|Jerry Shelton (R) with his father on the date of Jerry's ordination.|
There have been a few times in my life when I have found myself almost speechless, so, I ask you, in advance, to forgive my humble attempt to respond to the honor you have bestowed upon me as Deacon Emeritus.
When I stood before God, in the company of my two dearest friends, Jimmy Walker and Marvin Triesch, and the Body of Baptist Temple, on January 26, 1969, little did I envision such an honor would come my way. That sort of thing was reserved for those who stood head and shoulders above me in their service to the Lord.
Their names I shall never forget. I am looking forward to our reunion in heaven. Manuel Barrera, Hub Ferguson, Marvin Foster, Weldon Frazelle, Ralph Gonzales, Russell Hildebrand, John Kight, Bobby Kingston, Alton Newell, Jim Shelton (my dad), Crockett Thigpen, Doug Woodall and so many others.
I have to admit referring to “Webster's” in order to determine the definition of emeritus. I found that the word is both a noun and an adjective. Plainly spoken, “one retired from professional life but permitted to hold the rank of his last office as an honorary title.”
My parents placed on the cradle roll of Calvary Baptist Church when I was a week old. On September 29, 1946 as a young lad of 11, I gave my heart and my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and I promised to serve Him all the days of my life.
On December 11, 1955, while working at Alamo Iron Works, I joined Baptist Temple alongside Don Barnet (Bill's brother). Don had bid me to come to Baptist Temple for two reasons: 1. There were no more young people at Calvary; 2. He had a dear friend, Mary Lee Graham, he wanted me to meet. Mary Lee and I had our first date at that year's New Year's Eve watch-night party and the rest, as they say is history. We were married in 1958 and had two children and five grandchildren. We have been blessed beyond belief.
In 1970 I accepted the nomination as teacher of the Adult men's Sunday school class. For 42 years those men were my joy and inspiration. Their faithfulness, prayers and love were more than anyone could ask.
I retired from teaching in November 2012 to care for Mary Lee's mounting health problems: stroke, mastectomy and Parkinson's. I felt that her physical condition demanded my full-time presence. I think the Lord understands.
I had the joy of singing in the adult choir for 52 years and the barbershop/gospel quartet for 32 years. The Pipe Creek committee, with its Pipe Creek Posse, was one of the highest points of my life.
In the past 57 years, since joining Baptist Temple, I have, perhaps, been placed on every committee of the church; including two terms as chairman of the Deacons.
Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forward. None of us have come to where we are today by ourselves. Many people have people and events have contributed vital sparks to our lives that have blessed us.”
Each of you, in your own way, has touched me. I have grown. I will never forget you. I shallproudly be a deacon all of my days.