Showing posts with label Group activities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Group activities. Show all posts

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Exponential Power of Widows to Widows

Two women in Warsaw Indiana became widows within 4 months of each other in 2015. Both husbands died unexpectedly--one from a heart attack, one from a plane crash, both 50 years young. Both of their wives were unknown to each other.

Then a mutual friend who was a widow hosted a support group and the two new widows, Michelle and Stephanie met.

During their second year of widowhood they came across my book, branched off from their friend's group and went through it.

Then Michelle opened up her home and they took a group of 14 widows through it.

Then their pastor heard about what they were doing and asked if they'd come do it in the church!
So they did! And now they are going through my book a THIRD TIME!

Well I just had to find out how they do this. Maybe I could do it too.

Here's how they work it:

Meet once a month for five months. Monday evenings, 6:30 - 8:00 in the church cafe′ area. They push tables together so everyone is together in one group. They've had around 10 - 14 women attend. Michelle and Stephanie are at the 4-year mark in their widow journey so they especially have a heart for newer widows although all are welcome.

Stephanie works in the church office so she calls and invites each woman who's been recently widowed in their church, and then the rest of them come by word of mouth. Some repeat the group, but "Most of them are not from our church," said Michelle. It's becoming a great community outreach!

They start casually at 6:30 asking everyone, "How was your week? Is there anything we can pray about?" And then they get into the "Postcards..." Everyone has come prepared, having read one section/five chapters of the book. They discuss the parts that stood out to them personally while reading. They ask questions like---
  • What caught your attention in the chapters this month? 
  • What did you underline or highlight? 
  • What was the best thing you learned? 
  • Which questions or scenes in the book touched your heart? etc. 
Everyone gets a chance to talk. Michelle is conscientious for everyone's time and dismisses promptly right at 8:00.

Newcomers are always welcome. When a new widow comes, they usually take a break from the book and spend the time introducing everyone to her and giving group members a chance to tell their stories so the new widow will realize she is not alone. Widows minister to widows. Isn't that good?

Thanks Michelle and Stephanie for your compassion for other widows! And thanks Pastor Denny Wilson and Warsaw Community Church for caring for widows! God bless you all!
Order your copy of "Postcards..." here at my Bookstore.
P.S. It seems to be turning into a year-round ministry. After going through "Postcards from the Widows' Path" they use a book from GriefShare.org called "Grieving With Hope." What a great balance!

Are you part of a widows' group Bible study? I'd love to hear what you do too. Please email me at [email protected] 
💓ferree

Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Start A Widow's Group

Last week I shared about the Naomi Ministry in Alban PA. Their group started when the Lord stirred the hearts of two widows to reach out to others. Is God stirring your heart too?

I've heard from many of you that He is!

Reaching out ideas and actions come in many forms:
  • A Mennonite widow in Virginia hosted a Valentines Dinner for widows in her new business venture, a café, and gave them a free, delicious meal along with an evening of heart-felt sharing and talent.
  • A church in the Pittsburgh PA area plans to host a Tea for Widows event, aiming for 50 to attend.
  • A twice-widowed woman I recently met leads a group of 192 widows at her church, and the church didn't seem too interested at first! But she told me that although she doesn't fight for many things, her experiences of walking alone and abandoned as a widow made her passionate that no other woman in her circle of influence will ever have to go it alone like she did! The church leaders seem to be listening now. 😅
  • "Book club" type groups use Postcards from the Widows Path and its discussion guide, (request the guide by emailing me at [email protected] I'll need your mailing address); or Miriam Neff's From One Widow to Another set of DVD's. 
  • Other groups-- small, local groups of 4 - 12 women like mine in South Carolina or Bebe's in the Philadelphia area get together for lunch in homes or restaurants about once a month. Bebe always makes sure they have some good laughs by bringing along some silly stories and jokes. I start with a fun "ice-breaker" conversation starter, we eat and talk, and afterwards we have some "soul food" which is just a short devotional, a Psalm, or a reading from this blog or Facebook pertaining to widowhood and hope. Then we talk some more!
  • CEO--Caring for Each Other, is a local group that started with a widow's heart to help others back in 2012 in Kansas. It now reaches over 100 hurting people in their community, funded and fueled by God's grace. My friend Carmen has seen God supply their needs over and over again.
There are others too! and I hope to tell you about them in the weeks to come. But back to the basic question---How to START?

