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First Baptist honors Melton with ceremony

They talked about their memories. They sang her favorite hymns. And, when it was over, they hugged and kissed Laverne Melton Sunday night.

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Roger Dunaway hugs Lavern Melton during Sunday's ceremony marking Ms. Melton's departure.

"Thank you for understanding God's call," said Ms. Melton, who is leaving after 30 years as Minister of Music at Thomson's First Baptist Church. "Thank you for understanding how God calls us to work in different ways."

She'll be moving to Columbus soon to take the Minister of Outreach and Special Events position at the First Baptist Church where former Thomson First Baptist Pastor Dr. Jimmy Elder is on staff.

"This will always be your home," said Rev. Jim Ramsey, current past of First Baptist of Thomson, during Sunday night's "Loving Tribute to The Ministry of Laverne Melton." "So always come back home, y'hear?"

Superior Court Judge Roger Dunaway served as the emcee for Sunday night's event. He said he's known Ms. Melton for years, and she's been very close to his family.

"She is beloved - not only here, but also in the community," he said, "...She's taking the love and prayers of First Baptist to Columbus."

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Ms. Melton speaks during her ceremony.

The church also presented Ms. Melton with jewelry and a check as going-away gifts.

For Amy Jenkins, it was about remembering how Ms. Melton was there for choir trips, her profession of faith, her graduation, her wedding and the birth of her children.

"It's hard to say goodbye to someone with whom you've shared so much," said Mrs. Jenkins through tears.

Tinye Harding said Ms. Melton has spent years stressing the true role of the choir - and the choir director.

"Our responsibility is to do our very best for God when we stand there and sing," she said. "We're not performing for y'all, we're performing for God. ... She's preparing us for what we'll be doing in our eternal lives."



Web posted on Thursday, January 12, 2006











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