I agree with the song lyrics “Don’t scatter roses after I’m gone; give them to me while I carry on”. It’s good to laud the work of those gone on before us in an effort to preserve their memories. But what good is that if you had never done so while they were alive? Scattering roses otherwise would be meaningless; it would be a show as the person it should matter most to is not able to see/hear/understand/enjoy the sentiment.
In this light I am very pleased with the event that took place at the Brown’s Town Baptist Church last Sunday evening. The Senior Choir and Sunday School held an Appreciation Service for some long serving, diligent members with friends, families and wider church (much of whom had been impacted by these lives) giving support in the stance of gratitude.
The eight awardees were:
- Sis. Cassetta Brown – The Sunday School and the Senior Choir
- Sis. Olivene Chambers – The Sunday School and the Senior Choir
- Sis. Myrtle Brown – The Sunday School and the Senior Choir
- Sis. Ninnel Wedderburn – The Sunday School and the Senior Choir
- Sis. Theresa McLaren – The Sunday School
- Min. Edna Mae Williams – The Sunday School
- Min. Alphaeus Brown – The Sunday School and the Senior Choir
- Min. Herman Gayle – The Senior Choir
I will not give a detailed commentary on each item on the programme but just the parts that stood out and ought to be remembered.
The service began with the procession of the awardees whom were all escorted by young men and women. It was quite a sentimental sight, almost of armour/mantle-bearing from one generation to the next. Think Elijah and Elisha. The procession can be viewed here ←.
The guest speaker for the night was Bro. Lorence Brown who grew up right in Brown’s Town Baptist Church and could attest to the influence the various awardees had over his upbringing. His own mother, Sis Cassie, was an awardee. Keeping true to the reason for gathering he spoke briefly (well in comparison to what BTBC message lengths are) and about a very fittingly appropriate matter:
There is another eye than our natural eyes.
There is another ear than our natural ears.
There is another country than this one.
There is another nationality than the one we have or are seeking.
There is another life than this one.
These facts were made real to him and many of us through the teachings, encouragement and guidance of the awardees who acted as mothers and fathers to many a young person moving through the walls of BTBC.
May those who come behind us find us faithful.
All the awardees have reached senior citizen status, with one awardee being all of 95 years old and one having given 67 years of service. The commonality in all the citations read was that of diligent service, self giving, dedication to the Lord’s work and imparting all they can to the next generation. From all I listened to it seemed common place back in the 1950’s for the men of BTBC to snatch the women away from the Brown’s Town Tabernacle Church, marry them and have them join the BTBC family. Along with that quite a few were from other parishes but came to call this little hill in Brown’s Town their home. It goes to say that this was no coincidence that these people were placed here to influence so many. God had plans, has plans and will always have plans for His people…from one generation to the next.
The citations were spot-on too! Don’t we all remember:
- Punctual Sis. Mac teaching her adult Sunday School class EVERY Sunday?
- “Thunder Gayle” booming his bass voice off the choir and scratching everybody with his beard?
- Sis. Wedderburn’s hugs?
- Sis Mrytle’s perpetually pleasant countenance? I was saying to a friend that I do believe she is related to the Queen; always well put together.
- Aunt Mae’s outspokenness, initiative and how everybody was ‘mi chile’?
- Bro Alphaeus’ willingness to teach any and everybody everything he knows about music? The man has the patience of Job.
The short skit done by Snowyie and Kent was a nice touch too especially when Snowyie called-to Sis Cassie much in the same way that everybody does. It was also spot-on and got the audience laughing when the two spotted Sis Chambers and Snowyie said “Come Kent. See Sis Chambers there. Fix up yourself!”.
There were many things I observed but those would have to be in another post but all the items combined resulted in a wonderful night. With the wonderful citations read, beautiful plaques and gift baskets (the latter presented by members of the Junior Sunday school) I am sure the awardees felt appreciated for what they have done over the years and though they say “I wish I could have done more” they know how truly grateful we are for all they have already done. They have impacted lives that they don’t even know about and will never know about.
I commend BTBC and their “trendsetter” ways and that they are now being proactive and I salute all eight awardees and some others whose influence I remember.