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Aglow International loves Sequim

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Hearts, minds and souls filled with love at Aglow International of Sequim’s February brunch.
A handful of members of the ecumenical Christian women’s group shared their love stories and how God helps their relationships.

Cliff Silliman and his wife, Jenna, Sequim Aglow president, said it took them time to start a relationship.

The couple met at church where Cliff served as associate pastor, but work and other relationships got in the way.

Jenna said she heard God say she would marry him.

“I immediately fell in love but I was going to ‘play it cool,’” Jenna said. 

She remained patient and became the church secretary to get to know Cliff more, but nothing intimate developed.

On a beach trip, she asked him about his feelings, but Cliff said he only was interested in spirituality.

Cliff quickly changed his mind, which led Jenna to ask, “How do you feel about me as a woman?”

“I see potential in you as a wife,” he said.

They began dating and one-year and one-week later they married, 30 years ago this May.
 
Sadie Hawkins serenade
Don and Paula Paulson soon will have been married for 54 years.

Paula instigated the romance because she wanted a date for an upcoming dance. She had a crush on the hall monitor, nicknamed “Don Juan.”

She overcame reluctance and asked him to go.

They started dating and married Aug. 11, 1956, and had five children.

They began attending church after their first child was born, but Don said he felt his relationship with God wasn’t as prominent as it is now. 

“Paula carried me for several years,” Don said.

“Seven,” Paula said joking.

“It caught up with me and we’ve been blessed for — coming up on — 54 years,” Don said.

Laugh through the good and bad times
Fred and Joanne Hatfield said that early in their marriage, times were tough.

“When we were first married, we were about as broke as you could be,” Fred said.

The couple met through the Jesus People Movement and wed about 34 years ago in Massachusetts.

“God has been good and faithful to us,” Joanne said.

Fred found a job as a commercial fisherman and their finances rebounded.

One date they’ll never forget is when the Hatfields ate a romantic dinner and then decided to take a stroll on the beach. They got caught up in the romantic evening and forgot about the water.

While they were kissing the tide was coming in and, before they could react, a large wave soaked them.

They drove home drenched but the two seemed in good spirits about it now.

“God has a good sense of humor,” Joanne said.

Love from above
At the end of the Aglow meeting, Jenna reminded everyone that they have someone who loves them dearly — Jesus.

“No one is alone, because we all have a lover of our souls,” Jenna said.

“The pressure is off (Cliff). The love of Jesus soothes the soul.”

Aglow International operates in 170 nations with the mind-set that men and women reconcile in the body of Christ as God designed.

“God intended men and women to work together,” said longtime Aglow member Connie Graham of Port Angeles.

The clubs also want to restore and mobilize women around the world and amplify awareness of global concerns from a biblical perspective.

“All that everybody has in common is a belief in God. Denominations don’t matter here,” said Laura Storm, a member from Port Ludlow. 

“We’re a ministry of reconciliation.”

In 1991, Aglow International began reaching out to Muslim communities through prayer, mission trips and an Arabic TV station to bring them to Christianity.

In 2001, the group began communicating with Jewish communities because of an understanding that Christianity’s beginnings are owed to the Jewish people.

Aglow women travel each year into Israel to meet and greet Orthodox and Messianic communities.

Sequim A-growing
Aglow International of Sequim meets on the first Thursday of each month at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Graham said no matter where or which meeting you go to, you can find a new friend.

“It’s a feeling of sisterhood, no matter where you go,” she said.

“The basic thing behind our meetings is for people to come in and see what Christianity is all about.”

Each meeting features a speaker on a related topic with worship songs and prayer. The meetings also are open to men.

Sequim Aglow reaches out to the community through visits to Alzheimer’s and adult care homes, Christmas caroling, prayer groups and Bible studies.

April 30-May 1, Sequim Aglow will host the Olympic Peninsula Area Spring Retreat with speakers, music and community-building sessions.

For more information on Aglow International of Sequim, call Jenna Silliman at 681-2611 or see Web site www.aglow.org.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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