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By Word & Example

WOMEN WHO GRACED THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN NORTH CAROLINA, 1817-2017

A Bicentennial Project of the Episcopal Church Women

Guidelines for Submitting a “BY WORD & EXAMPLE” Sketch

Wednesday
Oct112017

MARJORIE ROMINGER JOYNER NORTHRUP

b. October 17, 1929

by Eugenie Waddell (Genie) Carr, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2016

Marjorie Rominger Joyner NorthrupMarjorie Joyner was born in Winston-Salem into a family of staunch Southern Baptists. It was in the Baptist Young People’s Union that she started her lifelong practice of serving God through the church. As a teenager, for instance, for three summers she spent a week in the mountains leading Bible study for adults. “That gave me confidence,” she said. “These adults were listening to this teenager.” The teens also would knock on doors, inviting people to come hear their message … sometimes with unexpected results. “One time a man, an old country guy, said, ‘You’ve saved me. I got a message from God that he would send me somebody to marry!’”

Marjorie didn’t marry him. After graduating from Meredith College, she married architect Lamar Northrup, whom she had known since fifth grade. He was a year older, her brother’s best friend. His family were members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and she joined the church. She remembers that at her Confirmation class, the Rev. Thomas Fraser, the rector (later Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina), said to the confirmands, “If you don’t have questions about religion, you don’t belong in this class.” She was startled: “Baptists don’t talk this way,” she said.

When Marjorie joined St. Paul’s, one of the firs things she did was to talk to a longtime parishioner, Rosalie Wilson. “She took me under her wing. I led the youth Confirmation class, and I learned a lot because I had to study. I was asked to teach a Sunday School class, fifth and sixth graders.” She has always been involved in education in some way – for years she was the Director of Education at Reynolda House Museum of American Art and still leads tours as a volunteer.

Marjorie was an Education for Ministry (EFM) mentor for many years and often used a piece of art as an object of theological reflection. She is in one of St. Paul’s many Small Groups that meet regularly for study and reflection – hers meets at 7:30 a.m. on Fridays, examining the Gospel lesson for the coming Sunday. She is a member of St. Anne’s Circle at St. Paul’s, a group of women who take on a number of outreach ministries. She is active in the Order of St. Luke, a healing ministry that performs laying on of hands at church services, and she takes Communion to hospitalized church members. And, she said, “I go to prison regularly.” Along with a priest and other certified visitors, she regularly prays with inmates, which can be a heartbreaking and an uplifting experience. She asks each inmate she sees what he or she wishes prayers for, often getting the answer, “A prayer that I can get over my addiction.”

Marjorie’s long ministry is a big part of a life dedicated, as St. Francis said, “To preach the Gospel, sometimes using words.”

Friday
Oct062017

BETTYE JO COOKE PARAMORE

b. November 29, 1929

by Katherine Paramore Carman Field, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Bettye Paramore (in pink) with Bettye Jo, Katherine, Walter, and Walter, Jr.Born a Baptist, Bettye chose to become an Episcopalian in 1950, when she joined Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill where she was living with husband Walter, a student at the university. After Walter graduated, the couple lived briefly in Dunn, attending St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Erwin, then on to Fayetteville where they attended a new church called Holy Trinity. Their oldest child was the first baby baptized in that parish. The family moved to New Bern in 1952 and joined Christ Church.  Their active membership in the church has lasted over 64 years, and is still going strong.

Participating in daily church life and performing service for the church quickly became a priority for Bettye. During the 1950s she got involved with the Women’s Altar Guild and stayed on for 50 years – an enormous accomplishment. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s she was active in the Episcopal Church Women’s group and her church chapter, and at various times was elected to lead both. Bettye was a popular choice because she was a quiet but energetic leader who got the job done without tooting her horn or ruffling feathers. Bettye was always happy to let others take the lead, as long as the right things were done for the good of the church.

No job was too big or too small for Bettye. At one point, during the 1970s, she was charged with keeping the church kitchen stocked. In typical Bettye fashion, she took on this task with quiet efficiency. It was a small thing, but so appreciated by the ministry and congregation. When friends in the church organized “Pass the Plate,” the wildly popular cookbook, Bettye supported by submitting a recipe and bought lots of copies. These were the years when Mr. Sharp served as rector, and Bettye’s involvement with the church blossomed under kind encouragement and sunny nature. She especially loved the services when Mr. Sharp sang the communion.

