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The Bible _ woman to woman

Every Tuesday morning, they take time out of their busy schedules to meet.

They come together to study the Bible. They are members of the Woman to Woman Bible Study at Countryside Baptist Church, 2525 McMullen Booth Road.

This is the 10th year for the non-denominational Woman to Woman group, says its administrative leader, Dot Morris of Palm Harbor. It includes women of many different faiths.

It is limited to women, she said, "because we feel it gives them freedom of discussion. They then go back into their homes and spread the word."

Ranging in age from 20 to 80, about 140 women meet weekly except for the weeks of Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some are young mothers, some hold part-time jobs and others are retired.

"Because of the time we meet, we do not have many women who work full-time," Morris said.

The format for the hour-half Bible study includes small group discussions followed by a lecture by Karen Davis of Clearwater, who recaps the particular chapter covered that week.

Davis is the founder of Woman to Woman, a branch of the Largo-Seminole Women's Bible Study. She had been a member of the latter group for about 14 years when she was asked to start another group. She now lectures for both groups: Tuesdays in Clearwater and Thursdays in Largo.

There are some strict ground rules for participating in the Woman to Woman group, Morris said.

First, the women pick up the next week's questions at the end of a session. "In order to be allowed to talk in the small group session, they must do the homework," she said.

That includes reading the chapter and bringing the written answers to the next session.

Other rules forbid discussing one's church or denomination or asking others their affiliations, talking politics,soliciting products, and distributing literature to other class members.

Each of the eight groups has a leader and less than 20 members. The women stay in the same group for a year. "Also, we try to have a mix of different ages, religious backgrounds and marital status in each group," Morris said.

"That way, they are able to learn from each other."

Lisa Newton of Safety Harbor said: "Last year, I had to drop out for a while, and believe me, it was sorely missed. This is something I look forward to each week. It's a time when I can grow as a wife and a mother."

Newton, a mother of two young children, also teaches physical education three days a week at a Christian middle school.

There are no fees for the Bible study, but donations are welcome. The money helps to defray copying and child care costs, Morris said. This year almost 40 children, from infants to 5-year-olds, stay in the nursery during the sessions.

There also is a prayer room available for 15 minutes before the small group meets at 9:30 a.m.

Morris said there is a second Woman to Woman group and a men's group in Tarpon Springs. The administrative leader for the men's group, started last year, is Morris' husband, James.

Want to know more?

For information on the Bible study groups in Clearwater and Tarpon Springs, call Dot or James Morris, 937-6097; for the Largo-Seminole Women's Bible Study, which meets at the Keene Terrace Baptist Church in Largo, call administrative leader Candy Rushing, 524-1003.