DOUGLASVILLE — The year was 1957 and Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the third and final time, appearing only from the waist up ... even while he sang "Peace in the Valley." Dwight David Eisenhower just began his second term as president of the United States.
And just as important in history, Sandra McKown sat down at the organ at Beulah Baptist Church to begin a ministry that would continue for well beyond a half century.
On June 11 the congregation set aside time to honor the only organist many have known for 60 years of service and ministry. Pastors and staff have come and gone, but McKown has remained at her post, adding musical accompaniment for a variety of church events from revivals to musicals to worship services.
Babies were born, grew up, and married in the sanctuary, many to her accompaniment beginning with Mendelssohn's Wedding March.
The 60th anniversary coincided with her announcing her retirement. Terry Pearman, worship and operations pastor, said the congregation honored her with a diamond necklace "for her 60 years of faithful service and will be giving her the organ she played in the church as a retirement gift. She has the first organ she played at Beulah in her home and she asked if she could have the last one, as well.
"Sandra has been very faithful in her service here at BBC," Pearman remarked. "She attended all worship services and choir practices every week including many extra practices for musicals and special events. She has seen a lot of change over the years in the worship ministry."
Pearman noted that McKown started serving "when it was just her on the organ and a pianist and she transitioned to playing right along with the praise band. She has genuinely lived up to Colossians 3:23-24 where it says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."
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