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El Bethel woman shares life story of grace, provisioncomment (0)

December 24, 2009

It took Shirley Dorchies about 35 minutes to get through her testimony on a recent Sunday night at El Bethel Baptist Church, Chancellor.

It took her 74 years to live it. 

“When she gave her testimony, it was very powerful,” Pastor David Grier said. “She grew up in a time of war, and it was basically about how God worked through her life and tragedy and also good times.”

The standing ovation Dorchies received from the Geneva Baptist Association congregation was, in a sense, the culmination of a spiritual journey that began for her as a young girl in war-torn Belgium in the 1930s.

“She had been talking about it for a couple of years,” Dorchies’ husband, Raymond, said of her giving her testimony. “It was really very important for her.”

Raised Catholic, Dorchies said she didn’t truly experience the Christian life until she came to America in 1955. She lived in New England until 2001, when she moved to Alabama.

“When I sat in Mass, it had no effect on me. And when I came here (Alabama), it was a totally different attitude because the preachers make you see what’s true and bring it forth from the Bible,” Dorchies said. “I’ve been a Christian all my life, but it never affected me in such a way that it does now until I joined the Baptist church.”

After joining El Bethel Baptist in 2004, she made the decision to be baptized. Again. “I was baptized when I was born,” Dorchies said in giving her testimony. “I … never understood why they were in such a hurry to do that.”

Dorchies’ attitude and desire for the Word is something her pastor appreciates. “Shirley embraces wholeheartedly the faith and theology of the Baptist church,” said Grier, who came to El Bethel in 2008. “She’s never once come to me since I’ve been her pastor and questioned anything I taught or preached. Sometimes she’ll even tell me, ‘You preach it, Brother David. You preach it.’”

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