a casual atmosphere, while sharing a glass of wine, friendship and their own faith. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Cindy Hennings, center, leads the Faith and Wine team in prayer before the evening begins. Faith and Wine offers women of all faiths a venue to hear inspirational speakers in a casual atmosphere, while sharing a glass of wine, friendship and their own faith. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Members of Marco Islandís Clergy Association, the Rev. Dr. Kyle Bennett, St. Markís Episcopal Church, left; the Rev. Kevin Koenig, Marco Lutheran Church; the Rev. William Lyle, Marco Presbyterian; Rabbi Edward Maline, Jewish Congregation of Marco Island; the Rev. Thomas McCulley, New Life Community Church; the Rev. Kirk Dreiser, Wesley United Methodist Church; and the Rev. Richard Adair, United Church share a light hearted moment at ìA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpitî on Jan. 23 at Marco Presbyterian Church. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Members of Marco Islandís Clergy Association, the Rev. Dr. Kyle Bennett, St. Markís Episcopal Church, left; the Rev. Kevin Koenig, Marco Lutheran Church; the Rev. William Lyle, Marco Presbyterian; Rabbi Edward Maline, Jewish Congregation of Marco Island; the Rev. Thomas McCulley, New Life Community Church; the Rev. Kirk Dreiser, Wesley United Methodist Church; and the Rev. Richard Adair, United Church share a light hearted moment at ìA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpitî on Jan. 23 at Marco Presbyterian Church. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Lulu Seidman, left, welcomes Patti Bruno-Porter to the first Faith and Wine event hosted by San Marco Catholic Church.  The women discovered they are both Catholics married to Jewish husbands. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Lulu Seidman, left, welcomes Patti Bruno-Porter to the first Faith and Wine event hosted by San Marco Catholic Church. The women discovered they are both Catholics married to Jewish husbands. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

United Church members Kathie Johnson, in blue, and Judith Holm-Repice enjoy Marco Island Clergy Associationís ìA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpitî panel discussion on Jan. 23 at Marco Presbyterian Church.  The next presentation entitled ìEverything You Wanted to Know About Religion But Were Afraid to Askî will be held on Feb. 21, at Marco Lutheran Church. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

United Church members Kathie Johnson, in blue, and Judith Holm-Repice enjoy Marco Island Clergy Associationís ìA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpitî panel discussion on Jan. 23 at Marco Presbyterian Church. The next presentation entitled ìEverything You Wanted to Know About Religion But Were Afraid to Askî will be held on Feb. 21, at Marco Lutheran Church. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Cindy Rinaldi, the Family ChurchóMarco Islandís womenís ministry director   presented ìMatters of the Heartî at the Feb. 1 to 2 womenís retreat at the church.  Everyone was welcome to attend. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Cindy Rinaldi, the Family ChurchóMarco Islandís womenís ministry director presented ìMatters of the Heartî at the Feb. 1 to 2 womenís retreat at the church. Everyone was welcome to attend. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Stephen Ministry Leaders Gail Cacciola, Marco Lutheran Church left, Elaine Cole, St. Markís Episcopal Church; and Barbara Meyn, United Church share a moment at a dinner for Stephen Ministers hosted by St. Markís Episcopal Church. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Stephen Ministry Leaders Gail Cacciola, Marco Lutheran Church left, Elaine Cole, St. Markís Episcopal Church; and Barbara Meyn, United Church share a moment at a dinner for Stephen Ministers hosted by St. Markís Episcopal Church. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Door prize winner Barb Slaggie is happy to receive the limited edition print of Mother Theresa by artist Jeffrey Larson.  Slaggie was one of the 254 women who attended the first Faith and Wine event hosted by San Marco Catholic Church. 
 /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

Photo by Kathleen G. Tuttle

Door prize winner Barb Slaggie is happy to receive the limited edition print of Mother Theresa by artist Jeffrey Larson. Slaggie was one of the 254 women who attended the first Faith and Wine event hosted by San Marco Catholic Church. /Kathleen Tuttle Special to the Eagle

There is no need to be lonely on Marco.Opportunities abound to build faith, unity and community. All are welcome at the Clergy Association's Adult Education Series, the Annual Prayer Breakfast, as well as retreats, lectures and Bible studies at Marco's houses of worship.

The first in the Clergy Association's Series entitled "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpit" was held on Jan. 23 at Marco Presbyterian Church.The audience roared with laughter at the wit and repartee as the clergymen shared stories.

Marco Presbyterian Church's Pastor the Rev. William Lyle, who hails from eastern Tennessee referred to the evening as blue color comedy tour.It was not your stereotypical picture of men of God, studying Scripture, praying, wearing serious vestments.

They told tales of falling in graves at funerals; setting off a smoke bomb at camp as a youth; mixing up folders and reading "rest in eternal peace at a wedding"; embarrassing moments caused by wireless microphones.They displayed harmony and vulnerability.

The young man who threw the smoke bomb expected to be thrown out of camp.But instead he experienced grace when he was told that he has gifts that God could use; at that point he decided to become a priest.

