A Walk Down Their Path
A story of Discipleship with the Pathfinders by Crystelle Markley
Originally published in The First Edition, May 2015 Issue
Do you remember our church before the McKinney Ministry Center and Atkins Learning Center? Do you remember our church when we had just one pastor or just one service? Do you remember Georgetown when the population was just 5,000? For most of you, the answer is likely no. But for most members of a small group in our church, the Pathfinders they call themselves, the answer is a resounding YES!
The year was 1946, the war had ended and those who had graciously served our country were finally coming home. First Methodist was home to many young couples who were finally being reunited, and at the time, our church had two Sunday school classes, the Godbey class for men and Homebuilders class for women. The desire for coed fellowship quickly emerged, and the Pathfinders class began.
One of the original founding members, Mary Bost, is 93 years old and still lives alone in Georgetown on her 200 acre ranch. She actively attends church service and the Pathfinders class. I was lucky enough to spend some time with her recounting the birth of the class and her many years of membership at FUMC. She remembers the class’ early days, meeting in a southeast corner room on the third floor of the educational building with Dr. William Finch leading them. Mrs. Bost laughed about some of the “lively conversations” she remembered, specifically around a presidential election. She fondly remembers Burr Clifford, a scholar with a rich Biblical background, who led their class for 20 years and Farley Snell who led for 28 years. I asked her how many folks regularly attend class, expecting her to say “ten” or “twenty,” but my expectation was quickly doubled. “We have about 40 attend every Sunday. There are about 80 members.”
Randy Woodley, who serves as class president (a shared responsibility with Betty Mulanax) shared some insight into the organization of the class. To his knowledge, Pathfinders is the only Sunday school class that strictly follows the lectionary and the Christian calendar, covering the entire bible in about three years. The class begins with some social time, an opening prayer, and sharing of joys and concerns and then moves into a devotional shared by various members of the class. Joe Way, a retired military chaplain, then provides the scripture and lesson for the week. Mr. Woodley also mentioned that the class holds 3 or 4 social activities throughout the year and contributes financially to church activities. The group is tight knit and committed to growing weekly in their spiritual journey.
Although the class can certainly brag about their weekly attendance, they are saddened to have lost several aging members over the past few years and are eager to have new or seasoned members of our congregation join them. “We would certainly welcome them with open arms,” said Mrs. Bost. I asked Mr. Woodley his thoughts on the evolution of our church over time because he has been a member of FUMC for over 30 years. “I think the most remarkable thing about this church - when it was built in the 1870’s – is that those people were so visionary. They built a facility like this that has continued to address the needs of a growing community.” So much of that vision can be tied to many people in one remarkable Sunday school class who would love to have you connect with them.
If you are interested in the Pathfinders class as part of your discipleship process to grow in God’s grace, please join them Sunday mornings at 9:45am in room M7 (mezzanine level). For information, please contact Randy Woodley, 512.863.9135
Crystelle Markely is a guestwriter and a member of FUMC Georgetown.