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Women revive Holy Week Salad Luncheon

Mar. 29—Nearly 200 women attended the revitalized Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheon, giving it an enthusiastic reception.

Held at the Masonic Scottish Rite Center in McAlester, the Maundy Thursday event marked the first time it had been held since 2019, following its 2020 cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers of the Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheon decided the time had come to bring it back — and local women gave the 52nd Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheon a huge response.

Those attending heard a motivational presentation from Laura Thompson Stockbridge and were treated to a couple of songs from students singing with the Puterbaugh Upper Elementary Choir.

Women attending the event who did not work outside the home were asked to bring a salad of their choice for the Holy Week Salad Luncheon.

They ended up with two tables full of a variety of salads — everything from the lettuce and tomato salad, to macaroni salads, corn dishes, potato salads and many more.

Those attending included Paula McGee.

"This is the first time I've been able to go," McGee said.

McGee, who is a retired school teacher, said she'd never been able to attend any of the previous Women's Holy Week Salad Luncheons due to her classroom duties.

"I always wanted to come; I was always in the classroom," she said.

Mozelle Proctor said she's glad to see the event's comeback.

"Oh yes, it's wonderful," she said. Proctor said she's attended all of the previous Holy Week Luncheons.

Dorothy Kennedy said she's also glad for the event's return.

"I'm always glad for the fellowship of other women I don't see all the time," she said.

Megan Ciolli recalled attending the event with her mother, the late Kathy Brod, and also said she's glad to see the Holy Week Salad Luncheon return.

Mistress of Ceremonies Jeanie Lee Dancer from the First Presbyterian Church welcomed the group, with Celia Scherman of First United Methodist Church providing the opening prayer.

"I don't know about you, but I've missed this event for the last four years," Dancer said.

When the music began, Director Christina Braswell led the Puterbaugh Upper Elementary Choir in renditions of "Laudate Dominium" and "Amazing Grace," with accompaniment on piano from Lisa Lawson, Lakewood Christian Church.

In her featured presentation, Stockbridge spoke about the three-day time period from Good Friday until Easter Sunday. She noted Saturday is rarely mentioned.

"We sometimes call it Silent Saturday, because God is working in the background," Stockbridge said.

She also spoke about the presence of God, including in times of grief.

"God is always there," she said. "God never forsakes us.

"God has never abandoned us and never will," said Stockbridge.

As the event ended, Shanna Lovitt, of First United Methodist Church delivered the closing prayer.

Joining together to bring back the Holy Week Salad Luncheon were women from the following churches:

—First Presbyterian Church, host church.

—First United Methodist Church, prayers and publicity.

—Lakewood Christian Church, music.

—All Saints Episcopal Church, decorations.

Organizers of the 52nd Women's Holy week Salad Luncheon are already looking ahead to 2025.

In her welcoming remarks, Dancer asked for women from two more churches to volunteer to help with next year's event.