Afterward the audience had a chance to mix and mingle in the fellowship hall.Among the many conversations were Presbyterian teenagers discussing communion practices with a Lutheran.

The next discussion is "Everything You Wanted to Know About Religion But Were Afraid to Ask," to be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 21, at Marco Lutheran Church.Participants filled out cards at the Jan. 23 event's conclusion. The questions ranged from what is truth, to where was God in the Connecticut shooting, to names of pets.The clergymen plan to be true to their faith values as they answer as many questions as possible.The March program will be announced.

Stephen Ministers

Harmony and smiles was also on display at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Jan. 28 as Stephen Ministers from St. Mark's, Marco Lutheran and the United churches gathered to feed their souls and themselves as they celebrated what they do for others.Stephen Ministers are church member who are recruited, selected, trained, commissioned and supervised by Stephen Leaders to provide one-to-one Christian care to people in need.

The United Church has trained more than 100 Stephen Ministers in 30 years.The ministries at St. Mark's and Marco Lutheran began three years ago.

St. Mark's hosted the event and the other churches provided the main course and desserts.

"I am deeply blessed that we share this ministry," said St. Mark's Elaine Cole, a Stephen Leader, in her opening remarks to the group."When you receive a Stephen Minister you are gifting us, enabling us to use the gift God has given us."

"Stephen Ministers become a conduit of Christ's love," said Gail Cacciola, Marco Lutheran's Parish Nurse and Stephen Leader.They help those experiencing a loss of independence and health.Although Stephen Ministers traditionally care for their own congregation, Marco Lutheran will care for nonchurch members.

For the United Church's Stephen Leader Barbara Meyn becoming a Stephen Minister was a life-changing opportunity.

The groups mixed, mingled, relaxed and shared how they found Marco.There was no shoptalk as Stephen Ministers keep everything confidential.

Our Island is also awash in Bible study opportunities.The Family Church—Marco held Matters of the Heart Women's L.I.F.E. retreat Feb. 1-2.The weekend consisted of praise, worship, study and a scrumptious lunch.Warren and Wendy Hunt, vocalists and piano, set the tone to celebrate Jesus.Cindy Rinaldi, Family Church—Marco, women's ministry director, presented "Matters of the Heart."

"The retreat touched the hearts of women by ministering to the different conditions of the heart, from broken hearts, hard hearts and a softChrist-like heart," said Women's L.I.F.E. team member Kathy Matthews.The church also offers a Thursday morning women's Bible study on Malachi, from 9 to 11 a.m.

The first Faith and Wine event was held in San Marco Catholic Church's Parish Hall.The event was conceived last April in organizer Cindy Hennings' living room.She mused wouldn't it be nice if we could get together over a glass of wine and expand our faith.

The Feb. 6 event officially began with a blessing by San Marco's Fr. Russell Ruggiero but attendees arrived early to share a glass a wine, greet old friends, meet new ones and admire the array of appetizers, including mounds of shrimp.No music hampered the conversations.

Photojournalist Linda Schaefer shared her journey from a nominal Protestant to a believing Catholic and promoter of the work of Mother Teresa; whose legacy, she said, was designed by Jesus Christ.As a nonbeliever living in New York City she heard a commotion in the street, pulled back her black drapes, looked out her window to see Pope John Paul II who smiled and locked eyes with her.

She shared of her encounter with Mother Teresa who told her:"I don't need photographers.I need volunteers.You go work in orphanage, put down your camera."

"She knew what was in my heart and said 'come and see,'" said Schafer.

There was also an encounter on the plane from Frankfurt to Mumbai with a stranger who knew things about her that no one could know unless they were from God.

"Everyone here is thirsty," said Shaefer."Everyone has a calling; all are given a mission to be a wonderful mother or teacher.

"Our souls are here to develop greater compassion," she continued."All faiths and backgrounds can work together in faith and harmony."

The next Marco Faith and Wine event will be March 11 presentation entitled "Hope for Haiti — Help for the Children."Information, visit marcofaithandwine.wix.com/home or contact Cindy Henning: 239-642-3177.

Another opportunity for harmony and positive interfaith relations will be at Marco's 13th Annual Prayer Breakfast.Focus on the Family's Jim Daley will give the keynote address.Rabbi Edward Maline will deliver the invocation; Fr. Tim Navin will offer the community prayer and Gail Cacciola will give the closing prayer.

For many however, the prayer breakfast's highlight is Mega Praise Team's music."It has been one of the greatest honors of our lives to be a part of the Marco Island Prayer Breakfast since 2008, six years running," wrote Linda Krehling in an email, the group's director and keyboardist.The music will be sensitive to the religions represented.

The team consists of 18 men and women, ranging from 17 to 84, representing all walks of life, different cultures, denomination and churches.

"Unity is important whether it be a church, a business, a family, and we have been blessed that we are a very unified body of believers who have one heart to worship God with the gifts and talents he has given us," wrote Krehling.

Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various nonprofits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist. Kathleen can be contacted at worship@rstuttle.com.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features