105-year-old leads hospitality ministry
By Heather Hahn
Christy suggested she might use her telephone skills to cheer up her fellow Christians, and the Rev. Mike Macdonald, her pastor, agreed.
Since March, Christy has been the “birthday ambassador” for Andrews (N.C.)
“I just call up and say, ‘Your church wants you to have a very happy birthday, and Miss Christy wants you to have one also,’” she said. “And they seem really happy to hear it.”
Her church recently returned the favour by hosting a community birthday party for Christy, who turned 105 on Aug. 20. Members read letters of congratulation from U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and TV personality Willard Scott.
A person is never too old to heed God’s call to ministry, the Rev Macdonald said. “I lift her up as an example,” he said. “If 105 is not too old to serve the church, what’s your excuse? I wish we had more people like her calling up and asking what they can do.”
Always on Sunday
Christy has been a member of the Andrews congregation since she was 12 or 13 years old. Growing up, she said her parents taught her and her six siblings to go to church “every time the door opened.” Her favourite memories of going to the church back then were mingling with other churchgoers. She still looks forward to seeing members as often as possible.
She now uses a walker and relies on her niece, with whom she lives, to drive her. However, she tries faithfully to attend church each week, though she acknowledges that’s difficult when the weather is very cold or very hot.
Christy’s family shared a lifelong commitment to Methodism. A brother was the treasurer of
For decades, Christy taught the youth Sunday school class and helped lead the church’s youth group. Many of her young charges at church were her high school students during the week.
“I thought that was giving them too much of one old woman,” said the retired high school teacher. “But the other people didn’t seem to want the high school students. I don’t know why. They were great to teach.” Many former students return her affection. One member said the best part of his birthday was when he got a call from his former teacher.
Christy said one of her nephews teases her that God does not want her in heaven quite yet because she would just try to take it over. That’s fine by Christy. She hopes to continue going to church and making her birthday calls as long as she is able.
“I haven’t had much in the way of money,” she said. “But I have had a long and happy life, and I am thankful.”
- Heather Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service.