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Author, lecturer Maaga leads women’s retreat

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POSTED October 18, 2013 12:59 a.m.

Noted author and highly sought-after lecturer Mary Maaga is the featured speaker at a retreat Saturday hosted by the United Methodist Women of St. Paul’s Church in Manteca.

Held every two years, the retreat will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the church’s Fireside Room. Registration and continental breakfast will be from 8:30 to 9 a.m. immediately followed by the first session in the sanctuary. The second session after the break will start at 10:30 a.m., also in the sanctuary. Buffet luncheon will be served from noon to 1 p.m. Following lunch will be an opportunity to meet with the speaker and browse her books. The author will be available for book signing as well for any copies of her books purchased.

Cost per person for the retreat is $20 which includes lunch and breakfast.

While the retreat is sponsored by the United Methodist Women of St. Paul’s, “this is open to anyone who would like to come,” regardless of their church affiliation, said Betty Pinol, communications officer for the sponsoring group.

Maaga, who holds a Ph.D. with distinction from Drew University as well as an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, is the author of “Hearing the Voices of Jamestown,” an inside look at the tragic suicide murders in Jamestown, Guyana, in 1978. Her other book, “The Alabaster Orphan - A Mystic Girl’s Journey With Jesus,” which she wrote following the death of her husband while caring for her two children and doing volunteer work in her community at the same time.

Pinol said the theme of the day’s lectures will center on “the power of women.” The topics will include the women in the life of Jesus and what became of them, why women’s power were “restricted” in the early church and how that is different today. The retreat, she said, will also address the issue of “women’s spirituality and power in Christianity” during the time of Jesus and the way it is today.

The women’s retreat  is held only once every two years.

“We retreat every two years because if we’re to get someone who’s distinguished and has a message, you have to have the money for it. We collect the money and then we get someone who is highly distinguished,” Pinol explained.

Besides being an author, Maaga was a lecturer in religious studies in Scotland and was named Most Inspirational Person in El Dorado County. While serving as senior pastor at Foothills United Methodist, church attendance doubled.

She holds a Master in Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

United Methodist Women has been around as long as St. Paul’s in Manteca, and has sponsored a wide variety of church and community projects. One of them is the Nearly New shop, a thrift store which opened some two decades ago and is run and operated by the members. The store is located in the building that once housed the now-defunct Manteca News on East Yosemite Avenue. Proceeds from the sale of donated items at the store go to the group’s many philanthropic activities that they support. These include the pantry program on Fridays at St. Paul’s when food baskets, which often include fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer, are given away to needy individuals and families.

To make a reservation for Saturday’s women’s retreat, or to find more about St. Paul’s United Methodist Women, call the church office at (209) 823-7154.

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is located at the corner of Powers Avenue and East North Street in Manteca.

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