Pray! And pray about all these things:
  • Find the person(s) you can team up with.
  • Discern whether your group can be 1). a ministry of your local church (always the first choice, but not always possible), or if it will be 2). a home group, or 3). a community group that meets in a public place. 
  • Talk about your purpose and outreach--what unique service will you provide? Fellowship and social and  emotional support are legit! But you can also survey widows in the area or in your church to see what they actually want and if your ideas fit. This will help build a case for your church to be involved.
  • Decide how often to meet--(weekly, bi-weekly, monthly; a.m. or p.m.), what you will do, any costs involved. (I will mention resources in a future post). 
  • Plan your first kick-off event and start inviting! 
For further detail and help go to Miriam Neff's website and this page: How To Start A Widows Ministry  She has a wealth of information. You'll find a ready-made survey to download and a starter list for referrals of businesses to help widows in your locale. Search the rest of her website for 7 reasons why churches should have widows ministry and how to order her DVD's for starting a widows group.

Let's do this!

💗 ferree




Monday, March 18, 2019

Widows Group: Naomi's Ministry in Alban, PA

Getting ready to kick-off into their second year of ministry, the Naomi's Ministry in Alban, PA continues to blossom and grow. Denise Sweeney sent me a description and some of the ways that she and co-leader Carol Eskridge get the word out about their weekly group.

I'm delighted to share their ideas here so you can adapt them to start your own group at your church.

First, the pictures, then follow through to see the good stuff Denise told me. (If you're viewing this on your phone and the photos don't show, try clicking on the title so you can get to the actual site).

 This is their brochure. At the top you'll see:
*Naomi's Ministry (named after Naomi from the Book of Ruth in the Bible) *their mission statement in a nutshell--widows helping widows
At the bottom:
*the church name and address
On the back (not pictured):
*contact info for Carol and Denise with their names, phone #s and email addresses.

Inside the brochure it says "As widows, we are on a journey that God has chosen for us. It's a difficult one, but God has told us in His Word that we are special to His heart." (II Corinthians 1:3-4  and I Peter 5:10 are printed out in full in case you can't see it in my fuzzy photo).




I love this idea---the folded standing up card is simply an altered version of the front of the brochure. It's printed on card stock, blank on the inside, and may be used for notecards or at luncheons for place marks, etc.

This last photo displays the promo sheet for their start up which was a luncheon for widows at their church. They also created a questionnaire to gather information about each attendee and their interests, and also discover additional ideas for ways that a widows group could effectively minister.
The group has since invited speakers from their church who are professionals in estate and financial planning and they've taken day trips and more! They always have announcements in the church programs and good support from the office staff and pulpit--which is very important! Please read on for more from Denise.
   
What is the main thing you do? 

·        Our main purpose is to offer support love and encouragement to Widows. To give them a safe place that they can come and share their pain, cry and grieve with others who understands. No one can really understand what a widow is going through better than another widow.

·        We have done book studies (Postcards from a Widows Path, From One Widow to Another, and others).

·        Once a month we meet at a local pizza place for a change of pace. On those nights we do a devotional and share a meal and just enjoy being together.

·        We have done trips together. This past November we went to Lancaster to the Sight and Sound Theatre to see the show JESUS. Afterward we had a wonderful meal together.  We have also done day trips to the shore and Lancaster to shop and have lunch together. And the ladies also enjoy getting together for lunch or dinner. Not the entire group but maybe 3 or 4 of the ladies will do that between meetings. The ladies have really bonded and truly enjoy spending time together. On special occasions we will go out to a nicer place for dinner to celebrate holidays and such. We also do weekly prayer requests and praises for answered prayers.

·        We are coming up on our 2nd year anniversary. We plan to celebrate by having a High Tea at our church on March 30th. We also plan on inviting Widows from other local churches to come to find out more about our group.

·        One more thing that I forgot to mention. We have also had meetings with guest speakers. For example: we had a financial planner from our church come and explain to the ladies how to take over and manage our funds (or lack there of). He explained budgeting, insurance needs, etc. We also had an estate lawyer, again from our church, come to explain wills, POA’s living wills, etc.  These people were able to offer advice that was so valuable to the Widows during a time of confusion and not being sure what they should or should not be doing.

How did your group get started?

·        Our group got started after reading “Postcards from a Widows Path.”

·        God just really put it on my heart the need for a ministry to the Widows at our church. Once the idea got started, God graciously opened doors for us to get started.

·        Carol Eskridge and I presented our plans to the Women’s Ministry at our Church. From there, we presented the idea to the Church Committee. We received encouragement, support and approval from all concerned.