As Bettye grew older, the children moved away, and Reverend Sharp neared retirement, Bettye’s relationship with the church changed. Previously her involvement had been to take on roles that involved tasks, but now she shifted focus to her relationship with God. She began reading devotionals and studying the Bible. Bettye and Walter trained as Stephen Ministers. Bettye was a natural because of her kind nature, empathy, ability to listen, and deep faith in God. She applied what she learned to help others within and outside the church. When Bettye and Walter joined a church-sponsored trip to the Holy Land in their mid-seventies, her spiritual connection with God deepened again, as she found stronger reverence experiencing Christ’s world and sharing it with other Episcopalians.

Bettye continues to live her life as an Episcopalian, still active in the Daughters of the King and attending Bible study class. Now 86, Bettye maintains unwavering devotion, love of God and commitment to Christ Church. As an Episcopalian devoted to helping others, she provides a role model for those seeking this same path.

Sunday
Sep242017

CARROLL LISENBY McCULLOUGH

b. February 16, 1941

by Eugenie Waddell (Genie) Carr, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2016

Carroll Lisenby McCulloughCarroll McCullough is a native of Alabama, born in the small town of Ozark. She and her two siblings “were blessed with a wonderful extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins.”

Carroll received her higher education in Alabama at Auburn University and in North Carolina at Wake Forest University. She has been married to David L. McCullough, a urologist (now retired), for 55 years. They had four children, two of whom are deceased. Carroll was a computer programmer and systems analyst. In answer to a comment that computers have changed a lot in recent years, she noted that when she learned programming, “The computer was a Univac 1108 that was so large it took up a large section of the building’s second floor! Although computers have changed significantly, the sequential thinking/logic of programming probably hasn’t changed as much.”

That kind of thinking, no doubt, got Carroll to a large number of community and church committees, including being the head of many of them. The McCulloughs joined St. Paul’s in 1983, when they moved to Winston-Salem. They had visited churches in many cities as David’s medical career moved them around the country. Carroll grew up a Methodist; David was a Lutheran. When they found the Episcopal Church, Carroll said, they knew they were home. Carroll loved the beauty of the liturgy, and David felt right at home with it.

Carroll dived right into activities in both St. Paul’s and Winston-Salem. She volunteered in her children’s schools. A cancer survivor, she headed up Winterlark, which benefits the Cancer Patient Support Program of the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center. She was president of the board of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) and the boards of Ronald McDonald House, Friends of Ronald McDonald House, and on the board of Trinity Center in Winston-Salem. A regional association of fundraisers awarded her the 2007 Philanthropy Award (Volunteer).

All of that was in the community. Carroll’s list of activities at St. Paul’s is even more impressive. She worked on, and often led, many church committees, including Stewardship; lead-gifts committee of the Capital Campaign – then was Senior Warden during the construction of the $15 million addition/renovation. She led two Discernment Committees and a Rector Search Committee; and was chairman of the Altar Guild and has served on it for many years. She has also served as a chalice bearer. She served on the Newcomers (now Welcome) Committee for more than 15 years and is passionate about welcoming newcomers as a paramount service of the church, giving new members a spiritual home and the parish fresh air from other places.

Going beyond the parish, Carroll was a Diocesan Convention delegate. She was also a member of the Diocesan Council, where, she said, “I felt blessed to serve under Bishop Curry, and to work with Canon Michael Hunn.”

Wednesday
Sep062017

SARAH MASTERS FARMER HORRELL

May 11, 1904 – October 16, 2008

by Ellen Chesley Weig, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, N.C. May 18, 2016

Sarah Masters Farmer HorrellShe celebrated her 100th birthday with a pig picking, invited everyone from church, and drove herself to the party. Miss Sarah lived to be 104. Describing her as a “tiny little thing with snow white hair,” and a gentle, special lady, the Altar Guild say she was funny, always positive and happy.

Born in 1904 in Wilson County, N.C., Sarah trained as a nurse at Edgecombe General Hospital, Tarboro, graduating in 1924. She continued training and worked with Dr. J. B. Sidbury at Babies’ Hospital in Wilmington, a seaside hospital pioneering pediatric care in North Carolina. She married Robert Sydney Horrell.

St. Paul’s was Sarah’s church in many ways. When her membership began in the 1930s, the Rev. Alexander Miller was rector, the Parish House had been built (1925) and the Old Brick Church, the parish’s second church building, was falling into severe disrepair. Sarah served on Altar Guild for many years and in that capacity prepared for Sunday services held for nineteen years in the Parish House auditorium. Sarah knew what it was like to clean candle wax off the church’s linens weekly, attend to candles and flowers, and make sure all was ready for the rector. When the new church was built in 1958, Sarah saw Mr. Miller’s vision become a reality and knew the story of its original designs by Ralph Adams Cram.

