A Christian Lady

Dorothy was a devout Christian but not one that made a show of it. She was active in her first church, Broad St. Presbyterian and then Grace Presbyterian. When the family moved to the farm many in the community went to the only nearby church–Union Baptist Church of the Southern Baptist Convention.

1965

She and Ray wanted to raise the kids in a church where their friends attended. The only option was to join the local Baptist Church for which the community was known. That posed a serious ethical problem for Dorothy as the Baptist, at least then, believed that a person was not a Christian unless they were Baptist. To join one had to acknowledge they were not Christian before joining and be baptized signifying the true conversion.  This writer never heard her explain the reason or reasons why she strongly objected to that requirement. Ray said several times they almost did not join the Church although they expected to go there even if they never became members.

The pastor at that time was a young doctoral student, Brother Massey, who during the week studied at the seminary in New Orleans. Perhaps that is why he must have been more broad minded that some deep south, southern baptist ministers might have been.  With his support and encouragement Ray and Dorothy asked in their way to join. In addition Ray said his statements were carefully prepared when they were baptised; re-baptised from Dorothy’s perspective. Tommy also joined when they did and was baptised with them in the indoor baptismal pool at Friendship Baptist Church in Grand Bay rather than in the creek behind the church. Most baptisms were at Friendship so that was not part of the special arrangements–as far as this writer knows. But, we will never know.

It was not long until Dorothy served as Superintendent of Vacation Bible School and had many friends of all ages. She regularly baked a pie or a casserole, loaded the kids and went to visit elderly people in the community.

As she was an excellent typist she soon agreed to prepare the weekly Church bulletin. Every Friday or Saturday included getting out her manual black typewriter, feeding into it the multipart green memograph film and getting ready to print the bulletin. When she made a mistake she would grumble and take the old dark green liquid in the finger-mail-polish type jar with the little brush and paint over the mistake. Then she would lean over the typewriter and blow on it until it dried. Once the typing was complete she, Ray and the kids would drive to the Church and Ray would set up the memograph machine and crank out the bulletins for the service the next morning. Everyone helped fold them and they were left in the vestibule.  The family drove back home and she served a simple dinner that was occasionally Creamed Tuna Fish on Toast or Grilled Cheese sandwiches. Lawrence Welk came on later and many Saturdays were almost over.

Her life was one of service while maintaining her strong, quiet, smiling personality and love for people.