·        Our first meeting was held on March 25, 2017. We placed announcements in our church bulletin, along with passing out flyers and inviting Widows that we knew personally. We held a luncheon at our church to share what we would like to offer to Widows. We told the ladies how very much God Loves and Cares for Widows and how we hoped that our group could help share God’s love with them.


·        God has been so faithful to Carol and me over these last two years and we have seen amazing growth and blessings in the ladies of Naomi’s Ministry
Thank you Denise, and may God use this to plant other widow ministries!
Do you have a widows group going too? I'd love to hear about it! Please email me at [email protected] 
Thank for visiting here today,
ferree



Thursday, August 23, 2018

Widows Memory Bears

Hello! I'm so pleased to share these photos from a new friend named Sue. Aren't these bears the cutest things? Sue says that a family friend offered to make them for her, and like Pat's memory quilt that I showed you yesterday, her husband's shirts and other pieces provided the fabric and the memories.
Sue said,
I asked family members if they were interested.  Each one who was actually picked the shirt they wanted made into a bear.  Then we met with my friend Donna and designed them.  

From the left: bear made from husband Roger's chenille bathrobe and one of his favorite shirts. The bear went to their daughter.
The plaid bear was from a favorite shirt that Sue gave her husband, and now it's her chosen keepsake.
The next bear is sporting a favorite red sweater and was given to a family friend.
Finally, the bear on the far right was made from the shirt and jeans that Roger wore when he held their youngest granddaughter, Sutton.

But wait, there's more!
This is granddaughter Sutton's memory bear with some pink
accessories to make it more feminine for her. Sweet!

And this stylish bear went to the oldest granddaughter, Amanda.
It was created from Roger's ties. I love the yellows and
blues and the great way the seamstress placed the
patterns. What a wonderful keepsake!
I was so tickled that Sue shared these photos with us and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. And I hope they give you some ideas of how you could create some keepsakes too.

Please pray for Sue as she faces the first anniversary of widowhood in just a couple of weeks. Pray for widows every day---we might not know their names, but we know their hearts.
💗ferree

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Where Does the Time Go?

I remember how I always wanted to either push the "rewind" button or the "fast forward" arrow on my life when I was widowed. Have you felt that way too?

Time is so weird during grief. Sometimes your old life seems like it belonged to someone else--like it was another lifetime. Other days it seems like only yesterday since your husband passed--whether it's been seven months or seven years.

But life eventually balances out. Eventually. Never quickly enough. But it does become more bearable. And then some day, and I know this sounds unbelievable but it's true-- you'll come back to life again. God is an expert at resurrection. Can you believe that? Just something to think about...

How has your summer been? I work in a school library and yesterday was the first day of school! My summer is over! But I'd love to hear about yours. Click the comment line and say 'hello,' OK?

Last Friday a few widow friends came over for an afternoon of snacking and chatting. It was such a pleasure to gather around the dining room table. Everyone brought a snack--we had homemade cheese cookies (a yummy Southern thing), ham roll-ups with cream cheese and pickled okra (delicious!), cheese and pretzel appetizer, pecan sandies, and lemonade.

We also got to enjoy seeing what one of the ladies has been up to since her husband passed in December. The pictures show part of it but don't do justice for all the beautiful details. It's a Memory Quilt! Pat, the lady in the white top, loves to quilt and she made this queen size quilt for one son, and another one for the other. Each has an embroidered personal note on the square between the two dachshunds. The doggies were family pets, and the patchwork pieces are all from her husband's shirts.

I thought you'd appreciate seeing Pat's memory quilt. If you have pictures of some things you've created in honor of your husband e-mail me at [email protected] I'm sure everyone would love to see them.
💗ferree

Monday, July 2, 2018

Failure, Fire and Fullfillment

The Refiner's Fire
Trials? Tribulations? Testing by fire?

Sound familiar? Widowhood qualifies as all of the above!

Have you ever admitted or even considered that widowhood is a time of trial and testing--that its a season of suffering? I don't know why it took me a long time to see that; maybe the over-used term "denial" applies and I couldn't wrap my head around it. Maybe I thought I was so strong and that my faith was so strong and superior that I would easily rise above it. Mostly though, I was in shock and couldn't believe my husband had died; I sure couldn't sit down with myself and explain to myself that I was actually suffering from a trial of life.

