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They Cared by Sue Wright

On January 5, 1920, my mom, Mary Elizabeth Meyer was born on HER mother’s birthday. If she had survived cancer, which we couldn’t whip no matter how hard we tried, mom would be celebrating her 99th birthday this year; my grandmother Grace Ellen Still, her 130th. That’s a lot of birthdays come and gone. And yet, the faces celebrated on those birthdays are fresh in my mind as if I’d just spent another Christmas in each lady’s sweet company. Which of course, I did, and do, by way of the little mementos I have installed about the house that keeps both of them alive to me. The quilts mother pieced together; the potholders grandmother crocheted. Even better, the stories we retell about them on a daily basis. Stories too altogether THEM to forget. 

Like my little grandmother sitting on a high stool at the switchboard in her living room in Levasy, Missouri-- holiday or not— keeping everyone in her community connected to the other. No Facebook to help her. Only a phone book and long rows of plug-ins. Her office-house was small but still big enough to accommodate grandmother’s four daughters and their families and the covered dishes and a slew of Christmas presents brought to exchange on Christmas afternoons. We had to go to Grandma’s for Christmases because she couldn’t come to us. She had to work. 

If you asked me to describe my grandmother and her youngest daughter-- my mother-- two words come to mind: THEY CARED. That’s the kind of women they were. They cared that they did things right. They cared they got things done. They cared they saw their friends and loved ones through.

My mom was born into poverty, grew up poor, but still managed to graduate from high school. She went into nurse’s training but had to quit when she married. Apparently, women weren’t always allowed both occupations at the same time, even as late as the forties. She worked in a munitions plant during World War II and later gave birth to me while Dad was away serving in the Army. Once he came home and they established themselves in a neighborhood, mom became the president of PTA, WMU, and anything else she found to join. She didn’t know how to say, no, and frankly, never did. Rather, she loved staying busy and productive. She eventually got her LPN, and after that, an associate college degree. She worked nights in an electronics factory while I was in high school because the money was better than nursing and she had the small hands required to do the job. That extra money added to what Dad made at Armco, helped pay for my college degree from William Jewell. Mom didn’t enjoy playing sports like me, but she loved crafts: ceramics, toll-painting, china painting. Heaven knows, our house never passed the white glove test. Mom gave up house-keeping, for home-making.

Grandma cared; my mother cared. Their caring had eyes, ears, voice, hands, feet, and heart. Their caring kept them in one place when necessary, and sometimes, took them far and wide. Was it in their genes—their mutual DNA to care? To care by nature? Or was it simply an intentional CR they passed from one generation to another like fine linens, a favorite recipe, or the family Bible? A Continuing Resolution they made to keep on caring, year after year?

Happy 2019, everyone!  

at Wednesday, January 2, 2019
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Ann Truly Ministers by Eleanor Speaker

A Tribute to Ann Posey on her retirement after nearly 40 years as organist at Second Baptist Church:

Ann truly ministers to the entire congregation. From the tender Christmas lullaby to stirring postludes, she expresses with her music what we cannot put into words.

She loves to hear the congregation sing and uses her talent to support it. During the hymns, you can feel her connection with both the congregation and the music, bringing them together.

Ann works to include and encourage musicians at all levels of accomplishment, fitting people into the service at places where they can be comfortable--and sometimes not so comfortable but challenged and able to grow. She models the understanding that this is not performance, but our offering to God.

She knows the congregation well and is concerned for individual’s sorrows and joys. She has taught us to hear music in all circumstances of our lives and to sing our praises to God.

Thank you, Ann.


at Tuesday, January 1, 2019
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A Note from Pastor Jason

The beginning of a new year often comes with the promise of positive possibility. Whether your reflections on your 2018 are beautiful, burdensome or blurry, 2019 still holds mystery, and we enter it with fresh hope. As a church, we’ve made many energizing ministry commitments, and I know you’re excited to see how those will unfold. As individuals, you may still be working out your New Year’s resolutions, I imagine with renewed vigor to see the best ones bring about a better you and a better world. We learned during advent that it’s the anticipation of good things that often fosters great joy in our lives. As you look forward, I hope you’ve found some things to look forward to.

Personally, I move forward now with mixed emotions. I am as hopeful and energized about the future of Second Baptist as I’ve ever been. New faces and new, growing ministries and mission partnerships continue to stoke the fire of my enthusiasm. And yet, in the midst of this enthusiasm, there is also grief over a new reality I’m not sure any of has ever been ready to welcome. 

January 2019 is the first January in almost 40 years when Second Baptist Church hasn’t had Ann Posey’s masterful mind, feet and fingers operating our organ. Can you believe it? We’ve known this moment was coming. We’ve planned for it. We’ve celebrated Ann in the midst of it, but I’m not quite ready. This moment comes for me, as it rightly has for many of you, with a mixture of gratitude and grief. And this is because Ann Posey has been far more than our Organist.

To be sure, 40 years of prompting our worship of God from the organ would be worthy of great admiration and celebration. It’s just that Organist doesn’t quite capture Ann, not her work or the impact of her presence among us. Over the years Ann’s job description grew well beyond that of accompanist. She ministered to us through orchestras, instrumental groups, choirs, the organization of countless events and worship services, by administering care to the hurting, shaping the lives of Christ-followers – old and young, (and so much more!). Along the way, she also offered wisdom and nurture to all the pastors she worked with, not the least of which a rookie from East-Texas who she’s kindly, quietly helped shepherd into this role over the last decade. 

We recently changed Ann’s title from Organist to Worship and Music Associate. A long overdue move which still falls short of capturing Ann’s “role.” This is, perhaps, the legacy that saints like Ann so often live into. They become far more than their job, far more than they ever imagined they would be, simply by being and doing, faithfully serving God and God’s people in one place, over time. Ann has done this so well - well in ways far beyond what my words struggle to capture. For that, she has become not our organist, nor our worship and music associate, but most of all, our beloved Ann. 

Fred Rogers once said “Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else. I've felt that many times. My hope for all of us is that "the miles we go before we sleep" will be filled with all the feelings that come from deep caring - delight, sadness, joy, wisdom - and that in all the endings of our life, we will be able to see the new beginnings.”

Ann, as you and Phil move into this new beginning, may you take time both to revel in the marvel of the miles that have passed—all you’ve given to them, and all they’ve given to you. And, as you go forth (with this community of love – that loves you – continuing as your forever earthly home) may you go with gladness, wonder, and the possibility for the future joys that await. 
And may we all follow your lead, with fresh wonder and vigor for the future that lies ahead. 

With Gratitude and Hope,

Jason Edwards 

Posted by Jason Edwards at Monday, December 31, 2018
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