On Sunday, June 10, 2012 Vestavia Hills UMC’s contemporary service, New Traditions celebrated the ministry of Sue Strozier and Mary Ann Harris. These two women have volunteered their time and gifts each week for six years to adorn the altar and worship space for the Sunday morning service.
Sue and Mary Ann both are incredibly creative and artistic. Each Sunday the worshipers are greeted with a feast for the eyes, the gospel told through images. Each week they turned a multi-purpose room into a beautiful and holy place. And for special seasons such as Advent and Lent their ideas spread to the adornment of the entire space.
Sue is in her early 80’s and Mary Ann has just retired from teaching.
“To me,” says Rev. Nancy Hastings Hornsby, the pastor of New Traditions this past year, “this is the church at its best—when all are welcomed and encouraged to share their gifts—age does not matter!”
Rev. Sherry Harris, who arrived at Vestavia Hills UMC in 2006 as the pastor for the New Traditions service, invited Sue and Mary Ann to assist her in setting the altar for worship. From that invitation grew this dynamic ministry and also a lasting friendship between Sue and Mary Ann.
Sue and Mary Ann have mentored and encouraged others to continue this ministry. The now pass this ministry on to two other women in the congregation.
“I was so blessed to work with these two very dedicated and gifted women,” Rev. Hornsby adds. “I doubt many other contemporary worship services have an 80-something year old woman arranging the altar and hanging stars on their Chrismon Tree! I am very blessed to be in ministry at a place that does not stereo-type or categorize the worship services. This dynamic-duo helps to exemplify the inclusiveness we need in our communities of faith.”