The idea of getting out of the building is what shaped the Circle of Love into what it is today — in more ways than one.
Years ago, Catherine Ray and some other members of the Woman’s Missionary Union group at First Baptist Church in Childersburg, went to talk to the pastor at the time, and discovered he wasn’t supportive of them having a WMU.
Ray wasn’t deterred. She had grown up through WMU’s missions education groups and spent many hours doing hands-on missions over the years.
“So we actually left the church building and began to meet at Catherine’s home and in the home of Ann Casaday (Coosa River Baptist Association WMU director at the time),” remembered Marion Aldridge. “I really credit Catherine Ray for keeping our WMU alive. They kept the light burning for us.”
Today the Circle of Love has around 25 members from a dozen churches in the area, some of which aren’t Baptist. They’re meeting back at First Childersburg, but being outside the church walls for a while helped them reach out to a number of congregations.
And in that season, they started getting outside the walls of the church in another way.
“It was really Catherine Ray and Ann Casaday who said, ‘Let’s get out of this building and do something,’” Aldridge remembered. “So we began to do hands-on projects. We began to meet needs all over the community.”
Efforts ranged from helping a special needs class to providing teddy bears for first responders to give to children in distress.
For years, they’ve collected school supplies for Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and provided items to Adullam House in Wetumpka.
“We’re very hands-on,” Aldridge said. “I think that’s remarkable because most of us are over the age of 70. Catherine Ray and Ann Casaday were very responsible for that and keeping it alive.”
On July 13, the group visited the national WMU office in Birmingham, to see the Walk of Faith prayer garden — specifically, to see the brick dedicated to Catherine Ray, who died in April at age 96. The brick says simply, “Catherine Ray, WMU 50+ years, Childersburg, AL.”
But the women know her legacy would take hundreds of words to tell.
There’s also a brick there in honor of Casaday and her late husband, William, who formerly was Coosa River Association director of missions. Casaday is still a member of the Circle of Love.
Stan Albright, current director of missions for Coosa River Association, was present at the WMU building and thanked the group for carrying on the legacy of being “the hands and feet of Christ wherever you go.”
Share with others: