Celebrating a Woman’s Faithfulness

The following comes from an excerpt of a sermon by Dawjr Wood, pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in St. George, honoring Ms. Mary Murray, the church’s former Church Secretary.

A clear example of someone who has given their life to following Jesus is Mary Murray. She’s a great example to us of what it looks like for someone to give their life to Jesus, pursuing the lost, keeping an open door, an open table, and even an open heart to the hurting, the marginalized, and rejected. Mary’s career points, not to her greatness, but to how glorious her God must be that she would give her life to serving him for so long and so faithfully. For 57 years, Ms. Mary Murray has faithfully served Memorial Baptist church in St. George South Carolina. While Ms. Murray has attempted to retire many times for many years, she stayed with Memorial Baptist in order for the best timing in the care of the church, through COVID and others retiring and leading the church through revitalization, she has finally made it to a good time to retire.

We can only simply imagine and dream about the enormous legacy that she will leave in the church and community. It is evident that she did not view her position as only a job, but as a life calling. Whether it was a person walking in off the street, someone needing help with housing, or someone desperate for a listening ear, she was always ready to fulfill the call.

She has faithfully served the church for many years through multiple pastors and leaders who would all recount pure joy when they think of the time they have spent with Ms. Mary at Memorial Baptist Church. Almost all of them have since passed but her character and drive have always been a constant. Anyone in the church or even the community would have a positive word to share about Ms. Mary.

In Ms. Mary Murray’s office, there’s a bench. It’s nothing fancy; just an ordinary wooden bench. The door to her office is a screen door. She’s situated in a way that she’s looking outward all day through her window and screen door ready to invite anyone in to sit on her wooden bench. There must have been hundreds and hundreds over the years that have sat on that bench. Some people would share stories of excitement, others stories of despair, plan weddings, and even plan funerals. All too often, people in ministry in the church are too busy to care for the people with needs.

When many people see someone coming to their door, they hide, but not Ms. Mary because you can’t hide behind the screen door. Ms. Mary was always willing to listen and care for all people. Over the last 57 years, she has made it her personal goal to remain humble and simple in the public eye. She has never so much as asked for a celebration or plaques or any attention.

Ms. Mary has remained a constant for 57 years, never wavering even through personal trials, deaths, and major changes. In 1965, when Ms. Mary began as the full-time secretary you could buy gas in St. George for 30 cents a gallon. While the times have certainly changed, her calling has not. She has faithfully served the church through multiple building editions, through seasons of drought and plenty. She has been a pioneering voice in the most recent efforts of church revitalization. She has faithfully, from behind the scenes, encouraged and prayed for each revitalization meeting.

She has been a huge source of encouragement for the current staff and church members as they all ride the waves of change. Ms. Mary Murray has served faithfully and has finished well. She is a reminder to the world that this can be done. She serves as a great role model on how to be humble servant leaders.

In her honor, the church will be opening a new fund called the Mary Murray fund at Memorial Baptist Church. This will be used for the benevolent needs of the community. It will not be touched for church building functions or maintenance. Personally, this year Ms. Mary has paid out of pocket for hotel rooms, medications, clothing, and food for the needy in our community. In thinking of the best way to honor her legacy, the church would like to see needy folks continue being cared for and needs continue being met by Ms. Mary for hundreds of years to come.