A church’s best history may not yet be in a book. It is in the lives and memories of senior adults who have been in the church for many years. As Georges Creek, Easley celebrates its 150th anniversary, Jesse and Elvira (Perry) Ross are good examples of this “living history.” Elvira is a connection back to the birth of the church. Her grandfather donated land for the church and her mother planted trees in front of the church. Jesse and Elvira’s children grew up and began their faith journey there so they have more memories at Georges Creek than either of them can count.
Jesse served on the Anniversary History Committee planning events and helped update the church history. He remembers it wasn’t always easy to baptize people at church. The church used a spring, a pond, a creek, the Saluda River, another church’s baptistry and even after they built an inside pool, hauled water from the city of Easley to fill it one bucket at a time. It was good news when city water became available. Memories like these testify to God’s faithfulness through his people and his church. They also remind us of the richness that senior adults add to the life of the church. Even though Jesse has celebrated more than 90 birthdays, he’s still serving his Lord and Savior, and he constantly reminds folks that he still has so much more to learn about Jesus.
If you’re working on your church history, be sure to plan a meeting with senior adults. Even better, set up a time when you can videotape them reminiscing both as a group and as individuals. Their memories will spark other memories and before long, you will have a living story about your church that you would not be able to get any other way. Senior adults are a tremendous resource for your church’s history and the church’s future. They love their church and still want to serve.