Cool Ministry Moments:  The Time I Met Andy Griffith

For those of us in ministry, we always have some pretty cool moments that we will never forget.  Ones that will stick with us forever.  I thought it would be fun to begin a series of blog posts where I share with you some of my cool ministry moments over the past 14 years.  I hope you enjoy the series!

This past week I made a connection with someone on Facebook and this triggered a memory of one of the coolest ministry moments I have had. I posted on Facebook that I was wanting to give away some VBS supplies I had leftover from last year. It turns out the person who is in need of them is the Children’s Minister at the church where I did my field education placement when I was in school at Duke.  Such a small world!

photo 2In the summer of 2000 I was assigned to work with children and youth at Mount Olivet UMC in Manteo, NC.  I would be assisting the Director of Children and Youth in planning activities for the summer.  This pretty little town is in the Outer Banks.  I was super excited to be heading to the beach for my internship.  Who wouldn’t be, right?

I went to meet with the pastor before the summer began.  He took me to lunch and filled me in on the church:  the different programs, types of worship services, and exactly what I would be doing.  He also mentioned one cool piece of information:  Andy Griffith was a church member.  Wow!  How cool!  I was going to get to meet Andy Griffith.  I was excited!

But, he then went on to say that Andy had just suffered a heart attack and although he was recovering well, he probably would not be at church that summer.  What a bummer.  I was looking forward to meeting Andy.

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One of our VBS experiences. We made an outdoor tent as we learned about Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness.

The summer was a blast!  I learned so much about working in a church from the pastor, staff, and congregation of Mount Olivet.  Great kids and youth to work with as well.  We had so much fun going on trips, doing Bible studies, doing VBS, and I really enjoyed getting a hands-on experience of what it was like to work in a church.

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My older sister and I at the Bodie Island Lighthouse. She and my nephew came to visit that summer.




I had a lot of first time experiences that summer:  going to Busch Gardens in Virginia, visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, visiting and learning about each of the lighthouses on the Outer Banks, doing a sunrise Bible study at Jockey’s Ridge State Park (the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern U.S.), seeing wild horses on Ocracoke Island, going to the Lost Colony drama (a play about Sir Walter Raleigh’s attempts to establish a settlement on Roanoake Island), eating raw oysters (something I found very gross and have never done again), and getting to be part of a church staff. Lots of fun times that summer.

The summer seemed to fly by.  It was my next to last Sunday at the church when the pastor pulled me aside before the service started.  He told me that Andy Griffith and his wife, Cindi, were at the worship service that was getting ready to begin.  Oh my goodness.  I couldn’t believe it and I hoped the pastor would introduce me before he left the church.

I sat in the front row of the church like I always do.  Sitting two rows behind me was Andy Griffith.  When we sang the hymns, I could clearly hear his beautiful Gospel voice that we all know.

It was the first Sunday in August and in the United Methodist Church we always celebrate communion.  One of my duties as the intern was to assist in communion.  Andy and Cindi just happened to be on my side of the rail that morning.  I got to tell Andy “the body of Christ broken for you.”  How many people can say they have done that?

After the service ended, I joined the pastor out front to greet everyone as they left.  Andy came through the line and the pastor introduced me to him. He shook my hand and told me it was nice to meet me.  Very cool!!

That day was a highlight for me, but what I took away from that summer was much better.  God had given me an affirmation of His calling.  I was doing what God wanted me to do.  I got to share Jesus with so many kids and teens and help nurture and love them on their spiritual journey.  I was following God’s will and that, my friends, was the best feeling in the whole world.

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The view of Roanoke Sound from the house I stayed in. Loved seeing this view every day.
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I would sit on the pier across from where I lived and read books and write letters to family and friends almost every afternoon.
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My mother and younger sister came to visit, too!



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4 thoughts on “Cool Ministry Moments:  The Time I Met Andy Griffith

  1. Patsy Ferguson

    Hi Vanessa: I remember you telling us about being at Andy’s church that summer. I enjoyed reading your post!


    I love this blog.  A lot of what you did  that summer had not occurred to me in all the years since then—a wonderful chance for me to reminisce.  Plus I have my picture on a blog!!!

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