‘Uniquely gifted’

Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff - Contributed photo
Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff
— image credit: Contributed photo

One day a year a group of Orcas Islanders gather to eat lunch and celebrate women in the community.

“They are the heart of a community, whether it be a mother, daughter, a sister,” said organizer Susan Clark. “We acknowledge the gift God gives each and every one of us to share and embrace with community all that we have in common and rejoice in that.”

This year’s Orcas Island Community Church women’s luncheon is 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Camp Moran – Environmental Learning Center (Discover Pass required if not parking on the grounds of the ELC).

The lunch is $15 and the theme is “uniquely gifted” to honor the women who serve the community with their many artistic and life skills. There will be a display of handcrafted works by Orcas Island women.

Clark said last year’s lunch featured a fashion show and participants were every age from three to 80. This year’s speaker is in her early 20s, which may draw a diverse age group.

“We encourage a whole different spectrum of the age demographic,” said Clark.

Muriel “Mo” Gallo-Chasanoff, shown right, will speak at the event.

“I was so honored – and terrified,” said  Gallo-Chasanoff about being asked to speak at the event. “The women at Orcas Island Community Church, so loving and so wise, changed my life seven years ago when they introduced me to the faith.”

Her parents are Lisa Byers, director of OPAL, and Laurie Gallo, who is a long-time island resident of Orcas. Her father, Mathew Chasanoff is an Orcas Elementary School teachers.

After graduating from Grinnell College in Iowa, Gallo-Chasanoff decided to go into Christian ministry. Two days after speaking at the luncheon she will graduate with a masters in divinity and enter into full-time ministry at Vancouver School of Theology and Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her passions are children and youth, pastoral care and helping people of all ages and stages of faith to develop an intimate relationship with God.

“We’re going to be talking about our gifts, and how amazing things happen when we use our gifts in service to God,’’ said Gallo-Chasanoff. “And I know firsthand how powerful those gifts can be because those women at OICC changed my life.”

Clark said that the event has grown since it started about six years ago, but she hopes that it continues to bring attendees not just from Orcas but from other islands as well as people from off-island.

“Come on, come all,” she said.

Reservations are required and registration forms are available at the Orcas Island Community Church. Reservations are accepted no later than April 26.

If you would like to lend OICC something for the luncheon display, call Church Secretary Monique Turner at the church office at 376-6422.

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