Women of different faiths and backgrounds gathered inside Fort Stewart’s Main Post Chapel Nov. 8 for a special Protestant Women of the Chapel event.
Protestant Women of the Chapel is an international organization focused on uniting women associated with the military and those who attend ministries held at the main chapels on military bases.
Mara Tate, Fort Stewart PWOC in-reach coordinator, said PWOCs can be found all over the globe.
“It’s a ministry for women to teach, develop and involve; meet together, all nationalities, all ages, all women of every season of life. All denominations together,” Tate said. “We get to know one another and study the bible.”
Charmette Brewer Reed, PWOC member, said as a senior, military retiree and wife, she felt welcomed at the meetings.
“I was impressed by the generations coming together, sharing knowledge, praying together,” Reed said. “Many of us get together outside of the chapel and do things together. It is an opportunity to really connect. That’s what drew me, so PWOC is all encompassing. There are things that I have learned that I’m just so grateful for.”
One aspect of PWOC is community outreach. PWOC members coordinated a free market at the chapel on Oct. 20 where military families can come in and shop for free.
Tate said she was excited to do third annual free market at Fort Stewart. She’s participated in a free market at every installation she’s moved to.
“The first year we had 300 families, the second we had 1,096 families and this year we had about 1,000 families that came through those doors that were blessed this year,” Tate said.
Reed and other PWOC members sorted through donated items and organized the chapel space so it was easy to navigate.
“We saw that line go all the way around the chapel to come in and be blessed,” Reed said. “What really impressed me were the women that came out that were pregnant and got a lot of really good things for their children, so they would have a good beginning. It was an amazing experience.”
Tate said the donated items came from all over Georgia. Some items were gently used and others brand new. Families shopped for furniture, shoes, clothes, blankets, electronics, household items and toys.
“Anything you would find in the stores, we had for families to come in and take for free. It was a blessing to all, all the way around,” Tate said.
Everything month PWOC puts on a special themed event. This month’s theme was seed time and harvest. As women filed into the room laughing and talking, they took club photos with a green harvest backdrop. When the program started they played games, sang worship songs, watched a dance performance and listened to guest Chaplain Alison Ward.
PWOC is the first place Tate said she goes when moving to a new installation. She’s been a part of the organization for 12 years.
Tate described the group as a safe place for women, in any stage of their lives, where immediate friendships are made.
PWOC meets every Wednesday 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Main Post Chapel. Free child care is provided along with food.
“We would love to invite you to join us at PWOC,” Tate said. “We would love to have anybody come and we welcome you with open arms.”