Faithful volunteer leads Protestant Women of the Chapel
By Lisa R. Rhodes Staff writer
When Kathy Van Winkle heard Saleta Johnson pray at a women's prayer breakfast in March 2005, she knew Johnson would be the perfect person to be president of Fort Meade's Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC).
"Her love of the Lord was really evident. She was someone that people would follow," said Van Winkle, a former member of the PWOC's nominating committee, noting that Johnson displayed an air of confidence as she prayed about God's purpose for women. "She's very at ease in her religious life," said Van Winkle.
Today, Johnson is nearing the end of her year-long tenure as the volunteer president of PWOC, a interdenominational Christian ministry for women that meets at Argonne Hills Chapel. The group meets once a week for praise, worship and Bible study and once a month for prayer and workshop.
"PWOC aims to lead women to accept Jesus as their personal savior and Lord and teach women the foundational truths of worship and Bible study," said Johnson, who was elected to the presidency in May 2005.
As president, Johnson oversees the group's Board of Directors and oversees its 16 committees, ranging from publicity and hospitality to decorations and child care. But more importantly, Johnson said the president leads the members by being their "spiritual example." Johnson volunteers with PWOC because "I feel I have a ministry call to women." Her goal as president has been to help the members "grow deeper in love. To love our neighbors as we do ourselves."
Johnson said she prayed about her decision to become president after Van Winkle and the nominating committee approached her in early 2005. "Through prayer, God made it plain that this was something I was supposed to do," said Johnson, who has been a PWOC member for almost five years. "Once you are in the position to reap the benefits, it's time to give back."
Under Johnson's leadership, PWOC has begun to reach out to working women and single mothers by starting an evening religious seminar program. The first seminar, planned for March 13 and led by Dr. Sally Harvey, a psychologist, will be "Balancing Work, Family and Your Relationship with God." PWOC wants to "reach out to younger women who don't know the Lord," as part of its ministry, Johnson said.
The group has also started a Home School co-op Program for women who homeschool their children. The program allows women to attend PWOC's weekly Bible study group while their children complete their homeschool studies. Mair Milteer, PWOC's secretary and a homeschooling Mom, started the program in August with Johnson's support. "She was very receptive," said Milteer, who praised Johnson for her sound judgment and vision.
Johnson said her volunteer work with PWOC is an extension of her religious faith. "I think it's just good to give. When we give our time, it shows we care." Johnson also volunteers to lead Bible study groups at nursing homes and women's prisons through Aglow International, an international, interdenominational Christian ministry that has local chapters across the country. Johnson, a prayer counselor with the organization, said she volunteers her time because of her belief in the Christian teaching of doing good works for the less fortunate.
"I think those things are important. The elderly are sometimes forgotten and women in prison are often looked down upon because of mistakes they've made," said Johnson, noting that she would want someone to reach out to her if she were in the same situation.
Chaplain Josephine Pinkney, chaplain for the 70th Intelligence Wing, said when she comes across Airmen and their wives who are in need of prayer, she refers them to Johnson. Pinkney, who ministers at Cavalry Chapel where Johnson is a member, said Johnson has created an outreach of ministry of prayer during her tenure as PWOC president. "She has helped us alot just by praying with people," said Pinkney, who called Johnson's prayer work "powerful."
Leatha Jones, a former PWOC president and a member of Aglow International, called Johnson a "strong Christian woman" who has done a good at being sensitive to the needs of PWOC's 30 members. "I believe that the women respect here and appreciate her leadership," said Jones, noting that Johnson may be nominated for a second term. "She has handled things with a lot of wisdom."
Editor's note: If you are interested in serving as a volunteer, contact Rushaunda Farmer, Volunteer Coordinator at Army Community Service (ACS) at 201-677-5590. Farmer will register you with the ACS Volunteer Corps and match you with a organization that needs your services.
Col. Brian P. Foley
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