Religion News: Grateful Congregation Gives Thanks for Susan and David Collyer

David and Susan Collyer in 2022.

A grateful congregation at Crozet Baptist Church gave thanks to David and Susan Collyer last month for their 40 many years of service. Lengthy-time users as well as relative newcomers spoke about what the few has intended to them, to the church, and to the group.

Crozet Baptist was the very first ministerial assignment for David, who claimed he experienced under no circumstances intended to depart Georgia, his dwelling. As he ready to graduate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, he used for entry-degree work. “I was sending out resumes, since which is how it is effective for us Baptists,” he explained. “Every 1 of the resumes went to churches in South Ga.” 

It was just by possibility that a lookup committee from Crozet Baptist Church was interviewing candidates for the place of youth minister intern. On a whim, David signed up for an interview and “we just really strike it off,” he mentioned. Soon afterwards, he headed to Crozet to consider the task. David’s wife, Susan, was on board with the journey, he said. “She experienced an adventurous spirit, and had just put in two many years teaching in Hong Kong.”

Leonard Sandridge, who spoke at the anniversary celebration, remembered these early

David and Susan Collyer soon immediately after they arrived to Crozet Baptist in 1982.

months when, he said, David’s youth, power and love of a fantastic chortle built it tough to distinguish him from the younger people he was leading. He extra that he felt a very little disgruntled when he questioned his grownup sons for the ideal memories of their childhood, and David’s youth group was at the major of the list.

As a long time went by, Sandridge claimed he watched David’s evolution from a popular youth chief to the wise senior member of Crozet’s ministerial group as perfectly as the beloved chief of his church. David’s versatility—at one particular time or another he was individually concerned in every single committee—gave him a special familiarity with the church’s operation as very well as its individuals. Regardless of what else he learned in seminary, “he will have to have skipped the class on delegation,” Sandridge stated. Susan was equally functional, he said, serving as a choir member, landscaper, committee chair, custodian and florist. “That was the ideal issue, that she was part of the deal,” Sandridge reported. Judy Barber, who was on the unique look for committee, mentioned the Collyers, nevertheless really youthful, had generally experienced a eyesight of what a church really should be in the best of occasions.

The lighthearted teasing all through the anniversary tribute was well balanced by the acknowledgement that elements of a minister’s job—especially the work of a extended-time minister with deep awareness of his congregation—has moments of enormous duty and sorrow. “You may well uncover him at 5 a.m. at the clinic,” Sandridge reported. Various people today stated leaning on David and Susan following getting rid of a child. “I imagine that’s the most difficult,” David stated. “And we’ve even shed various infants around the several years. We just do the ideal we can to be encouraging.” 

David Collyer celebrates 40 many years of provider to Crozet Baptist Church. Picture: Malcolm Andrews.

Of system, he remembers the pleased situations as perfectly: “There have been thousands of small things,” he explained: “Holidays, innumerable weddings, joyous instances of all kinds.” He especially recalled the popular Crozet Baptist singing Xmas tree, where by choir users mounted a tree-shaped structure and sang in the dark, with only their collars of light-weight to illuminate the sanctuary and define the form of a big tree. Another incredibly content memory is the church’s centennial in 2003.

He will take a lot of delight in some of his lengthy-array accomplishments, whilst he characteristics the good results to people who arrived right before him as nicely as the character of the congregation, which has normally been welcoming, tolerant and warm. He’s proud that his church has played major element in the ecumenical movement of churches in Crozet, where by diverse religions are in a position to get the job done with each other on worthwhile initiatives. He’s liked his purpose as mentor to youthful ministers who have absent on to come to be pastors of their very own church buildings. He named Colleen Swingle Titus, who is now the pastor of Park Road Christian Church in Charlottesville Tracy Pugh, who now leads the Sycamore Baptist Church in Franklin and Sam Kellam, who is the pastor of Mountain Simple Baptist Church in Crozet. 

Kellam advised a tale about David’s impact on him. “I was in fact a dedicated atheist,” he claimed. “I fulfilled David when my little ones were being at holiday Bible college. He was so heat, and so approachable that I commenced to modify my mind-set towards religion.” Kellam said it wasn’t prolonged soon after he grew to become a Christian that he felt a contact to the ministry. “David’s been quite generous with his time, encouraging me through my individual religious journey, and then aiding me as a new minister.” He honored Susan as perfectly: “They’re a extraordinary duo.”

Phil James snapped this image of David Collyer at a rainy picnic.

Numerous of the speakers at the celebration mentioned the couple’s humility. They’re not inclined to be judgmental or act as if they hardly ever make a blunder. As if to establish this issue, David informed a tale, verified by Kellam. “I performed a great deal of ping-pong at the church with Sam, and it was often at a time that the youth new music group practiced in one more area,” he stated. One particular evening, they could listen to the piano playing, and David assumed it would be exciting for the little band to have their minister burst into the area, though loudly singing a foolish tune he created up on the spot. “Instead, it was a piano recital and I fully crashed it in the most embarrassing way achievable.”

Extensive-time mate and Crozet historian Phil James despatched an additional tale about the two family members hoping to have a picnic at Reddish Knob in threatening temperature. David remembered it, also: “We begun the hearth, and we were going to grill hamburgers.” When it started off to rain, a few of the pals sheltered less than a tarpaulin although, a several feet absent, David wrapped himself up in a rubbish bag, figuring the storm would blow more than. The rain turned to hail, and the very little team experienced to seize their soggy hamburgers and return to Crozet, but not just before James snapped a comic shot of the minister huddling in green plastic. James concluded on a a lot more critical be aware: “God realized what He was performing when he sent David to us, and our city is the superior for it.”

David claimed that listening to the kind phrases of his congregation was really influencing for both him and Susan: “We did not rest at all Sunday night,” he explained. Previously, at the church, he resolved the team as the social gathering finished: “We’ve developed up in this church. Thank you for your grace in permitting us to make issues. It’s been our lifetime. It IS our lifestyle.” 

Bessie Venters

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