Norma Kaye Callaway:
In the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, mother and I were riding home discussing school and plans for the summer. She told me of the plans to leave the church I had grown up in and that we were starting a new church. I was alarmed. My parents had been MYF youth counselors, Sunday school teachers, My mother was involved in the women’s ministry, my dad was a lay leader, the state registrar for the Methodist Men’s Retreat in Leesburg. Gary and I were involved in Sunday school, M.Y.F., church choir, all youth activities, bible studies, etc. The church was a big part of our lives. So I knew this was not a decision that was made lightly. It had been made through much prayer and soul searching.
My selfish, first reaction was where am I going to get married? As a little girl, I had always dreamed of walking down that aisle with the organ blaring The Wedding March. As it turned out, I was married in what is now the youth room. In the beginning, it was our sanctuary, fellowship hall and multi-purpose room. I did have an aisle and the organ playing the wedding march. All was well.
Christ Independent Methodist church became our place of worship, fellowship, and service. Pat Buckles made the Bible come alive for my boys in her Sunday school class. They came home every Sunday after church excited about the Bible story she had taught that day. Marge Perkins spoiled them rotten in the nursery. John Hanzook was the skinniest Santa ever, but the children didn’t seem to notice.
Mother started a women’s bible study which met every Wed. Morning. Our Women’s Spiritual Life Retreat was Mother’s dream. She wanted our ladies to have an outreach to share God’s love through our love, hospitality, fellowship and teaching, a way to minister to the ladies in our community. It became a time to draw away from the world and draw closer to the Lord. This year will be our 41st Ladies Retreat. Ladies from our community as well as others throughout Fl. and Ga. will attend.
I’m thankful for and proud of our church. It’s warm, loving congregation, our love for the Lord, the ministries, and our Pastor, who diligently teaches from the scriptures. I pray that we will continue to be a beacon for the Lord in our community for the next 50 years.
Norma Kaye Pounds Callaway