Martha Sparks Society Editor
September 8, 2013
Nighbert Memorial United Methodist Church recently honored their church secretary for 40 years of faithful service.
A celebration honoring Iris Shanklin, along with her husband Luther, was held August 18, 2013 following the morning worship services. Everyone gathered in the fellowship hall where everyone enjoyed a menu of Iris’ favorite foods — Spaghetti with meatballs, Lasagna and Chicken Alfredo.
Iris and Luther were also showered with gifts, cards and love on the special day.
Iris began her career at Nighbert on August 15, 1973. She was 21 years old and had completed two years of college.
The first pastor that Iris worked for was Curtis and Virginia Saville who had been appointed to Nighbert just six weeks previously was in need of a secretary or assistant.
Current Pastor Tom Beckette spoke with Mr. Saville and when he told him that they were celebrating Iris’ 40th year, he quickly reminded Pastor Beckett that he was the one that hired her and trained her in the job. Beckett said Mr. Caville served Nighbert for five years and had great memories of the church, the people and Iris.
In 1978, Bill Turley was appointed to Nighbert. Mr. Turley passed away several years ago but his wife, Mrs. Penny Turley, spoke highly of Nighbert and Iris. Mrs. Turley wished her well and congratulations to the church.
In 1981, Jim Chenoweth and his wife Wilda, came to Nighbert. Mr. Chenoweth wanted to be present at the celebration but was unable to make the trip. He sent a video telling Iris and the church what a real value she was and is to the church. Mr. Chenoweth pastured Nighbert for eight years.
In 1989, Bruce Reed, along with his wife, Judy, and their children Tim, Christy and Shawn “Spud” was appointed to Nighbert. Mr. Reed served here for 10 years. He was the guest speaker at the celebration and shared his memories of Iris and how she was such a valued asset. Mr. Reed said Iris had bailed him out of some difficult situations. Mr. Reed went on to say that Iris was the spiritual strength that would lift him up when he would go into her office.
Next appointed pastor was Richard Justice and his wife Nancy and their son Adam. Mr. Justice served for 11 years. He wasn’t able to attend the celebration but sent a video expressing their love and joy while at Nighbert. Mr. Justice shared about how Iris did all the behind the scenes things that he seldom noticed — thank you letters, reminders in the bulletin, unlocking the church on Sundays, completing annual church reports, etc. He thanked her immensely.
Current Pastor Beckette has served three years and knows that he is a benefactor of Iris’ 40 years of service to Nighbert.
“The Nighbert church truly appreciates the service that Iris has given to the church,” Beckette said. “But more importantly — the service that she has given to God.”