Jamie McCoy has lived in the same house since she was two years old. This little white house on Dickenson Highway in Clintwood, Virginia sits on the same block as Clintwood High School. For forty years, Jamie taught French and served as a guidance counselor at this school. Her commute was literally right next door to her home. She never church hopped, being a lifelong member of Clintwood Baptist Church located merely two blocks from her home.
Jamie is now eighty-three years old and has wrestled with the reality of her declining healthy for several years. She has remained in the only place known as home for her entire life. I have had the privilege of becoming Jamie’s pastor since my arrival at Clintwood Baptist Church in 2009. Becoming Jamie’s pastor is a high honor because she has such a high expectation for a pastor. She has seen many pastors come and go during her lifetime. Most of the pastors at Clintwood Baptist Church in the earliest days of the church history served as itinerate preachers, many traveled on horseback through the mountains serving more than one congregation. Longer term pastors served during the 1960s through 1980s. Jamie McCoy has seen much change in her lifetime while remaining unchanged herself in her home, work, and church life.
Jamie has taught the same women’s Sunday School class for fifty-six years. These women began studying scripture together as young women and are now the senior adult women’s class. They have seen much together and are now the oldest members of our congregation.
Missions education has always been a large part of Jamie’s life. Her active involvement in the WMU has yielded decades of missionary support.
I have visited with Jamie often lately as she adapts to the new changes in her life. Jamie asked me a few months ago to advise her on her pending move to an assisted living community. As I listened to Jamie recount her memories of her house and her community, I was struck at how rare a treasure Jamie McCoy really is. Jamie has only known one home her entire life and to change her address and church home at this stage comes with many challenges. My advice to her was to embrace this time of change as a mission opportunity. God will introduce Jamie to new friends and will certainly give her a new ministry for teaching.
Clintwood Baptist Church will be honoring Jamie McCoy this Sunday with a luncheon. She will move to her new home the next week but will never leave our church family. Clintwood Baptist Church is facing change. We will not be the same without Jamie. May God richly bless her in her new life with new friends and new opportunities to share the truth of God’s Word.
May God bless you Jamie McCoy. I am honored to be your pastor.