It’s a blessing when a local church has even just one member over the age of 90. But it’s amazing when there are SIX members that are aged 90-plus, and still relatively active in church ministry!
After its worship service on March 8, St. Mark United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge held a “birthday bash” for six such women, some of which have been members of the church for most of their lives.
“We wanted to celebrate how good God has been to St. Mark by allowing us to have these six beautiful women still with us and still serving and praising Him,” said Marian Griffin, who came up with the idea for the event which included presents, cards and a birthday lunch.
Those honored include:
Mrs. Mildred Bowie, who is 99 years old, still loves to bowl and regularly attends worship at St. Mark UMC. She is a retired public school teacher. Mrs. Bowie has served in many capacities at St. Mark, both at the Convention Street location and the church’s present location. She served as a delegate to Annual Conference for four years, and was also a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher; attended the Sager Brown School for Women in Baldwin; and was a member of the church’s Pastor Parish Relations Committee. She is listed on the cornerstone of the church as a member of the Building Committee. Currently, she is a class leader, a member of the Rosa Jackson Study Group and United Methodist Women.
Mrs. Doris Thompson is 98 years old and is also the daughter of a minister. She joined St. Mark when she was 12 years old, and says that she has a “wonderful time” at the church. “My joy was, and still is, to go to church and to concentrate on what is going on,” said Thompson, who anticipates her daily devotion time at 2 p.m. when she reads scriptures and the Upper Room. As a retired public school teacher, her passion shifted her back into a classroom setting as a Sunday School teacher and Vacation Bible School teacher. Mrs. Thompson also worked in the nursery at the Convention Street location. She is currently an honorary communion steward and a member of United Methodist Women.
At age 98, Mrs. Eleanor Miles is the youngest of 10 children. Out of five girls and five boys, she is the only living sibling. She says she is grateful that “the Lord gave her the health and strength to take care of her four sisters.” Mrs. Miles still drives herself to church. Married to a pastor, she is a former “first lady,” during which time she served wherever she was needed in her husband’s church. Mrs. Miles is currently a communion steward and a member of the L.B. Lewis Christian Involvers.
Mrs. Ruth Myers, 93, is the first born of twin daughters. She joined St. Mark UMC during the 1950’s and served faithfully in many ministries. She is still an honorary communion steward and a member of the Rosa Jackson Study Group and United Methodist Women.
Mrs. Alice Stepter was born July 21, 1920 in Clinton, La. She was one of 14 children and is the only one living today. Mrs. Stepter joined St. Mark UMC while Rev. W. T. Handy served as pastor. She has two daughters. Mrs. Stepter “enjoys singing” but has never joined the church choir!
A native and longtime resident of New Orleans, Mrs. Vertlee Washington moved to Baton Rouge and joined St. Mark UMC after Hurricane Katrina. She had retired after 30 years as an elementary teacher in Orleans Parish. In New Orleans, she was an active member of Brooks UMC for many years.