Vol.XVI No.II Pg.2
April 1979

The Changing Scene

Robert F. Turner

This issue is being written during the second week of April, and has been difficult to produce for there have been two deaths in the Oaks-West church this week, and my heart aches.

Effie Ware died in a Burnet Rest Home, richly blessed with friends in town but with limited family locally. She had once been my wife's hair dresser, and Vivian's quiet work enabled me to baptize her into Christ in 1966. She was 85 years of age at death.

Lelia Collins, wife of one of our elders, Vernie N. Collins, was my hostess on my first visit to Burnet. She and Vernie have been members of the Lord's church here for many long years, and were charter members of the Oaks-West congregation. Their kin abound in church, city and county. It would be hard to find a more gentle, truly Christian couple anywhere.

But this is not written to eulogize the dead. Instead, I am recalling the scores of godly women with whom I have worked in the Lord's vineyard, and who have slipped from life. "Slipped" I say, for in the rush of affairs this week's sorrow is smothered by next week's details, and there is too little time to remember. But a host of them pass before me now and I see again the little black hat of mother Parks; the jewelry of Aunt Mattie Garrett; my own mother's head, cocked to one side as she listened to my early preaching efforts.

I can remember when many churches were predominately female. I preached to them, ate their chicken, and tried to help them get their men-folk to do better. I showed them pictures of my wife, and the children she nursed while I was out "holding meetings;" and they gave me recipes to take home.

I could carelessly think that the "mothers of Zion" are about gone — we don't see as many "old" ones as before; but I know better. My generation is "slipping" into their place. Our "mothers" are more rare, but we have moved into their seats "where the air conditioner won't blow on my shoulder." Not me, of course; but some others a lot like me.

I'll miss the good-natured banter with Effie; and I'll miss Lelia — for Vivian and I sat right behind her. It pleases me that I can think of their passing without overmuch sorrow, for I share their hope. The assurance of God begins to take on a deeper meaning among long-time church families. We must give Vernie a helping hand-they were so close. Think how awful it would be to move so certainly toward death without God or brethren!