MAYSVILLE – Martha Spiers is about ready to retire. Maybe. She’s served 34 years as the church secretary for First Baptist Church here.
At age 96 she thinks it might be time. She announced her decision but said she will work until a replacement is found.
Her pastor, Greg Dixon, said she “exemplifies what a church secretary should be: loyal, discreet, professional, and kind. The delicate balance of these qualities is hard to maintain for a church member who is also a church staff member. She does so with style and grace.”
Dixon added, “But the quality that I enjoy most about Martha is her quick wit. Her ability to have fun, maintain good humor, and to see the lighter side is a major part of her success in life. It has also contributed to her longevity in life and ministry.”
Associate pastor Kyle Bridgman told of coming to the church as a new staff member in the late 90s. “I started a praise band on Sunday nights after coming to Maysville. She walked in as I was setting things up, paused, and pointed her cane at the stage. I was ready for a rebuke, but instead she said, ‘You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to see a drum set in this church.’” Dixon said she wanted to play drums as a girl but was told it wasn’t very lady-like.
That seems to be pretty typical of Spiers. Her former pastor, Rodney Dorr, now retired and living in Maysville, said, “Tied with her sense of humor, she’s had a lot of challenges in life but in spite of all that she has a sweet spirit. She is very gracious and kind.”
Spiers was raised on a farm, married a farmer and had six children. But she always loved to write. For many years she wrote a weekly column for “Wide Country News,” as well as the church’s column in the local paper, the DeKalb County “Record-Herald.” Dorr said that experience with computers and writing helped her as she became church secretary in the 1980s.
Asked what she liked most about being a church secretary, Spiers said ,“I think being with the pastors.”
“Except maybe this one,” she added with a chuckle, referring to Dixon. She was teasing, of course.
When asked about challenges in this ministry, she spoke cheerfully: “One thing God has blessed me with is a funny mind. I enjoy life, I enjoy people who enjoy laughing. Nothing much flaps me. We just get it done.”
She says she tells the younger church secretaries, “Don’t let it be all seriousness. I don’t think God was all serious like. Jesus and His disciples laughed and enjoyed things. God has a sense of humor—just look at the people he made!”
The church plans to honor her on Dec. 20 with a card shower and a recognition in the morning worship service. Spiers will continue on a few more weeks or months. “When I get to the place I can’t go, I’ll give it up. I’m not there yet.”