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93-year-old FBC Glencoe member celebrates nearly 60 years in choircomment (0)

August 28, 2003

By Theresa Shadrix

In the last 59 years, First Baptist Church, Glencoe, has staffed more pastors and music ministers than Dolores McGlathery can remember.

When she joined the church in 1944, she did so because she was a new believer in Jesus but it was her love of music that led her to join the adult choir.  “I don’t feel right sitting down in the audience,” she said jokingly.

McGlathery, 93, was recognized recently by the Glencoe congregation for her membership and dedication in the adult choir for more than half a century. Her four children gathered with their families at a Sunday morning worship service to honor her as the church presented a plaque from Pastor Vince Whittington and Barry Benefield, minister of music.  

“They scared me to death,” McGlathery said. “I didn’t know what they were going to do to me. I couldn’t say anything.”

She didn’t ask what her children were doing at the church because she was grateful to have them gathered together. “I didn’t want them to think I was silly by asking what they were doing there,” she said.

Legacy of music

While McGlathery’s children don’t attend First, Glencoe, now, they do have memories of growing up there.

Before an organized nursery ministry, McGlathery held her youngest son in her lap in the choir loft and placed him in her chair when it was time for her to stand and sing.

Her daughter, Rovene, begn singing at age 6 and traveled as far away as Atlanta to perform.

Born in Cherokee County in 1910, McGlathery is a self-confirmed country girl who would rather hear a traditional country hymn than a modern song. She has loved music all of her life. “We lived in the country and didn’t have nothing,” she said. “I was crazy about music.” 

McGlathery received a piano from her father just before she married husband, Sam, when she was 16 but never formally learned to play.

A piano sits in her dining room, with pictures of loved ones placed neatly on top. She attempts to play a few tunes when she can but says it is getting harder for her fingers to embrace the keys.

Benefield said that in all of his years in the music ministry he has never seen such commitment from one person. “Mrs. Mc-Glathery is the first and probably will be the last I have seen to sing in the adult choir for 60 years, in the same church, the same choir,” he said. 

“Mrs. McGlathery is always an inspiration and a loving person,” Benefield said, noting the plaque from the church states, “‘We love you,’ because every time she greets someone she will say, ‘I love you.’” 

Whittington said every once in while she will ask if it is time to step down from the choir. “I simply tell her no and that God still needs her,” he said.

McGlathery says her health is steady and although it is getting harder for her to belt out long-winded tunes, she said she will stay committed to the choir and music.  Every Friday she can be found at the Glencoe Senior Citizens Center doing what she loves best, singing.

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