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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

Fudge fellowship: Pastor’s wife treats tavern clientele

(June 9, 2002)

Geri Swope, retired after more than 40 years at the Assemblies of God Oregon District office, regularly brings homemade goodies to former co-workers and businesspeople in her hometown of Brooks, Ore.

Expanding territory: Geri Swope includes a tavern on her places to take homemade goodies.

But one Saturday night in 2000, her familiar fudge tray ventured into unfamiliar territory — the local tavern. "As I opened that heavy, windowless door," says the petite woman, now 79, "I had no idea what to expect; however, I remembered the voice of the Lord calling me specifically to go there."

Since then, on the first Saturday night of each month, Swope steps outside her culture and lives out her faith in another corner of her community.

The tavern customers and staff look forward to her monthly visits, which are spent taking an interest in the people.

"I go around and serve everybody fudge," she says. "One man can’t eat nuts, so I bring him a special plate without nuts, with his name on it."

Swope says some employees remember her from their past. "One lady who works there came up and hugged me," Swope says. "She said the fudge tray reminded her of when I brought cookies to her Sunday school class when she was a girl."

Others in the close-knit farming community remember Swope. "One of the customers was a young man who used to go to our church," Swope says. "I slid up on the bar stool next to him and asked when he was going to return to the house of the Lord."

Her presence is a welcome sight, mainly because she is non-confrontational and shows genuine concern. "I told the owner of the bar, ‘I have your name in my Bible, and I pray for you every day,’ and he thanked me."

At Christmastime, Swope included a Christmas card photo of herself and her husband, Robert, a retired A/G pastor, on the fudge tray for the tavern owner. "He put the picture above the bar — we’re like family to him now."

Swope says her atypical method of touching lives requires patience and prayer. "This is a whole new world for me," she says. "I would never go in there with a Bible and preach at them. I’m willing to love them where they are."

— John Cockroft

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