With God, though, our sorrow will one day be wiped away. Right now we're in the flames and pain; and if you're like me they're not only fueled by tragic circumstances-- my own failures threaten to consume me too.

This selection from Psalm 66:10 and 12 brought me through the fire to a future of hope.
You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined ... We went through fire and through water, but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. (NKJV)

Now take a look a the entire Psalm 66 either by yourself or as a Bible study or devotional with your widows group. Make 2 columns on a paper or marker board: 
1). PRAISE and 2). PAIN
  • Look at each phrase or verse and decide in which column it fits. 
  • When you've divided up all the verses ask which column is longer. 
  • What does that tell us about the bigger picture of God's plan and involvement in our lives? 
  • Which verses stand out to you most of all and speak to your experience? 
  • Which one verse provides you with the most hope and promise? 
  • Jot your favorite verse down on a 3x5 card. Keep it in your pocket, tape it to your steering wheel, post it as your status on Facebook or do anything that will serve to remind you of God's faithful fulfillment throughout the day. 
Today is the day when pain can take off it's disguise and praise can start to rise. God understands the emotional roller coaster of grief and the Bible never says that its sinful to have feelings. God is touched by our infirmities. And he touches us in our weakness with the fulfillment of the power and promises of His Word when we take it to heart (or pocket or steering wheel) :) Please try this, I think you'll be greatly encouraged when you do.  ferree

Monday, June 18, 2018

C.A.S.T. prayer method

If you've been around church world for a while you might be familiar with the A.C.T.S. method for prayer. I've been in a couple of prayer groups that used it. It's a handy tool for keeping group prayer on point. It incorporates worship, confession and thanksgiving instead of just the usual "bless or help so and so..." God wants us to bring our requests to him, of course, but this ACTS tool reminds us of who God is, and who we really are. It can really enrich a group prayer time. You basically have everyone who wants to pray hold to this outline:
  • A - adoration: open your prayer time by giving everyone opportunity to speak a prayer of adoration and worship to God. Ideally you've got 6 - 10 people in your group and this takes 5 - 10 minutes.
  • C - confession: in a group we don't need to air all of our dirty laundry so this is best done by having the group leader say "We'll now take 2 or 3 minutes of silent prayer to privately confess our personal sins to the Lord." When the time is up the leader proceeds to the next step.
  • T - thanksgiving: Everyone's prayers are full of thankfulness and praise for various gifts and workings of God during the past and current circumstances, and/or appreciation for God's character and truth.
  • S - supplication: praying our requests (the bless or help so and so's) to God and asking for His will to be done. 
While I think it's good for group prayer, I've never been comfortable with it on my own. Psalms 66:18 says, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." In other words, God chooses to not listen to the prayers of Christians who harbor sin rather than confess it! I realized I needed to put CONFESSION at the top of my prayer time.

I played around with the ACTS acronym and rearranged the letters putting Confession first and ended up with: CATS. LOL, that  wasn't going to work! Just not biblical, not reverent, and not a word that would help me focus on God Almighty! A cat would probably like it though.

But what about this one? C.A.S.T.
Ah... that's good!

  • C - Confession
  • A - Adoration - something I can express so much better with a clean heart!
  • S - Supplication - the real reason I pray anyway - because I need a lot of God's help, intervention and miracles in my life!
  • T - Thanksgiving - what a wonderful way to close my prayer time - by thanking God for what he's already done, plus for what he will do in the needs  and situations I just "cast" before him.
CAST all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7

CAST your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 55:22

Let's hurry and go CAST! God cares, he will sustain, and he will never let the righteous fall! 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Groups on Facebook


We pick up survivors and help
each other on the ocean of grief.
Have you heard about the free, confidential widows' support groups I have on Facebook? Don't feel bad if you haven't, I seldom promote them. Plus, they're "secret" Facebook groups and do not come up on any searches. People find out about them only through the few times I mention them on this blog or through friends.

They started in 2011 and hundreds of widows have used them. That's not a large number for Facebook groups but the purpose is to provide a small group of Christian women who can ask honest questions, and share prayers, praises and burdens. Friendships grow, and faith does too. It doesn't last forever though.

One of the most valuable benefits is when members realize they don't really need it anymore! Whenever they're ready they opt out. It's totally self-monitored. It's peer support, not professional, and your participation is under your control. Some members read along quietly and rarely say a word. Others are very active and enjoy the growing friendships and support.

