Memories of McCary's Chapel

Front Row:  Raymond Hester, Karen Calloway, Letha Spann, Myrtle Hester, Donna Adkins, Veatrice Myers, Vicki Adkins, Linda Emmel

Middle Row:  Glenda Bowerman, Mrs. Hull, Betty Robertson, Betty Adkins, Louzell Bonner, Frankie Emmel, Delia McVay, Nadine Calloway

Back Row:  Rev. William Hull, Rev. H. O Bonner, H. C. Myers, G. D. Spann

Nelda (Myers) Smith

Bobby and I are excited about the Centennial Celebration.  We have always cherished our memories of McCary’s Chapel.   Here are some random thoughts I’d like to share:

Bobby’s Mother, Rosalie Smith, was a charter member of McCary’s Chapel.  She was very proud of that and she was completely faithful in her attendance.  Bobby’s Daddy, Joseph Winston Smith, and his other carpenters built the present church building. Mrs. Smith’s funeral service was in the church.

My family started going to McCary’s Chapel in the Fall of 1948 after we moved from Carlisle.  One of my most vivid memories is of “The Barber” who always provided a Christmas tree for the church and gifts of rhinestone necklaces to all the girls every Christmas.  I played the piano for the church services.  I’m not sure what years, but possibly when I was a Senior in high school and when I was going to college.  (1949-Jan. 1953).  Agnes (Smith) Few, Bobby's cousin and our class mate in school, was the choir director.  I shall never forget the wisdom and dedication of Mr. Hester, our Sunday School teacher.

My Mother, Veatrice Myers, was Sunday School Superintendent  for some years She attended regularly until she became immobile at the age of 98 except for the years she and Daddy lived on their ranch at Cotulla, TX.  Mother died at age 100 and her funeral service was held in the church.

Daddy, Clay Myers, also attended regularly even though he was a member of the Church of Christ.  If my brother, Bobby Joe Myers, and I wanted to attend the midnight show on Saturday night, he would let us, but made us sit in the choir to make sure we did not go to sleep in church and he asked us questions about the sermon or had us tell him about it on the drive home.  If we ever failed, we didn’t get to go for several Saturday nights. Daddy’s funeral service was also held in the church.

Bobby and I were married in the church with Brother Hull officiating.  The reception was held upstairs.

Shirley (Hester) Willoughby

When I was seven, I walked down the aisle at McCary’s Chapel and gave my heart to the Lord.  Brother A. N. Tiller was the pastor, and neither he nor my parents, Myrtle and Raymond Hester, knew I was about to do that.  Neither did I, but Brother Tiller go the message to all ages.

My first Sunday School teacher was Mrs. Inez Smith.

So I grew up at McCary’s Chapel.  We had a wonderful youth group.  A number of sponsors nurtured us through our youth.  I can’t remember all of them, but my dad, H. H Sebastian (known by all as “The Barber”) the Chamnesses, and the Atheys were among the supporters of our youth group.

On July 1, 1950, I married Stephen Eugene Willoughby at the altar of this church.  Brother William E. Hull tied a secure knot.  We’re still together.

McCary’s Chapel has been the main church of my lifetime.  Even though we’ve been absent for four brief periods, this has always been the church we’ve come back to.  I hope we can stay a long time.

Agnes (Smith) Few

Before my marriage, I was Agnes Smith, lived on Smith Hill and graduated from Sabine High School. During my high school years, I was Choir Director at McCary’s Chapel Church.  After graduating, I went to work in the office at Sabine School as Tax Collector and Bookkeeper.  I continued to serve as Choir Director and Sunday School Superintendent until October 12, 1957, when I married William Cleveland Few of the Joy Community and moved to Longview.

During this time, the choir presented several Cantatas at Christmas and Easter time.  Nelda Myers Smith played the piano for some of these, as did Lillian Wilkins.  These were presented on Sunday night and the church was full---not a seat to be had.

During this time, there was a Barber Shop on the corner across from the grocery store and the barber, Mr. Sebastian, (otherwise known as “Barber”) lived in the shop.  At Christmas time, he always put a huge Christmas Tree in the choir loft and decorated it.  

