G-A Christian Women's Fellowship marks 40 years

Shawn Hardy
Present and past leaders and co-leaders of the Greencastle-Antrim Christian Women's Fellowship are pictured on April 24 — 40 years after the group's first organizational meeting in April 1978. From left, front, Jenn Robertson, Janice Bartles, Jean Zimmerman, Helen Gearhart and Evangeline Myers. Back: Dotti Zimmerman, Gloria Stahl, Marie Musselman, Dorcas Gearhart, Lovina Baer and Saundra Wingert. Janice Bartles, Jean Zimmerman and Saundra Wingert are original members of the fellowship, while Dotti Zimmerman and Jenn Robertson are current co-leaders. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

Forty years ago in April 1978, the first organizational meeting was held for the Greencastle-Antrim Women's Fellowship.

The group, now known as the Greencastle-Antrim Christian Women's Fellowship, continues to meet monthly from September to May. The meetings are held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month in Evangelical Lutheran Church and feature a speaker, devotions, prayer and music.

The fellowship, along with the Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium, also organizes the National Day of Prayer observance, which will be held this year on Thursday, May 3.

 About the fellowship 

The fellowship traces its roots to "Vi" Hickey, wife of the Presbyterian minister, and Barbara Risser of Shady Maple Farm, who met over a pile of sweet corn at the Williamsport Pike farm, according to information provided by Jean Zimmerman, one of the original members who remains active in the fellowship.

Hickey and Risser talked about the need for a group in the area to meet the spiritual needs of women. They reached out to Zimmerman and soon the word got out that the fellowship was forming. Regular meetings began in September 1978.

The fellowship's purpose was and remains to lift up Jesus Christ in the community, to provide settings for fellowship and inspiration, to be alert to existing needs in the community and to encourage prayer for those in need.

National Day of Prayer 

On National Day of Prayer, there will be a service at 11 a.m. in the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church, 45 N. Washington St., followed by a half-hour outdoor observance in front of borough hall, located across the street from the church, beginning at 12:15 p.m. with the Rev. Floyd Myers, pastor of Greencastle Church of God, in charge. If it rains, the outdoor observance will be held under the portico of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

A variety of topics, music and Scriptures will be included in the one-hour service in the church. The theme is “Pray for America – UNITY," based on Ephesians 4:3 which says "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Greeters will include Janice Bartles, Gladys Fritz, Dorcas Gearhart, Annabelle Henry, Lorraine Hess, Doris Oberholzer and Esther Walck.

Participants include: pianist Dorthalee Wilson; presentation of flags and Pledge of Allegiance, America Heritage Girls, Otterbein United Brethren Church; welcome and opening prayer, Rev. David Rawley, pastor of Otterbein United Brethren Church; announcements, Dotti Zimmerman; music, Eileen Flenner; and interpreter (sign language) for hymns, Kelsey Marshall.

Prayers will be offered for the following categories:

Government – State Rep. Paul Schemel, 90th Legislative District

Business – Denise Hutchison, co-owner of Blue Heron Event Center

Churches – Ryan Whisel, family ministry director, First United Methodist Church

Families – Marcie Zimmerman, mother of three and grandmother of one

Education  – Angie Petersheim, administrator, Shalom Christian Academy

Military – Harold South, U.S. Army veteran

Fellowship leadership 

Over the past 40 years, the following leaders and co-leaders have served the fellowship:

1978-80 — Naomi Martin

1980-82 — Jean Zimmerman

1982-85 — Janice Bartles

1985-87 — Mary Davis

1987-88 — Karen Martin

1988-89 — Saundra Wingert

1989-90 — Linda Diehl

1990-91 — Phyllis Meyers

1991-93 — Barbara Risser and Jean Zimmerman

1993-95 — Helen Hill Hilda Eshleman

1995-96 — Hilda Eshleman and Ann Becker

1996-97 — Ann Becker

1997-2000 — Helen Gearhart and Jean Zimmerman

2000-02 — Marlene Roadcap and Evangeline Myers

2002-04 — Evangeline Myers and Lovina Baer

2004 -08 — Janice Bartles and Gloria Stahl

2008-10 — Marie Musselman and Dorcas Gearhart

2010-17 — Janice Bartles and Gloria Stahl

2017-18 — Dotti Zimmerman and Jenn Robertson