Ethel was a Bible teacher at Special Gathering. Additionally, she wrote many books for the mentally challenged community and they were published in our monthly newsletter. Ethel and I shared a passion for writing and Special Gathering. Therefore, we became good friends through our shared ministry concerns. In addition, we both excelled at “going to lunch” and we practiced that part of our friendship often.
Ethel wrote for our monthly newsletter “Connecting Point,” and she was incredibly faithful in her efforts. Even after she moved to Volusia County, Ethel always met our deadlines; and she wrote with great skill and feeling for the special needs population.
As a Bible teacher, Ethel could not be matched. She taught the Scriptures with a keen eye for truth and clarity. Her class was a verse-by-verse discussion study for our readers. It has become the model for our leadership and readers classes.
My first view of Ethel came 22 years ago through Sarah, her daughter who was mentally challenged. It was my first year at Camp Agape, our annual ministry retreat. Sarah was my bunk mate. I had the top bunk and she had the bottom.
On Sunday afternoon, after two days of camp, I thought I was too tired to climb to the top bunk. Therefore, I decided to lay on Sarah’s bottom bed, thinking that she would never notice or understand. I was wrong!
Sarah came into the cabin and jumped me. “Get off my bed,” she insisted. “You can’t get on my bed!” Ethel had taught Sarah well. It is vital for our population to understand their value and Sarah knew that I was an intruder and she wasn’t intimidated by me. Ethel treated Sarah as an adult, and she allowed Sarah the dignity of being valued as a child of the Lord.
One year, in touring our campgrounds one year, Ethel asked Sarah what she liked best about camp. Immediately, Sarah said, “Pool.”
Shocked, Ethel said, “You don’t know how to play pool.” Sarah walked over to the pool table and demonstrated to her mother that she certainly did know how to play the game. Ethel smiled and replied, “Guess she showed me.”
Ethel was never willing to compromise her faith. Yet, she shared the message of Jesus with compassion and great love. Her greatest legacy is her faith in Christ and love for all people but especially for the men and women who knew and loved her through her ministry within the mentally challenged community.