Historian by osmosis
Welcome Mary Anne Marberry
When Dr. Charles W. Kerr accepted the call to pastor First Presbyterian Church Tulsa in 1900, little did he know that a century and quarter later, a great grandniece would quarry the history he helped create.
“Uncle Charlie,” as Mary Anne called him, would agree with those who acclaim the many skills Mary Anne brings to her newest position, First Church historian.
“Remember the days of old, think of the generations long ago; ask your father to recount it and your elders to tell you the tale.”
– Deuteronomy 32:7
Gary Mathews, immediate past Session clerk, expressed it this way, “I first met Mary Anne when she was nominated by the congregation to serve on Session for a term 2019-2021. She was selected to serve as chair of the Worship and Music Committee. I learned how well she knew the people and history of First Church and could relate that history to the activities of the committee. From redesign of the Sacristy, construction of the new baptismal font, supporting ushers, communion flowers and keeping the Sanctuary (and other worship spaces) organized, these are just some of the things Mary Anne managed during her term as chair. I have learned from her and enjoyed working with her on Session.”
Ron Pearson, director of Music Ministries, served with Mary Anne on the Worship and Music Committee and echoes many of Gary's observations. “I had the pleasure of working alongside Mary Anne while she served very effectively as the chair of the Worship and Music Committee. She was always well prepared for meetings, always positive in her leadership style, and she was determined to follow through on major projects that sometimes took longer to complete than anyone expected.
She was a steady hand with a committee that works behind the scenes to beautify our worship service, and I am grateful to her for her many years of service in that role. On a lighter note, she will also be remembered for her practice of bringing tasty treats to committee meetings including brownies, cookies, and cheese and crackers; this small but telling gesture endeared Mary Anne to everyone who served with her.”
Duff Points, executive director of Adult Ministries, sits in the cat bird's seat and understands Mary Anne's gifts to the church better than possibly anyone. Duff commented, “I love the thought that someone who grew up in this family of faith at 7th and Boston has stepped into the role of our church historian.
“Mary Anne knows well the history of our church, the pastors, and the many congregants who have gathered here through the years.”
Each and every week Mary Anne and Tom attend the 11:00 a.m. worship service in the Sanctuary. There is something comforting about seeing their quiet and dedicated presence in worship each Sunday at the same time, in the same pew, in the same section of the Sanctuary. Mary Anne is a faithful servant to Christ and His church. You will find her decorating the Sanctuary with other faithful servants before Christmas and Easter. Or perhaps you will see her repurposing Sunday's Chancel flowers into beautiful bouquets for those members who are in hospitals or nursing homes.
During the pandemic she served on the First Church COVID-19 Task Force as Worship and Music Committee chair. Mary Anne thought through every single detail of how we could safely serve communion to those attending worship at the church as well as to our members who were worshiping virtually from home. She exhibited such devotion and determination to ensure that our entire family of faith could partake of the Lord's Supper. I am confident that she will take this same level of care and commitment to the role of historian.”
Janie Long, our former Parish Visitor, commented about her sister. "As the first born of three girls, she was always the smartest. She excelled in every subject in school and set a high bar that neither Sandi nor I ever came close to. She simply loves to learn. And the more details there are to be uncovered, the better! Church historian is a task she was born to do. Literally. Our parents were both raised at First Presbyterian, our great uncle by marriage was the first pastor. Our family roots are deep in the church. Mary Anne has a passion for history and will be relentless in uncovering and documenting details that no one else would ever think of. No rock will go unturned if Mary Anne is at the helm as historian!”
When Vicky and I met with Duff and Dr. Miller, we were asked the question, “Do you have anyone else to recommend in case Mary Anne declines?” We were unequivocal in our response. “No, Mary Anne is the person!”
About the author: Joan Williams Hoar is the First Church Historian Emeritus, an elder and a member since 1978. Joan has traveled the globe, and her education includes Asian Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo and a master’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on Japanese print and literature from OU.