Lifeboat and Lifeboat2 are the entry groups. They welcome women who've been widowed for any length of time. Throughout the week I receive requests to join and I add new members on Tuesdays or Fridays.

My other group is called "Going Ashore." It's for widows who have passed that one-year point of widowhood.  They want to address the issues and challenges of the second year and beyond.

So how does one join? First, if you haven't already, get a Facebook account at Facebook.com
Then it's easy, just ...
  1. Send me, Ferree Hardy, a Facebook "friend request."
  2. Then - VERY IMPORTANT- message me on Facebook with 1). your choice of Lifeboat or Going Ashore and 2). the date you were widowed. 
I will confirm your message and friend request within a few days and add you to a Lifeboat group on a Tuesday or a Friday. It's that easy! Just be sure to send me BOTH. I'm sorry but I don't have time to follow up and remind you if you don't.

Re: LIFEBOAT---if you're still in the first year of widowhood Lifeboat is the only option for you even if you think you are beyond it. I've had members request Going Ashore before they've passed their one-year anniversary of widowhood but I always kindly deny them. Afterwards they see the wisdom of having their Lifeboat sisters support them through that momentous day. Also, Lifeboat2 is not more advanced, it's just a designation for another Lifeboat group. Someday maybe we'll have Lifeboat3!

Re: GOING ASHORE---if you're past your first year of widowhood you may go directly to Going Ashore. However, since I don't know you personally I recommend joining both Lifeboat and Going Ashore so you can decide which is the best fit for you.

Please note: Lifeboat is for widows only. I do not add men or organizations. If I happen to find either on board for some reason, they are immediately removed, no questions asked.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Widows' Tea

I wish you could have joined me and these dear ladies (and Pam who took the picture so she didn't have to be in it!) on Friday at my house. We had such a good time.

This group is growing out of a Bible study I do on Ruth using my book "Postcards from the Widows' Path." After we did it last year at my church the ladies continued to meet about once a month for lunch. At the tea party on Friday they welcomed the women who were from this year's Bible study plus two new guests.  

It's so important to meet other widows face to face. To tell your story to people who "get it," and to discover you're not as alone as you thought you were. I have so many ideas, hopes and dreams for this group and I look forward to what the Lord will bring us through together this year. I know that many of you are also starting up a widows group. Wouldn't it be great to post about our groups, ideas we can use at meetings and ways to reach out to more? I'd love to hear your ideas and see your pictures. Feel free to email me at [email protected]

Next month the widows are meeting for supper at a BBQ restaurant. I hope to have them back to my place again, maybe for a picnic carry-in where everyone will bring something. For this month's tea party Pam brought desserts (she makes the best!), and I provided quiches, fruit salad and scones.

What are your favorite menus or ideas for a widows luncheon or tea party get together? Let's hear about them!
♥ ferree

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Restless No More -- A Widow's Story -- Joan Wyrtzen Bagg


Do you attend or lead a widows group? Here are life-lifting verses from a Bible study that my friend Joan Wyrtzen Bagg recently shared with a group. Feel free to use them with your group too! Joan was first widowed at age 47.
When my first husband, Loren Steiner, passed away from cancer I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't understand why the Lord took him home at age 50. One night all alone I asked the Lord why this had happened and what did He want me to do now?
Joan was first widowed at age 47. She was then remarried for 10 years and widowed again. Then, after about 12 years the Lord once again had remarriage for her. This time she and her husband Doug Bagg have been instrumental in founding Grief Care Fellowship to train church members how to help widows and others who journey through grief.
(Click the Grief Care logo here on my blog for more info).  
Read more of her account by clicking here. If you are feeling a sense of restlessness in your life, be sure to read part 2 of her story right here. Maybe the Lord is changing the course of your life too.

You may copy these verses for personal or group use. Please note that they are from the New International Version (NIV), except for the words in italics which Joan used for her group.

God is My Husband 

 (Isaiah 54:5)  “For your Maker is your Husband-the Lord Almighty is His name.”

 He gives me Everlasting Love

 (Jeremiah 31:3)  “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

I have His Word for comfort

(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles (sorrow), so that we can comfort those in any trouble (sorrow) with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. “

His is my security

(Isaiah 41:13) “For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you; Do not fear; I will help you.”

I do not need to worry

(Matthew 7:25-34) “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; about your body, what you will wear….your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.” 
(Phil 4:19)  “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

When I am lonely He gives me… A song in the night
(Ps 77:6) “I remembered my songs in the night.”
(Jeremiah 31:13) “Turning my mourning into Joy. “

When I am sad I remember…..
(Psalm 118:24) “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” 
(Philippians 4: 4) “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say “Rejoice!”

