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Running the show
In the pulpit
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Often, the first impression we get of a person or place is a lasting impression. Whether it is walking into a church’s office or placing a telephone call to a church, the first person you encounter is usually an administrative staffer. These “frontline soldiers” are charged with ensuring the office is run effectively and efficiently while making visitors or callers feel comfortable.  
Although some administrators are still referred to as secretaries, many clerical positions have been reclassified as administrative assistants, executive secretaries or executive assistant.
Liberty County is fortunate to have church secretaries and administrative assistants who are cordial and experienced. These men and women have been in their positions for some time and look forward to interacting with people on a daily basis. They realize their jobs are part of the ministry and want to do their best for the church.
Longtime secretary Dotty Fermin of First United Methodist Church in Hinesville said she enjoys the day-to-day operation of providing administrative support. A Liberty County native, Fermin has worked as a secretary with the church since 1991.
“I also worked as a church secretary when my husband was stationed in Hawaii,” she said.
Some of Fermin’s duties include answering the telephone, responding to questions, preparing bulletins and newsletters, keeping the calendar updated, typing, filing, responding to e-mails and scheduling weddings.
“A secretary has to be friendly and polite and be willing to help anyone, whether they are a member of the church or not. We have a lot of people coming in, and you have to know how to deal with them,” Fermin said.
She said her job is rewarding. “I love being able to help people and direct them in the right direction. It is good to meet people and tell them about the church and invite them to come. Pastor Douglas Force is an excellent pastor. He is good to work for,” Fermin said.
In addition to her secretary role, Fermin teaches Sunday school and serves on the youth and lay leadership committees. She works at the church from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Fridays.
Fermin’s husband Bernard is retired from the military. He is a paramedic at Fort Stewart and they have two children, Jeremy and Morgan. Jeremy is a sophomore at the University of Georgia and plays in the band. Morgan is a freshman and also plays in the band.
Fermin said she loves shopping and spending time with her family.
Another well-known administrative assistant, the Rev. Brianne Felton, works at Fellowship of Love Church of God in Christ in Allenhurst. Although she serves as the church’s administrator, she is also a minister. Felton has worked as the church administrator since January 2006. Before that, she worked as an adminstrator at other churches.
She keeps track of the church’s daily operations. “I keep the calendar, prepare and disseminate correspondence, serve as the church liaison, prepare bulletins, schedule events and prepare payroll,” Felton said.
She said she loves talking with people. “I really enjoy doing what I do and working for God. I am a willing vessel. My pastor and elect lady, Dr. Larry Murray and Dr. Mary Murray, love God’s people. They are focused, determined, inspiring and loving.”
Felton also is the chief armor/adjutant, secretary for the church’s board of trustees and she sings in the choir. A native of Philadelphia, she moved to Hinesville with her husband, the Rev. Lenton Felton, who is in the military. They have two boys.
Fermin and Felton say they enjoy helping their churches.
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