There never was any doubt about what church I would attend when I graduated from the University of Texas in 1953 and came to work in Houston. While I looked for roommates and a place to live, I stayed with longtime family friend Grace Bethea (who later married Joe Ross) and her mother, Fannie. It just happened that Grace was St. Luke’s Director of Christian Education at that time, so of course, it was understood that I would join this church.Grace steered me to the big room on the third floor where the church’s young single’s class met, and I began a journey that has lasted over 65 years. It is no doubt difficult for today’s young adults to realize that there was a time when not every young single owned a car, but it’s true–and I was one who did not. So when a class party was announced, I called the host and inquired if there was someone who could give me a ride. Clyde Jackson answered the call and six months later we were married.
Soon after we were married we were asked to sponsor the Junior High MYF. On our first Sunday night, Harold Bruce, who had taken Grace Ross’s place as Education Director, opened the door to the old Hines Baker Room, pushed us in, and quickly shut the door behind us without saying a word. The boys were throwing biscuits at each other and there was general bedlam. We were terrified. Had Durwood Fleming’s daughters Pam and Marty not come to our rescue, we might have resigned before we started. We came to love those kids, though, and it was with real regret that we left the group a couple of years later when I became pregnant. Harold told us we would have to resign because “the children might notice something and ask questions.” My how times have changed!
Gradually we became a part of the St. Luke’s family, although it was more that St. Luke’s became our family. Our children grew up attending Wednesday night church suppers Sunday School, MYF and just about anything any time the doors were open; and twenty-nine years after Clyde and I were married, our daughter processed down the aisle of the sanctuary to marry a young man she also met in a singles class at St. Luke’s.
When Clyde and I joined with Ann and Randy Smith and others in forming what became the Randy Smith Bible Study Class, St. Luke’s truly became our family. Through the years the members of that class have shared their prayers, their love, and their lives, becoming our brothers and sisters as surely as those who carry our family name. Although we have lived in Dallas for thirteen years now and belong to a great Methodist Church, that class and this church will always be home.