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Church holds gala event for local widows

Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: April 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this; to care for the Widows (James Chapter 1: Verse 127)

Resting in a quiet neighborhood south of Brooksville is a quaint and cozy community church.

But on Friday night, First Baptist Church of Garden Grove was the setting for a Royal Ball, complete with King and Queen and a creative cast of royal Palace staff.

The Fellowship Hall was decorated with the palace’s finest décor and the kitchen was active with preparation for a six course meal.

A healthy turnout of 25 distinguished guests, dressed in their finest, were treated to an evening of enchantment.

First Baptist Church of Garden Grove, under Pastor James and Angie Caskey, isn’t without creative energy. The congregation is well-treated to events that center on lavish themes and elaborate productions.

“From Rags to Riches: A Cinderella Story” was presented for the Annual Widows’ Banquet.

The church has 29 widows, Pastor James Caskey said. The annual event was presented to them and their guests.

“We wanted to give our widows an opportunity to enjoy themselves even though they have suffered the loss of their husbands,” said Angie Caskey. “It comes from the heart, just to share the love of Christ.”

The theme wasn’t picked by accident, Angie said. In fact, the story of Cinderella provided a metaphor for the acceptance of Christ into the lives of believers.

“We want widows to know that right around the corner, in their own neighborhood, is a place they can come to enjoy themselves and not be alone.”

Angie Caskey’s degree in theater from Western Michigan came in handy and was evident in the quality of the production, which included a well-organized and eager staff.

The event began at 5 p.m. with an opening prayer and an elaborate six-course meal that kicked off with a generous plate of gouda and cheddar cheese and wafers, a creamy meat and cheese wheel, fluffy spanakopita with sliced roasted red pepper, meatballs covered in a honey glaze, ambrosia d’eldora, and a final course of fine chocolates.

Entertainment was provided with a comical skit involving the court jester, Shanda Maldonado, and several cast members including Lord Blitherblather Von Fuzziwig (Miguel Maldonado); the Head Butler, Sir Slimjim Longfellow (Pastor James Caskey); butlers Don Juan Biscotti (Don Scott) and Sir Willhebe Archisbald (Bill Toomer); the Fairy Godmother (Diana Toomer); and ladies Sandy of Eckertsville (Sandy Eckert) and Ty de la Sisco (Ty Sisco).

And the guests were then treated to a fantasy carriage ride, hosted by Avalon West Carriage Services.

The final carriage ride for guests included a tight group of three who are very active in the church. “We call ourselves the Graceful Ladies,” Patsy Cummings said, who lost her husband more than 18 years ago.

“They started this widow’s group, but we didn’t want to be called the widows,” Cummings added with a smile.

The group is very involved with activities at their church, which they said are scheduled about every six weeks. “We have a lot of fun here.”

First Baptist Church of Garden Grove is located at 18160 Spangler Ave., Brooksville.

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