“We’re all here because MOPS was there for us when we needed it,” Kathy Curtis said as she welcomed the women to her house recently for a Mariners MOPS Alumni reunion. “MOPS impacted our marriages, our children, our friendships, really, our entire lives. We’re so excited to reconnect with old friends, to have fun, to enjoy good food and to take a trip down memory lane.”
MOPS, which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers, is an international support network of women who share the common bond of having preschool age children. It is not a Bible study. MOPS is a non-profit organization with the stated mission of “encouraging, equipping and developing every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.”
The first MOPS meeting occurred in 1973 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, when eight women gathered to talk, laugh, eat, watch a craft demonstration, and read a short Christian devotional. That small beginning planted the seeds of the MOPS program, which soon spread to churches across the country, and eventually overseas.
In 1981, MOPS established a Board of Directors and originally incorporated as MOPS Outreach, and later as MOPS, Inc. In 1988, it was renamed MOPS International, Inc. to reflect its international impact. Chartered MOPS groups meet several times a month in more than 3,800 churches throughout the U.S. and in 32 other countries. There are groups for Military mothers and teen mothers. More than 110,000 women are currently registered in MOPS groups.
The first MOPS meeting to be held at Mariners Church was in 1986. Kathy first joined Mariners MOPS when she moved to the area, and it met so many of her needs that she stayed for eight years. She later volunteered for two years in a mentoring position to give the kind of encouragement to young mothers that she benefitted from so much.
Kathy hosted the Mariners MOPS Alumni reunion to connect with old friends as well as to let the women hear updates from MOPS International as the ministry celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Sherry Suratt, CEO and President of MOPS International, and Director Karen Aalund were in town from Colorado for the reunion.
“You’ve played an important part in reaching over two million moms and their families, representing 13 million lives throughout MOPS International’s 40 year history,” Sherry said. “Together we will reach thousands more moms.”
Newport resident Renee Poivre enjoyed the reunion and recalling her years in MOPS.
“I loved the camaraderie of MOPS, and meeting women with the same values,” she said. “It also really helped me with the transition from working full-time to being a stay-at-home mom. It gave me a sense of purpose, and I really appreciated learning how to relax, enjoy and value the time with my children while they young. I went back to be a Mentor Mom, to share the same wisdom, nurture and love that I got there. “
“MOPS helped open my eyes to raising kids to love God, and they had a wonderful children’s program where my children were safe, and they learned about God’s love too,” Renee continued. “We were really encouraged in our marriages, and I always called my husband on the way home from MOPS and told him what I learned that day, and told him that I loved him.”
Newport resident Denise Banning was also thankful for what she received from MOPS, but especially appreciated its spiritual impact.
“MOPS was life-transforming for me and it changed the trajectory of my life,” Denise said. “Having children softened my heart towards God, because of the miracle of life, but MOPS was instrumental in guiding me to a relationship with Jesus. The wisdom and spiritual guidance we received created a hunger in me to go to Bible studies and learn more about God.”
“MOPS was a perfect combination of teaching, support and fellowship,” she continued. “I was in MOPS for 3 or 4 years, but in the sixteen years since I began it, I don’t think there’s been a year without some sort of Bible study or Christian support group since then. I credit those early years in MOPS as enhancing my joy and passion for the early childhood years, as well as being the beginning of my rich and rewarding spiritual life today.”
For further information, go to www.marinerschurch.org/women
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]