Christ the Redeemer’s Treasure
All of our CEC congregations are blessed with special people, and we all have a story of God’s grace and faithfulness in our lives. At Christ the Redeemer in Woodstock GA, our congregation is blessed with a very special gift in the form of Helen Long. Miss Helen, as most of us call her, is Father Stephen Hunter’s grandmother, and she has always been around our congregation for special events. Not long ago, she became a more permanent part of our church family when she came to stay with her daughter and son-in-law Martie and Powell in Canton GA.
Miss Helen was born in New York City in 1916, so she celebrated her 102nd birthday with us last summer. Most of her growing-up years were spent in Tampa FL, where she met her husband Warren while attending Plant High School. Warren went to work for Nabisco, first loading boxcars in Tampa, then moving to a sales position in Jacksonville FL. In 1953, they moved to Thomasville GA where he became the Nabisco Branch Manager for the northern Florida and Southern Georgia areas. After retiring at 63, he worked at restoring airplanes, doing charter flights and subbing as a co-pilot for corporate planes based in Thomasville.
Miss Helen and Warren raised two daughters and were blessed to celebrate 44 years together. She has four grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. She recently traveled with the family to attend the Marine Corps Boot Camp graduation of her great-grandson Caleb in South Carolina. It was a frigid day, and the family was concerned about her being out in the weather. As usual, she was raring to go, telling them “I want to go to everything and I want to see everything.” That’s our Miss Helen!
Every Sunday morning, you’ll find Miss Helen in her seat and waiting for the service to start. She is so proud of her family, and her face lights up when she sees her great-grandsons, Joshua and Daniel serving as acolytes. She even lets us know when a member of the congregation she expects to see hasn’t gotten to church by the usual time! She may not stand often during the service, but you can see the peace and love for the Father in her face. She truly is a treasure and a precious gift to us.
In preparing for this article, she was asked if she had advice for how to live to be 102 years old. Her words of wisdom were “just keep following the Lord.” She was also asked what was the craziest thing she’d ever done. Her response was “to visit King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. It was a long way to walk in the desert just to see a mummy.” Her best advice for all of us – “just be happy, happy, happy.” And we are so happy God has shared this precious lady with us.
Written by -Luanne Allen