Jenniebug...I'm so sorry! Your friend mentioned she'd be doing some research, right? Maybe you could suggest she check out CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) since Unitarians might seem less "strange/scary" to her seeing how you're living in New England. There's a great "sermon" on the CUUPS website (http://www.cuups.org/content2/aboutc...ansamongus.php
) that talks about paganism in a very "non-threatening to christianity" sort of way. You could also tell your women's group that you are a Unitarian...I know many people who join their local UU church in order to provide their children (or themselves) with a socially familiar religion while following a pagan path (on their own or through CUUPS).
The Covenant of the Goddess website (http://www.cog.org/welcome.html
) also has some good information on Wicca and Paganism in general, presented in a friendly and outgoing manner. This site also has tons of contact information if you're looking for like-minded people in your area.
And the FAQ maintained by Reclaiming is pretty good too (http://www.reclaiming.org/about/witchfaq/faq.html)
. But I am biased since until moving I was practicing within the Reclaiming tradition so I tend to like their "take on things".
If you live on base, or near the base, perhaps talk with the Chaplain's office and ask about having a "pagan and wiccan information" day. Paganism is an accepted religious affiliation in the US military (it's on my brother's army tags!) and if the other women in your group saw the base chaplain speaking in a positive (or at least non-hostile) manner about the religion they may move it to the "wacky but non-threatening" category in their minds. You can point them, or the Chaplain, to the Army Handbook at http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_usbk.htm
or to the Law Enforcement Guide to Earth Religions at http://www.tylwythteg.com/lawguide1.html
It can be really tough to have to hide your religious feelings, and I understand not wanting to fight over it, but presenting a few good information sites or books might go a long way to change the minds of people who perhaps only know about Wicca from "halloween specials" and movies like The Craft!
Good luck mama, I hope things work out better than you fear!