I served as pastor of the Livingston United Methodist Church in 2005-2006. One morning I drove out to the Livingston Community to visit with a young family - James and Mary and four year old Morgan (not their real names) - who had become a part of the church.
Livngston United Methodist Church is about ten miles west of the City of Rome. Rome has been Floyd county's seat for over a century, with it's three colleges "seven hills and three rivers."
But in 1833 when Livingston Methodist Church was organized, that community was the Floyd "County seat. " Most of the people long ago moved away from Livingston church.
It is in a picturesque country setting and is one of the oldest churches in Floyd county. The beautiful cemetary ajoining the church has gravestones dating before the Civil war. But
Livingston membership is now small. We have only a few families, and Morgan is one of the few children in the congregation. I had made an appointment to visit the family because the elderly grandmother - Livingston's revered oldest member who had been a member and leader in the church since her youth - was sick.
James was at work, but Mary was on spring break from the school where she teaches. I had a great visit with Mary and Morgan and Mary’s grandmother, Sarah. Morgan, a bright and beautiful child, already knew her alphabet. She sat at my feet obviously enjoying my visit and writing her name and drawing pictures for me and for all of us during the visit.
Mary told me that someone had asked Morgan a few days ago what she wanted to be when she grew up. This precious little four year old girl said, "I want to be a preacher." Mary told me Morgan sometimes would line up her dolls and preach to them.
The same question was asked of me when I was four or five. I had never known a woman pastor. But if I had, I would have never and could never have envisioned myself as a preacher. In the 1920's when I was a small child, most little girls replied to that question by saying " a teacher" or " a nurse." But I also could not envision myself as a teacher. A teacher had to stand up and talk? I was too shy! A nurse? No! A nurse had to give shots!
What else can I plan to be when I grow up? A wife? A wife! I knew some women who were wives. I loved our Methodist pastor. "When I grow up, I want to be a preacher's wife," was said to be my timid reply.