Ushers often are taken for granted as the church’s doorkeepers. But they play a vital role in the ministry. It takes a special, skilled person to serve as an usher.
Emma Sue Williams, who has been an usher since the age of 9 and is now 65, organized a group of ushers in May 2001 to serve as backups at funerals and other programs in the community, and the Long County Community Ushers’ Group was born.
“At an early age, I was baptized under the leadership of the late Rev. T.J. Wright at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Ludowici. I was trained as an usher and love serving as a servant of God. There was a great need in our community and surrounding communities for ushers to serve at funerals since a lot of ushers worked during the day when most funerals are held,” Williams said. “I was able to call upon ushers from different churches in Long as well as Liberty County. We come in and serve as a backup.”
“We also serve at banquets and other programs and are available to be of service to the community. We built a relationship with each others and that relationship has grown as we continue to serve the community. These ushers really enjoy being servants and take pride in what they are doing,” Williams said.
“When the group was first organized, Rosa Scott from Pleasant Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hinesville, Randy Williams of Elem Missionary Baptist Church in Ludowici and the late Joyce Miller of New Hope AME Church in Ludowici graciously consented to serve with me.”
At that time, Williams was a member of St. James Baptist Church in Ludowici.
“Others ushers soon joined the group. They include Ava Dean Cox of St. James Baptist Church in Ludowici; Mary Cobb, Evonne Beasley, Angela Mitchell and Mary King of Pleasant Grove AME; Lillian Banks of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church; Patricia Lockhart of New Hope AME; and Elizabeth Guyton of Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church,” she said.
To show her appreciation for the outstanding job the group of ushers has done, Williams is having an appreciation program for them at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the New Hope AME Church where the Rev. John Henderson serves as pastor.
Reginald Pierce, coroner for Liberty County and Dorchester Funeral Home director, will be the guest speaker. Mother Frances Daly of Elem Missionary Baptist Church is the mistress of ceremony, Williams said.
“I am humbled and honored to be asked to serve as the speaker for this appreciation program. As a funeral director and coroner, I am in many of the churches in the community. I observe ushers serving with dignity and pride, and they are worthy of this recognition,” Pierce said.
“Any usher who wants to be a part of the group is welcome to come on board,” Williams said. For more information about the program and the ushers’ group, call Williams at 237-3595.