Written by Kathy on the occasion of her election to serve as a Deacon beginning in August 2015.
Good Morning! I’m Kathy Belcher and my husband, Bob, and I have been at Highland for 36 years, having been attracted to this church by a large, vibrant, young adult Sunday school class taught by our dear friend and mentor Pat Ramsey. We were hooked!
I was first asked to be a deacon in 1992 and have been honored to serve multiple terms since then. So, I’ve already shared a good deal of information about myself. I’d like to take this opportunity to focus on two more of the many Highlanders who have impacted me over the years and have helped me grow into a few of the roles I have had here.
First, just being a female deacon reminds me of many courageous folks who challenged the norm in the mid-eighties and voted to begin ordaining women deacons. But, the person I remember most clearly and positively was actually someone who spoke out against the change – Bill Goodell. After the vote, though, Bill stood up and told us that though he opposed the decision to ordain women, he was committed to congregation. He then suggested that we all join hands and sing Bless Be the Tie That Binds!” I appreciated Bill’s willingness to express his strongly held beliefs, but recognize that we were family and this was a family decision. Bill was one of those highly respected saints that actively lived his faith. I remember him stopping by the kitchen after Wednesday night dinners and taking leftover food to homebound members. At most every gathering, he would take advantage of the opportunity to share his favorite verse – Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” I never ever hear that verse without thinking of Bill, someone who greatly impacted me as a young adult.
Another person I’d like to highlight is Uhlan Rose, who was a dear man and a great teacher, leader and encourager. Uhlan is responsible for me serving as an usher for the past 20 years. One Sunday after he had been out for a long while, I welcomed him as he came in the Sanctuary. The following week, I received a beautiful hand written note telling me how he had come in feeling like a visitor in a strange church and my warm greeting felt to him like a ministering angel. He said I should consider becoming an usher and serve as a welcoming face for Highland. With sweet encouragement like that, how could I not sign up? It’s been one of my favorite roles ever since. One thing I learned from that experience was that any one of us might come into church with a heavy heart and words of encouragement are crucial. But, I also saw what an impact someone can have just encouraging us to use our gifts. Uhlan was an encourager and a great deacon I would like to emulate. (And I still have that card 20 years later!)
I follow in the footsteps of countless hardworking, dedicated deacons as I begin a new term. I look forward to opportunities to be a welcoming presence, an encourager, leader and minister.