March 21, 2018
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Local Christian women’s club to disband

By Joni Averill

For a half-century, the Bangor-Brewer Christian Women’s Club has welcomed women to its nondenominational organization that is associated with Stonecroft Ministries, an international organization based in Kansas City, Mo.

The mission of Stonecroft, according to its website, “is to equip and encourage women to impact their communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” with an emphasis on evangelism.

“Our vision is to provide global leadership in reaching women for Jesus Christ,” the website states.

The local organization, which was incorporated in April 1960, is led by chair Nilda Pettingale, Bangor; prayer coordinator Barbara Dow of Hampden, vice chair Sandi Blanchette of Orland and financial coordinator Germaine Cormier of Brewer.

But now, Sandi told me, “the time has come for the Bangor-Brewer Christian Women’s Club to cease to exist.”

“We had many wonderful women pass away lately and have not had people able to volunteer to take their places. So we decided it was time to go out with a bang instead of a whimper.”

To that end, club members cordially invite area women to attend their final meeting from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12, at Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road in Bangor.

Your $10 admission includes dinner, an instructional program and entertainment by local recording artist Kristyn Murphy, who is known as the Barefoot Soprano.

The instructional program will be “a guest who will give us ideas on how to help ladies with thinning hair,” Sandi said.

You can learn more about the Barefoot Soprano by visiting

Of the entertainment, Sandi said she has heard Kristyn a number of times and “can promise a wonderful experience for the ladies who attend.”

If you would like to attend, you should call Sandi at 944-8444.

As with many other area women’s organizations, its membership is declining and finding women to fill the positions and committees required for it to continue has been too big a hurdle for this club to overcome.

“It was a nice group, and we’ve had newcomers every month,” Sandi said, “but we just haven’t got the people in the support areas for our volunteer committees.

“Throughout the years, the club has been run totally by volunteers, and we’ve had magnificent people.

“They were just wonderful, but many of them have passed away and so many work [outside the home] now.

“These women we lost: I know nobody is irreplaceable, but they were wonderful women who have been doing this.”

Sandi said one of those longtime club members was (the late) Trudy Bragg, “who had been a volunteer at Eastern Maine Medical Center, forever, and she made sure we gave to several different groups. Right now we are just struggling to survive.”

And while the club will cease to exist after the Aug. 12, meeting, “we’ll still be having prayer groups and having Bible study for Stonecroft,” Sandi said.

Sandi explained that Stonecroft associates do have to follow “rules and regulations,” but “we always have to be extremely careful never, never, to promote one denomination over another. We just help bring women to the Lord.”

During its half-century in this area, the club has contributed to the community in a variety of ways, including supporting Spruce Run, the Bangor-based domestic abuse agency serving Penobscot County.

The Bangor-Brewer Christian Women’s Club’s legacy of Christian support for women will live on through its former members.


This week, on what would have been her August birthday, we bid a final farewell to a friend who taught us what it means not only to live with grace and dignity, but also how to die with grace and dignity.

A Bangor native and longtime supporter of the arts and numerous community organizations, Sandra Eslin Kelly Bryant died of cancer in mid-July.

Her brother, sister, sons, family and closest friends deeply grieve her loss, but all of us who were privileged to be part of her life will miss her as well.

We are eternally grateful to Sandra for demonstrating, in her very special way, how one can live life to the fullest, no matter what obstacles you face; how to cope with illness, no matter what challenges are present; and, most especially, how to make a graceful, dignified exit, no matter what you otherwise would wish.

She left us as she lived, with no task undone, with peace in her heart, and gratitude in ours.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402;; 990-8288.

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