God’s will for me   
(Thessalonians 5:16, 17, 18)“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Monday, July 18, 2016

Spending Christmas Alone? This Would Be So Much Better...

Do You Ever Wonder...
by Beth in NC

Do You Ever Wonder...
what widows do when we get together?

We...

laugh and cry,

act silly and get serious,

share and listen,

talk and have silence,

eat and EAT,

give a shoulder to lean on and lean on that shoulder,

comfort and are comforted,

love on and get loved on.

We are bonded by our circumstance and blessed by our friendship.

We need not pretend with each other because we "get it"!
Beth continued with this:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Widows' Group in Cary, NC

Dear Friends,

Here is another widows group with some wonderful ways the Lord is working in their midst. This group is especially close to my heart because I was able to meet and serve with them in March. It was a fantastic time of fellowship and I hope to tell you even more about it in the months to come. But for now, here's the skinny on this sweet group. The widows group director is Margaret Trail and she kindly answered my questions --- for the benefit of us all! Thank you, Margaret!   ferree

Name of the group and/or the church sponsoring it: We are called Widow's Might of Colonial Baptist Church, Cary, North Carolina. 919-233-9100

How long the group has been going: I'm not sure, but I've been a member for almost 10 years.
 
How often the group meets: We meet the second Tuesday of each month. We are now in the process of adding organized Bible Studies for the widows who work.
 
Main purpose: 
            The mission of Widow’s Might is to partner with widows, encouraging dependence on God, surrounding members with a loving Christian community and embracing life with hope and promise. 

Please describe your usual meeting:
 Our luncheon meetings are the second Tuesday of each month. Our lunches have a great variety. Sometimes the ladies bring a covered dish or favorite casserole; sometimes boxed lunches or sub sandwiches are on the menu.

In April we met at a local café and enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship.
 
For May we will have a missionary from Missions to the Military and a lady from Linking Arms (linking the spouses of the Military with church members). We will provide chicken salad sandwiches and the room will be decorated with red, white and blue. We will pledge the flag and sing patriotic songs.
 
For June we will have a birthday theme! The ladies will bring a favorite salad. Ice cream sundaes and a birthday cake will be provided. The ladies are asked to bring either a wedding picture or a picture from when they were young and we have to guess who is who. 
 
What good ideas has your group used that would be good to share with other groups?
  •  In July because of VBS we will meet dressed in red, white and blue, and have hot dogs cooked in a crock pot with all the trimmings, and maybe apple pie for dessert. We hope to play Bingo. Even with other events going on in the church we will meet and enjoy each others company. 
  •  We have a Widow's Might leadership committee who helps in planning our events and helps in many other ways such as sending birthday cards to every widow in our church. We divided the list among each member of the leadership team and they are responsible for 2 months each. Keeping in touch with the widows by cards, visits and phone calls is very important. 
  •  Also, in March we had a Saturday morning brunch and had Ferree come and give a seminar. We asked her to speak to our widows about going from "Surviving to Thriving" after our husbands are gone. And we also had her do a session which was open to all the ladies of the church. It was about how the church can help widows. Afterwards our leadership team took Ferree and her husband, Tom, to lunch to talk about  how we'd like to see our widows ministry reach out. It was a long day for the team, but very worthwhile and we've received excellent feedback. In the midst of broken hearts we're excited about widows ministry and the wondrous ways of how the Lord moves and guides us.
 
 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

East Wenatchee, WA widows group

Dear Friends,

Today I am happy to tell you about this widows group in Washington! (The same state my new grand-daughter lives in! How cool is that?) The group leader, Susan, was recently widowed, and she told me this: "Actually, I was asked if I would lead it at the first meeting I attended! (The long-time leader fell and broke her hip last fall...) It was great, because I was full of blog posts I was eager to share. Your blog was the first one I discovered when I became a widow. Then I followed Gail Roper's The Widow's Journey, and lastly hooked up with A New Season/Widow's Might. I bought your book, Postcards from the Widows' Path as well, and James White's Grieving: Finding Your Path Back to Peace." God has been putting some wonderful people in my path. There are many, many blessings."

