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As has been customary for many years, the widows of Capri Christian Church and their guests from neighboring areas are invited to get together once a month over lunch as a means of providing some much-needed support and fellowship after finding themselves widowed.

Losing one’s spouse is never an easy matter, and sharing conversation and lunch with those “in the same boat,” helps, so the widows say.

Jackie Nettles, also a widow, coordinates the monthly luncheon for the church. This ministry is referred to as the Phillips Ministry.

Recently, 34 widows set sail with their competent boat captains for a ride in the waters that surround the Isles of Capri prior to their monthly luncheon at the Island Gypsy Café.

Boat captains Jack Addy, Bob Ditton, Dale Williamson, Eddie Hall and Bill Dilks gave the ladies a guided tour as their boats trailed one another throughout the voyage. Not the rough seas Christopher Columbus sailed for sure, but the tranquil waters for these passengers were a welcomed relief.

When the boat cruise came to an end and the ladies had all unloaded and gathered around their tables for lunch, one of the topics of conversation during the luncheon was a true story that resembled that of the famous folk-tale or fable, Cinderella. It goes like this.

Once upon a time, a widower came to Pastor Ayers and said he was having an extremely hard time moving on with his life after the loss of his wife nearly two years ago. “Come join me at the Widow’s Luncheon,” Ayers offered the widower. “Isn’t that just for women?” answered the widower. “Well, I am not a woman, and I am going,” replied Ayers.

Richard Tull, the widower consented to accompany Ayers to the luncheon that just happened to be scheduled for Pelican Bend Restaurant that month. When they were seated, Tull found himself seated next to Helen Howell, a widow for over eight years. Howell, a Capri resident and member of Capri Christian Church had been dedicated to attending the Widow’s Luncheons and said that she felt comforted and supported by socializing with others like her who had lost their spouses.

Tull and Howell easily struck up conversation and immediately felt comfortable sharing their stories with one another. After a week passed, Tull asked Ayers if he would call Howell and see if it would be alright for him to call her. The rest of the story is history. On Feb. 14, 2015 (Valentine’s Day), pastor Curt Ayers married Tull and Howell in a beautiful ceremony held in Capri Christian Church.

Though Howell and Tull no longer attend the Phillips Ministry functions, their story is shared to remind others of the support that can be found when gathering with others you are mourning the loss of a spouse.

Contact Ann Hall at ahall7911@coconuttele.net

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