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Decatur nursing home ministry a life commitmentcomment (0)

June 29, 2006

By Martine G. Bates

Many years ago when some of Davis McRight’s teenage Sunday School class members wanted to start a nursing home ministry, he lectured them on the need for commitment, telling them, “If we do this, it won’t just be for one or two Sundays.”

When he was convinced that they were committed for the long haul, McRight agreed to help them. Despite his insistence on their commitment to the task, even he could not have imagined that he would spend more than 45 years engaged in that ministry. It included following the residents of the home through a move and a name change to what is now Decatur Health and Rehab.

McRight, a member of Macedonia Baptist Church, Decatur, in Morgan Baptist Association, began taking his young students to the nursing home, where they led the residents in singing and reading Scripture.

After a few visits, he saw the need for a Sunday School class for the residents and approached the director of the nursing home about starting one. “Once I got started, I felt like God had called me. I got the enjoyment of watching the people and talking to them,” he said.

When McRight ended his involvement earlier this year, it was for health reasons. At 86, he no longer has the strength to make the weekly journey to the nursing home and back to Macedonia Baptist for the worship service.
Even after several hospitalizations, he was reluctant to give up his ministry.

“I hated to quit,” he said. “I miss it.”

Like previous pastors, current pastor Keith Hudson has been supportive of McRight’s ministry. “Lay leadership is so lacking in our churches today,” Hudson said. “I am fascinated by his commitment and faithfulness.”

Christine McRight, who married McRight six years ago after the death of his first wife, has been a willing partner in the ministry from the beginning of their marriage.

“I knew what to expect when we married,” she said.

Even in the difficult times, Davis McRight never lost sight of why he was there. “I don’t do this for anyone else but for the Lord,” he said. “I wouldn’t take anything for the experience I had there.”

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