Being a part of St. Paul’s has been one of the great blessings of my life. As a young mother of four, I joined St. Paul’s when our dear friend Franklin Ferguson became the rector. He and Betsy had been our friends in Bell Buckle since 1959. As the years passed and rectors came and went, I was involved with Christian Education both for children and adults, Vestry (I was one of the first two women elected to the Vestry), Education for Ministry (EfM), Gifts and Talents Workshop, and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training and facilitating.
More important than my opportunities to learn and serve, however, were the support and spiritual growth afforded our family. Our children and grandchildren are direct beneficiaries of St. Paul’s presence in our lives. Even when, as adults, they may not be churchgoing, their association with Father Ferguson and other members of the St. Paul’s family, particularly John and Martha Worley, molded our children in ways I can recognize but not explain. I do not believe our children would have become the people they are today without St. Paul’s.
A memorable Sunday service was the day that Father Ferguson preached a sermon in which he spoke in favor of keeping St. Paul’s a downtown church. We had purchased a lot on Clark Boulevard and even consecrated the land with plans to build a church there and abandon the East Main location. His sermon was so powerful and convincing that the whole congregation (so far as I remember) agreed to sell the land on Clark and do what we could with what we had. We have only to look around on Sunday mornings to see his vision realized.
After spending four years in EfM, I along with three others from St. Paul’s began the training for Catechesis consisting of two years of monthly sessions in Nashville to teach children ages 3-6. We spent another two years preparing to teach children ages 6-9. I went to California two summers for two weeks at a time to qualify to teach ages 9-12. As rewarding as EfM was, I found these years of learning and teaching to be even more so. In the early years, we had as many as 40 adults contributing their time and talents to provide the materials needed for the atrium. With the children, I began to realize what it means to participate more fully in the liturgy. Now that Journey to Adulthood has been added, I believe that the children at St. Paul’s are blessed beyond measure.
At my age, I see my role with other seniors as holding the field for those who will follow, and one way of holding the field is to pledge what I can. I give to St. Paul’s because I am thankful for all the blessings of this life. I give to St. Paul’s because of all it has meant to our family and me. I give to St. Paul’s because I am sure that its presence in our community will provide, now and in the future, solace and spiritual sustenance to persons unknown to me.