At this group's next meeting they'll be using this blog post of mine from last year: A Psalm for Mother's Day and every day...
Susan simply copied and pasted it into a Word doc, and at the bottom noted it like this:
By Ferree Hardy, posted on May 9, 2015, on her blog, Widows Christian Place, www.widowschristianplace.com/psalm-139-for-mothers-day-and-every-day/
I love to share and whenever you find something on this blog that you'd like to share with your widows' group please feel free to do the same.

Name of the group and/or the church sponsoring it: Naomi, at Faith Lutheran Church
 
How long the group has been going: 10+ years

City and state : East Wenatchee, Washington
 
Church office phone # or email: 509-884-7623 [email protected]
 
How often the group meets: Twice a month
 
Function/purpose: Bible study, grief support
 
One or two sentences describing your usual meeting: Together we read one or two blog posts (from this blog or A New Season—careful to give credit, of course!) which opens up wonderful, heart-to-heart discussion. May include supporting Bible verses.
 
An idea you've used that would be good to share with other groups: (see above)—it's great to share good Christian things from the Internet with ladies who are not online.
 
Anything else you think we'd like to know: We have a wonderful group, including two 90+-year-olds who are awesome.
 
Susan R. (Joe passed away January 5, 2016)
 
 
Want to see your group here? Please copy the following into an email and send to me at [email protected] Soon I'll have a page listing all the groups I hear from plus the great ideas they share. I'd like to thank Susan for her info today, and I hope to hear from you too!  ferree

Name of your group and/or the church sponsoring it:
How long the group has been going:
Location:
Church office phone # or email:
How often the group meets:
Purpose:
Usual order of meeting goes like this:
Ideas you've used that would be good to share with other groups:
Anything else you think we'd like to know:
We'd also like to know how your group got started:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2 Groups for Widows At Foothils Bible Church, Littleton, CO

Dear Reader,

I want to tell the world about your widows group! It'll be so helpful and encouraging for widows to see that groups really do exist, that other widows have started these groups, and that they can probably do it too.

Today's group is from Colorado, and the information comes from Leslie, a longtime friend here at Widows Christian Place. She has followed God with gentle grace and faith in the loss of her first husband eight years ago, and then on to a sweet second marriage almost three years ago. Leslie is on staff at this church. And the church now hosts 2 groups! The first, Joyful Christian Widows meets once a month, the other, a growth group, meets once a week during fall, winter and spring.

1.
Name of the group: Joyful Christian Widows (It's a community group that meets at Foothills Bible Church)
How long the group has been going: 3+ years (Started out meeting in private homes and at restaurants), less than a year meeting at Foothills.
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Church office phone # or email: (303) 979-0685 x 222; [email protected]
How often the group meets: Once a month
Purpose:  Social, encouragement and support.
Their usual meeting goes like this:  We meet for brunch and fellowship, encouraging one another (particularly those new on the journey) through conversation and a meaningful devotion/discussion time.  We enjoy just being together with other women who “get it!”
Ideas you've used that would be good to share with other groups:  * As our group grows, we are seeing the value in developing a core leadership team that is united in vision and purpose and seeks to honor God in the way we lead the diverse group women who come to our events. * Always have Kleenex on hand. * And chocolate.
J
Anything else you think we'd like to know:  Joyful Christian Widows is a community outreach, with women attending from all over the greater Denver metro area and beyond (as far as Colorado Springs!) We welcome widows at any stage from newly widowed to remarried. We have a Facebook page (search “Joyful Christian Widows”) where we keep in touch between gatherings and post information on our events.


2.
Name of the group: Kneebone and Eskew Growth Group (G2) at Foothills Bible Church
How long the group has been going: One year.
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Church office phone # or email: (303) 979-0685 x 222; [email protected]
How often the group meets: Once a week during the church’s official G2 session (fall, winter, and spring).  We meet together socially during the “off seasons.”

Purpose: Bible/book studies.  Our recent studies have included Postcards from the Widows' Path (Ferree Hardy), Where do I Go From Here (Miriam Neff), and A Grace Disguised (Jerry Sittser).
Their usual meeting goes like this: We meet in the church’s Prayer Chapel on Wednesday mornings for prayer, fellowship, and to go through a biblically based book study that is of particular interest to widows.           