One night, we had a Christmas program and a girl was reciting the poem, “Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How Sturdy God Hath Made Thee”.  Well, the tree began to lean during this time and Barber got a hammer and began to hammer, trying to steady the  tree.  All of this was going on during the reciting of the poem.  It was so very funny.  

Since I worked at the school, close to the church, I was called often to sing at funerals.  I would leave work, sing, and return to work.  Since the superintendent , Mr. Betts, was a member of the church, this was o,k,

I have wonderful memories of my time at McCary’s Chapel .

Jo Poteet

We moved to Liberty City in 1949.  I tried to attend the Christian church in Kilgore, but I didn’t  have a hat or hose to wear or transportation to get there.  Christine Blackstone, Ed Blackstone’s mother, invited me to WSCS at McCary’s Chapel in the afternoon.  She came by for me and my daughter Mary.  I met the older ladies of the church—Mrs. Spann, Mrs. Rosalie Smith and others.

My children, Mary, Pat, and Richard, attended Sunday School and church, Bible School and later joined the church.  Mary played the piano.  I worked in Sunday School and Bible School.

I still enjoy going to McCary’s Chapel, and thanks to a little help from my friends, I plan on attending as long as I’m able.

Ron and Melody Patterson

We have many wonderful memories of McCary’s Chapel!  The following are the ones dearest to our hearts.

The Bake Sales the week before Thanksgiving - Everyone talking after Church, before Church, during Church, in every meeting at the Church swapping recipes, lists of things we would be baking, talking about what we would want if we were going to purchase baked goods for Thanksgiving - how we were going to wrap, label and price (the Liberty City Dairy Queen was so generous sharing their Taco Boxes with us which held a good supply of homemade cookies, a pie, a cake, or a nice batch of brownies!) ... and all of this was after our committee leader made arrangements with Brookshire's to set up our display of baked goods in front of their store ... and then the baking began - dozens of cakes from every size and every wonderful flavor, pies with double crusts or mounds of soft meringues, every kind of cookie that can be imagined, and brownies so luscious that the aroma permeated the air around the baking display ... Jo Poteet's famous & most sought-after cake was  always present! ... and then a group of volunteers (Carol Kotz was always one of the first to arrive and assist!)  met at the Church at 6 am, bundled tables, chairs, and the goodies into cars and the day began.  Meeting and talking with so many different people in the community - a cookie was given away to the children - a phone number was exchanged - I remember the smiles, the laughter, the mugs of coffee shared, and the humor shared with all the folks who stopped by our tables ...

The Christmas Bazaar - Now that was a fun time ... not all of us were artistic, but everyone could do something - birdhouses of every color and shape, towels edged in lace and ribbons - and who could forget those beautiful Christmas Ornaments that Evelyn White created or the beaded candles and red-hot peppers that Mr. Woody made!  (We met Mr. Woody at one of our Bake Sales at Thanksgiving, and he was attending Church and making Christmas Ornaments for our Christmas Bazaar in December! - just another wonderful memory from our Bake Sales).

Vacation Bible School - the music - the classes - the variety of foods for the children's snacks & lunches each day - (Frances & Thelma Lenning always shared their delicious pimento cheese sandwiches!) ... There were two Vacation Bible Schools that I remember with great fondness - my first when I met some true friends for life - and the Vacation Bible School when a group of us dressed in the Bible Days period and walked around the neighborhood with invitations for the children - that year would be difficult to surpass with the artwork, crafts, food, music, and the incredible genius of decorating each station ... my seven-year old grandson accepted Jesus as his Savior that year with many thanks to Evelyn and her earnest prayers with the children in her class ...

