About Apples of Gold

Skaneateles, New York
Skaneateles Journal-Religion
June 13, 2007
Used by Permission:
Linda Ober, Editor

Apples of Gold Article

Mentoring Program Brings Women Together to share Family, Kitchen, Scripture, Experiences

Ann Adams
Special to the Skaneateles Journal

Diane Farrell was listening to 93.7 FM’s Family Life Network when she heard about women mentoring other women from Focus on the Family Ministries. Her ears perked up.

Others like Trudy Scarr were tuned in that same day and equally impressed. Each shared the idea with their pastor and director of Women’s ministries at Grace chapel and were encouraged to find out more.

What intrigues them most about APPLES OF GOLD mentoring was that it centered on topics near and dear to their hearts – building intergenerational friendships, cooking, marriage and family, making a welcoming home - and all of it based on scripture.

What a way to tap into the wisdom of the more experienced wives, thought Farrell, knowing many of them could apply scripture to everyday life. She thought it would give them a sense of joy and purpose if their own children were away at college or if their families simply lived too far away.

Surely some of the newer wives would appreciate having a mature Christian woman look out for them, someone who’s been through the same things. A trusting mentor could offer compassion and understanding within a framework of scripture.

And so Farrell has helped to organize an Apples of Gold group at Grace Chapel.

Betty Huizenga, the founder of the Apples of Gold program in Michigan, bases it on two simple passages from the Bible. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

The second passage is from Titus 2:3-5 (RSV). “Bid the older women likewise to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink, “ the passage reads. “They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands an children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.”

Huizenga feels this passage strongly suggests that older women be admirable examples to younger ones. Lessons about kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity and hospitality are taught over the six-week course.

This seemed to resonate with organizers of the program at Grace chapel. If the hearts of women are submissive to God’s will, family relationships will grow, and women an care for others with a joyful spirit instead of a heavy heart, they said.

After hearing the radio program, Farrell attended and Apples of Gold training in Michigan, and then Scarr and Bradley shadowed an Apples of Gold class run in the North Syracuse First Baptist Church.

They're now enjoying the fruits of their first mentoring program. Six mentors and seven younger women have met the last six Saturdays for three hours at Gail Cowley’s home, where lovely china was already set on a gold tablecloth when guests arrived. The young wives were greeted warmly by the planner, host and several mentors while the mentor-chef was preparing for the day’s cooking lesson.

The classes are divided into three parts. First there is a one-hour cooking class, of which the book gives suggested recipes, or planners can use their own. The next hour is a scriptural lesson, and then there is table talk time, which is continued discussion from the cooking class and/or the lesson while enjoying the meal prepared earlier.

A recent class found participants deeply immersed in a fusion cooking class – a blend of Chinese, Japanese and Korean, with special guest chef, Chris Uyehara. He filled in for Scarr, who has done vegetarian and Mexican.

They gathered around the island absorbing the exotic smells of freshly peeled ginger, curry and soy while showing how to properly use utensils for the day’s recipes.

Typically, classes zero in on preparation, including grocery shopping, presentation, table settings and even etiquette. According to Huizenga’s book, chefs and planners are allowed complete creativity.

After the class, a mentor leads the scriptural lesson, and eventually the ladies sit down to a table of carefully laid china to enjoy the meal.

“Sometimes the lesson continues or conversation drifts back to the cooking class, but either way the wives have been pampered, embraced, trained and guided in the way that would honor God,” Farrell said.

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