Members of clergy, community leaders and those interested in enjoying fellowship and good food met at the Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church this Tuesday for the annual GFWC Women’s Club of Linthicum Heights Prayer Breakfast.
Now in its 42nd year, the Prayer Breakfast is a time for club members to meet and honor those in the community who make a difference. This year, the breakfast was also held in honor of former club president Fran Thomas, who recently passed away. After the club held a moment of silence for Thomas, Rev. Michael Bynum of Linthicum Heights UMC kicked off the breakfast by saying the Invocation, after which, Dottie Gregg, the president of the Maryland Federation of Women’s Club spoke. Father Michael DeAscanis of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church presented grace.
Although the room was filled with members who have been to the club’s first Prayer Breakfast, not every attendee was a seasoned veteran.
Mallory Noble, who moved to Linthicum a year ago, attended the breakfast for the first time this year. Joining the group about a month ago, Noble says the club’s substantial volunteering efforts is one of the reasons why she joined.
“I love to volunteer,” said Noble, who volunteers on Fort Meade for the Enlisted Spouses Club. “Any way I can help to support the community, I’m all for that.”
Helping those who live in the area is one of the foundations of the Woman’s Club, as it organizes a variety of different fundraisers and donation collections throughout the year. The Prayer Breakfast is no exception, as all proceeds from the event benefited Arundel House of Hope and Hope for All, two local organizations that provide clothing, shelter and other necessities to those in need.
Representatives for both organizations attended the breakfast and spoke about the services they offer to the community, as well as to thank the club for its support.
Valuing the importance of volunteerism, the club also honored a Linthicum resident for all of the work he has done to help the town in which he lives.
Paul Coakley, who was awarded the title of Honorary Mayor of Linthicum this year, was recognized for his work serving the community. Among his many accolades, Coakley founded the Linthicum Decorating Committee and currently serves as its president. He is also the president of the Veterans’ Memorial Committee.
For Noble, Coakley receiving the honor was the highlight of the breakfast.
“I had no idea my next door neighbor Paul was being honored,” she said. “They were describing him and his wife, Judy, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I know him!’ That was my favorite part of the whole breakfast.”
For others, it was the music. Pianist and organist Steve Stem, who served as organist for over 30 years for Reisterstown United Methodist Church, was on hand to play three songs at the breakfast, including “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
“I loved all of it, but my favorite part will always be the music,” said Denita Bennett of Mt. Olive Freewill Baptist Church, which also supports the community through volunteerism and events. “It is very lovely and very uniting.”
Rev. Dr. William F. R. Gilroy, Pastor Emeritus of St. John Lutheran Church, gave the speech “When God Calls.” Gilroy graduated Boys’ Latin, was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus and served on its board. After graduating from college, Gilroy received a commission in the US Navy Chaplain Corps in 1980 and retired in 2006 with the rank of captain.
He is credited as the founder of the Honorary Mayor of Linthicum in 2006 and also helped to create the Linthicum Veterans Memorial. After serving as pastor of St. John’s for 25 years and retiring in 2009, he wrote the book “Let God Chart Your Course.” The book was available at the breakfast and Gilroy donated all the proceeds from the day’s sale to the club.
The breakfast ended with all of the attendees singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” with Stem playing the piano.
For more information about the GFWC’s Woman Club of Linthicum Heights, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GFWCofLinthicumHeights/.
Email your North County news from Brooklyn Park, Pumphrey and Linthicum to Heather Vecchioni at email@example.com.