Sisters-in-Christ - the name says it all ... meetings once a month to discuss the Church, the Community, Missions, and how could we make a difference ... Prayers, visitations, meetings at the altar, creating fundraisers to assist with missions in the Methodist Church, the beautiful banners in the Sanctuary,  planning the painting of the Sanctuary and wallpapering the bathrooms & nursery (the painting of the sanctuary brought members of the community to the Church to assist, and one of our best United Methodist clergy of today (Reverend Ed Blackstone)  came that day to wield a paintbrush and begin his membership at McCary's Chapel which resulted in his ordination in The United Methodist Church!) ... and the birth of the Community Food Pantry ... and so much more - we exchanged names and prayed daily for our Sisters - it was a time to gather in a peaceful hour of sharing what God was doing in our lives ...

The Community Christmas Lights in the Park - this  project was also born out of our Sisters-in-Christ at the suggestion of one of our youth, Dana Joiner - the idea was to show the Light of Christ in the Community during these wonderful Christmas Seasons - a group of every age gathered on a Saturday morning and hung lights and decorations all through the Liberty City Park ... a Christmas "Cottage" was decorated and a volunteer Santa Claus appeared to pass out candies and listen to the children's wishes ... a tractor pulling a lighted wagonload of hay stopped in to give rides through the park, and the Church ladies stood at the entrance passing out hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and fresh, homemade Christmas Cookies!  ... Live Music entertainment flowed through the Park as folks drove or walked through or rode the wagon around - some wrapped in quilts, and all enjoying those cookies and hot drinks!  Those Christmas memories were the very best!

The Nursing Home ministry in Liberty City - this  ministry was also birthed in the Sisters-of-Christ - the Choir convened once a month and created a little shout for the residents of the Nursing Home ... the songs were the traditional from Cokesbury and a lot of the residents could sing along - some would get excited and lift their hands in praise, or clap, or just smile and enjoy the music ... it was not only the ministry of the Nursing Home but the connection among the choir members - I can still see Charley and Pauline Davis sitting on the back bench in the van  holding hands and laughing - their obvious devotion to each other was promise to all of us ...

And who could forget that HANDS of McCary Chapel's Quilt?!  What an undertaking! The Sisters-in-Christ were known for their beautiful quilts, but to top that legacy, a very special quilt was undertaken ... Every member, every member of every family involved with the Church, and every friend of the Church was invited to make a handprint (or footprint if it was a baby!) on this quilt ... and it was beautiful! It was auctioned, and I think we were all astounded at the  price it brought for the mission project - but the making of that quilt will be forever in my heart ...

I guess The Whizz Kids was the greatest surprise from the Church - a thrust from Sisters-in-Christ to boost the interest in the Youth of the Church resulted in a mind-snapping idea from Evelyn White ... we would gather the Youth, teach them Scripture and enter them in a program that enabled them to travel and compete and interact with other Youth Groups ... a strong undertaking, but what results! Soon a Team was formed and Evelyn declared the name came to her in a dream - The Whizz Kids! And ours were definitely whizz kids! Practice sessions were set up between the youth and teachers, between the youth and the pastor, between the youth and other members of the Church ... and let the contests begin! The Youth gathered at the Church with a few adults for supervision and traveled to designated areas of competition ... Several awards were acknowledged by The Whizz Kids, but the greatest thing achieved was their knowledge of the Bible and the lesson learned that anything is possible when we leave God in Control!

The Praise Team also came from a committee meeting that included the Sisters-in-Christ.  Laura Spann hammering the keys on the piano, Steve Woodfin, Jerry Klingman, and Pastor Ron on guitars, Joshua Patterson rattling the drums, and Clyde Mathews pulling those amazing sounds from his harmonica  ... Sunday evenings the roof would expand and the walls would pump as sounds of the McCary Chapel's Praise Raisers vibrated the service ... 

And then there were a few who enjoyed riding the Blue Toes Run on motorcycles to gather Christmas gifts for the children in the community who otherwise might not receive a gift - even Ruth Mathews in her eighties who had never been on a bike, climbed aboard behind the pastor, and rode around the neighborhood!

Garage sales for missions, lunches after Church, prayer around the altars, visiting the home-bound members ... all the things involved with an active Church, but tempered and filled with love and devotion to each other.  Lots of Laughter! That's what I remember the most - Lots of Laughter!!!

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