Consecrated in 1958, the new building meant a new Sacristy for the Altar Guild and new responsibilities. Some folks hint that the Sacristy was her space. Fr. Vic Fredericksen called her “one of the best St. Paul’s had.” It’s no wonder the young women who joined the Altar Guild looked to her for their training and mentoring.

St. Agnes Guild was also a focal point for Sarah. She shared her creative energy and skills by making Christmas ornaments for the church’s bazaars. Plastic canvas crosses and crocheted stockings still get put on the Christmas trees of the women with whom Sarah worked in the Guild. She loved to bake – and reportedly always ate dessert first at church and St. Agnes Guild meetings, held in homes of members. The ladies say that “anything Miss Sarah made always made money” for the church.

Stories of Miss Sarah linger at St. Paul’s. At 96, she was still wearing her high heels and walking up the steps to communion. Eating her dessert first – always, because she said “life is uncertain.” Riding to a birthday party at one of Wilmington’s best Chinese restaurants in a limo with the other St. Agnes ladies. Asking to have a pig-picking for her 100th birthday. Never involved in church politics. “Kind and welcoming in her demeanor.” Miss Sarah served 12 different rectors and six bishops while on Altar Guild. She is still much loved, respected, and missed by her friends and Episcopal sisters.

Sources: Oral histories and remembrances by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, N.C., parishioners and former clergy. Star News Online Obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/starnewsonline/obituary.aspx?pid=118979499#sthash.uuxbu0Ji.dpuf

Monday
Aug282017

LULA MARJORIE DISOSWAY, M. D.

January 9, 1897 – February 13, 1973

by Charles K. (Ken) McCotter, Jr., Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Lula Marjorie Disosway, M. D.Few New Bernians have exemplified Christian charity more than Dr. Lula M. Disosway, who served as a medical missionary in China and Alaska, the medical director of the Good Shepherd Hospital, and the operator of a maternity clinic at the Craven County Hospital.

Lula was born in 1897 to Reginald Justice Disosway and Lula M. Stanley Disosway, a family dedicated to Christian service. At age 5, she almost died from spinal meningitis. Her parents conducted a prayerful vigil at her bedside. When Lula was miraculously spared, her parents felt that God had a plan for Lula’s life.

Lula attended Women’s College, now known as UNC-Greensboro, earning a degree in teaching in 1918. She served as a teacher and high school principal for one year. At age 21, Lula decided that she “could reach the poor, the lame and blind through Medicine.” With financial help from the Episcopal Church and Diocese of East Carolina, she began her study of medicine. She attended Johns Hopkins University, receiving a received a degree in medicine from Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia in 1925. She then became the first woman intern at the James Walker Hospital in Wilmington, NC.

After her internship, the Episcopal Church sent Dr. Disosway to China in 1926 as a medical missionary. After learning Chinese at Sochow University, she was assigned to head a 150-bed hospital in Shanghai. Proficient in all medical specialties, she found her calling in obstetrics. She taught at St. John’s Medical School from 1926, receiving a Professorship in Obstetrics in 1938. While in Shanghai, Dr. Disosway delivered approximately 10,000 babies. She experienced the Anti-Foreign War of 1927 and the Sino-Japanese War in 1932 and 1937. She was at Shanghai at the time of the bombing and capture of the city in 1937. World War II forced Dr. Disosway out of China in 1941.

Dr. Disosway continued her medical missionary work in Alaska. She served as the physician-in-charge of the Episcopal Church’s Hudson Struck Memorial Hospital in Fort Yukon, at the Indian village above the Arctic Circle. Fort Yukon is the oldest English-speaking settlement in Alaska and the first Anglican mission in the area. She was the only doctor within a radius of 100 miles.

In 1948 Dr. Disosway returned to New Bern and cared for her mother. In 1954 the Episcopal Church called Dr. Disosway to become the Medical Director at the Good Shepherd Hospital in New Bern. Good Shepherd was a hospital that served the black community and was operated by the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina.

In 1967 Dr. Disosway ran a maternity clinic at Craven County Hospital. The unit was known as “Stork Haven.” In 1968 Dr. Disosway received the Alumnae Service Award from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She was named “Woman of the Year” in New Bern in 1971.

Dr. Disosway died on February 13, 1973. In 1977 an all-faith chapel was established in the Craven County Hospital named “The Dr. Lula M. Disosway Chapel.”