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FBC Andalusia honors pianist Merrill for long tenurecomment (0)

June 3, 2010


Practically everyone at First Baptist Church, Andalusia, knows Mary Clyde “M.C.” Merrill.

It would be difficult not to.

For the past 25 years, Merrill has served as the church’s Sunday morning pianist, and for almost 60 years, she has played a major role in its music ministry.

That’s why when she decided to retire as pianist, the Covington Baptist Association church decided to honor her by naming May 16 Mary Clyde Merrill Day.

The church presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a financial gift and held a reception in her honor following the morning service.

“Sunday morning, we spent time [focusing] and [reflecting] on M.C.’s contribution to our church,” Pastor Fred Karthaus III said. “She is gracious, loving, very talented and very creative and has been extremely faithful for the last 25 years.”

Merrill’s involvement in the music ministry actually began in 1951 when she moved to Andalusia to take a position as music director for the entire city school system.

She joined the choir immediately after joining the church. At that time, there was not a permanent pianist, so several women, including Merrill, took turns playing the piano for Sunday morning worship.

In 1985, Merrill became the official church pianist. Since then, she has served under five music ministers and as interim choir director on three occasions.

“Music was just my thing. I felt the Lord gifted me in that field, and I felt like that was my mission and that I was put here to do that,” Merrill said. “I felt the Lord … has enabled me to hang in there for these 25 years.”

But just because she is retiring as pianist does not mean she is retiring from music ministry all together, she said. Merrill will still be singing in the choir and playing the piano as needed.

“The main thing about M.C. is the example that she has put Christ in front of us in her daily walk and in her service,” said Dwight Crigger, associate pastor of music. “She has been a great example to all of us.”

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