During a series entitled “Church Characters,” I’m recalling some memorable people from decades of ministry.
Glenn and Lizzie belonged to the first church I served after seminary. They lived in a gray-weathered, clapboard house near the parsonage. The living room featured a wood heater stoked yearlong. On frigid winter days, I exited the home soaked in sweat.
An ancient chimney vented the smoke. One memorable day Glenn decided to burn off the soot and creosote by firing up the heater to a cherry red. I followed the fire engine sirens to the house. The tinder-box home miraculously escaped burning to the ground.
Despite age and health, Glenn continued to work the old family farm. The octogenarian wore a brace that supported his entire back, causing him to lean forward 45 degrees. One summer I helped him carry corn to a mill where the ramshackle, rumbling contraption converted the ears into meal.
Lizzie suffered every illness known to medicine. She kept the kitchen cabinets stocked with prescription bottles that avalanched to the counters below. The matriarch moaned about imminent death throughout the five years I served the church.
Glenn and Lizzie married in their twenties and celebrated 65 years of marriage during my tenure. Although they bickered and disagreed, they honored their vows with love and respect. The couple sat in matching recliners, passing the time together.
Hallmark would never make a movie about their lives, but I am grateful for older couples who model marital fidelity. In this world and the next, Glenn and Lizzie made quite the pair.