Last Sunday,  5/6/13, was a special Sunday at our church.  It is the Sunday that Senior Adults are celebrated at Southside.  There were special speakers and singers…all of the senior variety.  And then there was a presentation of the Senior Adult of the Year.  And, guess who it was for this year?  It was Pop!

Joy and I learned of this honor a month or so ago and had made plans for the day.  Both of her girls and their families were there.  Ian drove in from Birmingham, Adam and Suzanne came, and Alex made a heroic effort and was able to go, as well.  Pop came into church and was surprised to see all of Joy’s family.  While Lori and Ben attend Southside, Tara, Will and Little John Thomas attend church in their little town of Abbeville.  He did not seem to think it odd at all that they were all there.  Then, he walked over to where we sit.  There sat Ian, And Alex.  He was very surprised to see them both.  And, while he was standing there…here comes Adam and Suzanne!  Still, he thought it just happenstance.  We sent him back to sit with the ‘girls’….that way he would be closer to where the presentation would take place.

The service started. And soon came time for the presentation.  Following is what our Director to Sr. Adults and close family friend, Rhonda Grandstaff read………

In May of each year, we recognize and celebrate Senior Adults in our church. We make an attempt to show them just how much they are loved and appreciated.  We do this by recognizing them in the Sunday morning service and providing a luncheon for them on their special day – Sr. Adult Day.

Also, each year the members of the Sr. Adult Committee nominate a Sr. Adult to be the recipient of Southside’s Sr. Adult of the year. This is done by secret ballot.

The recipient of the award this year joined Southside in 1963  and has been a faithful member for a total of 49 years.  He has held many positions in our dear church – some of which include:  adult counselor to Southside’s Youth Council, deacon, member of the budget committee, committee on committees,  insurance and safety committee, church training director,  missions committee, nominating committee, brotherhood director, trustee for the church,  and department director.  As a department director, he continues to be an advocate for the Senior Adults by encouraging them to avail themselves of all the opportunities that Southside offers.  He also takes great pride in being a friend to the young people of our church.

 He is a strong supporter for missions.  This has been evident in his giving and serving.  He has been on 8 trips to over 31 countries and has demonstrated a genuine love for the Southern Baptist missionaries and their work (by building churches, doing home repairs, funding radio stations, and befriending missionary kids in many ways.)

 He has always been a strong and faithful family man.  He was married to the love of his life for 58 years.  His wife was extremely involved in missions for much of their married life – leading the Southside ladies in annual mission trips. He has 2 daughters who are active members of Southside Baptist Church.  God has blessed him with 5 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

It was a unanamous decision by the Sr. Adult Council to recommend Mr. Clyde Townsend as Southside’s Sr. Adult of the Year.

Join me in expressing our appreciation for his hard work and dedication to our church but more importantly to our Lord.

We all know that Mrs. Ella would have been so proud of this deserving honor bestowed on him.

And about halfway through, he realized they were talking about him.  So surprised, he said he didn’t realize there had been a standing ovation until looking at the pictures and talking to us.  He walked up and received his plaque from our Pastor, Brother Stacy, and a beautiful rose for his lapel.  The children of the church had made him a snuggly blanket to keep in his reading chair.   But, he still didn’t put it together why all his grandchildren were there.  The church provided a wonderful luncheon for all the Seniors in the church, and they had a head table set up for our family…15 places with high chairs on either end!  And that’s when he said…”That’s why you all came today!”  We had a delicious lunch, and enjoyed visiting with each other as well as with many of our friends.  So many people came over and said such nice things to Pop.   He is so dear to us, but he is special to others as well.

Southside has had its share of hard times through the years…I think most churches go through some of this.  Pop has seen things firsthand since he joined Southside in 1963.  We have dealt with situations that required finesse, we have had to perform unpleasant tasks, we have  had to take away, and build back up.  We have had years full of blessings and years when the going was more difficult.  We have grown and failed to grow.  We have been been stolen from in more ways than one.  But, this great church has stood.  It has taken its blows and it has become stronger from its wounds.  It has produced preachers, teachers, ministers of music and education, and missionaries…and business men and women and mothers and fathers and on and on and on.   It has produced strong men and women from its boys and girls.  They have gone and continue to go out into various communities all over our country and others.

Southside is strong and has been strong, and will continue to be strong because of the great men and women who have stood firm through good times and bad. This is the legacy those of my generation have been given.  This is the legacy we stand on as we strive to follow in the paths that the seniors  still among us, as well as those who have gone to Glory, have left to us.   This is the the legacy we will, in turn, leave to our children.

I write all these deep thoughts to say to all those seniors in our church, “Thank you for showing us the way to build a church…not just telling us.  Thank you for showing us how to live when we had differences and disagreements with one another…not just telling us.  Thank you for showing us how to revere and appreciate our church…not just telling us.  Thank you for being examples that we are blessed to follow.  Thank you for showing a Christ-like attitude and loving forgiveness to those who seemed intent on harming the spirit of our fellowship.

So, though my Pop was the recipitent this year of this honor…and I am so proud of him…I wish to honor all the seniors of our great church.



















It was a good day.  Pop is still talking about his honor!  He’s so happy!  To the Sr. Adult Committee we say ‘Thank-you, from our hearts.”

And, I add..”Thank you to all the seniors for your stedfastness, wisdom and guidance.”


“The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.”     Proverbs 20:29

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor;  It is attained by a righteous life.”    Proverbs 16:31

“…the older women should then teach the younger…”     Titus 2:4

“To the older men; be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”  1 Peter 5:1-4