Ideas you've used that would be good to share with other groups: * We have adopted one of our church’s “Global Outreach” workers, a missionary who is herself recently widowed.  We encourage her through prayer and notes/cards, and we partner with others in our church to make sure she is remembered with gifts on her birthday and at Christmas.
Anything else you think we'd like to know:  We are one of many small groups within our church, but we are unique in that we provide a safe place for the widows in our congregation and community.  Any widow is welcome to join us!  Women can sign up for our G2 online here:  http://www.foothillsbiblechurch.org/smallgroup/kneebone-eskew/ 



Wow, I love their ideas---especially about adopting a missionary who's been widowed. And, of course, the chocolate! :)
Let's hear from you now, OK? Just copy the format below, paste it in an email and tell me about your group. Email it to me at [email protected] and I hope to post your information soon.

Love to you,
ferree


Name of the group:
How long the group has been going:
Location: 
Church office phone # or email:
How often the group meets:
Purpose: 
Usual order of meeting goes like this:
Ideas you've used that would be good to share with other groups:
Anything else you think we'd like to know

Monday, March 21, 2016

From Surviving to Thriving with Widows In North Carolina

Jan, Janie, Sandra, Margaret, me, and Lindy
Wow! It doesn't seem possible that just last weekend I was together with this fantastic group of ladies. They are some of the lead team for a group called "Widows Might" at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, NC. Wanting to reach even more widows in their church and community, they hosted a brunch on Saturday, March 12 for about 60 attendees and invited me to speak about not just surviving widowhood, but actually thriving in widowhood. Afterwards they hosted another session with me and opened it to more women in the church to talk about ways to help a widow.

The Widows Might group has been meeting for quite some time, led by Margaret, and she does a fantastic job! I look forward to hearing more of her tips and ideas for a widows group, and I'll share them with you eventually. It was a joy to get to know her and the others, and especially to meet some of the women who read this blog! Hello, Dorothy! Hello, Christine! Hello, all! I wish I could have heard each of them speak! One thing about widows---they have hearts overflowing with wisdom and compassion. The Lord has drawn them close to him and they are shining lights in this cold, dim world. They are a tremendous but often untapped blessing to the people around them.

Look, Margaret! The flower bouquet you
gave me is still beautiful! (Each table at the
brunch had one of these cute mason jars filled
with fresh flowers).
The next thing I want to do is make a concerted effort to finally compile a listing of active widow groups and their ideas. Will you help me? Just email the following info to me at [email protected] It will be a while until I get everything listed because in less than two weeks I get to meet my very first grand-daughter! I'm very excited to welcome her to the family, but I'll obviously be a bit distracted for a week of visitation.

Here's what I would like to know about your widows group:
Name of the group and/or the church sponsoring it: _________________
How long the group has been going:___________
City and state :_________________
Church office phone # or email: (not your personal phone)
How often the group meets: _________________
Function/purpose: (for example: grief support, or socials, or Bible studies, etc):
One or two sentences describing your usual meeting:
An idea you've used that would be good to share with other groups:
Anything else you think we'd like to know:

Thank you very much!

Friday, December 26, 2014

" Preserve" Your Blessings & Memories for 2015

Do you preserves fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies? We can preserve all sorts of foods, but why not preserve the blessings too? Use this “Blessing Jar” to count your blessings in the new year. It’s so easy. Starting January 1st, write down any good thing that happens to you or your family on small Post-its or scraps of paper. Write whenever they happen, it doesn’t have to be every day, or sometimes it might be several times a day! Write just enough to jog your memory: you only need a few words and a few seconds of time. Fold them up and “preserve” them in your Blessing Jar.

* surprise gifts
* accomplished goals
* the beauty of nature
* "LOL" moments
* memories to save
* daily blessings!

Then choose a holiday at the end of 2015 —like Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Open your jar and see what the Lord did for you throughout the year! Continue this habit and soon you’ll have a jar for each year.
 

This is my 2014 Blessing Jar. All I used was an old jelly jar
and a few sheets of paper cut into small squares about 1.5 x
1.5 inches. I kept mine on the windowsill by my kitchen sink
so it was easy to remember to jot stuff down.
I fixed up some Blessing Jars for my Sunday School class last
week. Here are the "ingredients:"
* mason jar and lid
* a small 4-pack of Post-Its from Walmart for about $1.00
* a pen
* a "recipe card" on which I copied and pasted
 the text in blue ink above
 
Put the Post-It's, pen and card into the jar, add the lid
and a bow, and a label.

I made the labels on my printerwith Avery 22804 labels. There's a template at their
website, and if I can do it, anyone can. :)

It was so easy to make a dozen of these to take to my class.
I hope they enjoy them this year, and I hope you will like
making your own and maybe sharing them with your widow
group or Sunday School class or Bible study group too.