Matilda was the efficient, faithful secretary at the First Baptist Church of Rockton. Some thought she had been there since 1889 when the church was founded, but that of course was legend.
Matilda never married. Being single, the church and her position were her life. Pastors came and went, but Matilda was still there. Members joined and died; babies were born, grew up, married; and, Matilda saw it all. She knew everyone for her mind was a trove of information.
After 53 years as secretary, she was slowing down. It was a struggle to keep up with the work. Strange mistakes were often appearing in the weekly First Baptist news and notes. It was clear that in spite of her sweet spirit and devotion to the Lord, her mind was beginning to slip a little.
Because of her long-time service in the church and her devotion to the Lord, the deacons planned a retirement celebration for Matilda to give proper recognition for her many, many years of service to the Lord.
But, Matilda had friends! They rallied for Matilda, they thought it was awful that she was being “pushed” out. They thought it was disgraceful for the church to “take her job from her” and were convinced that this was “no way to treat a person and certainly not very Christian”. And what would Matilda do if she was no longer church secretary? This was her very life.
There was a tremendous pouring out of gratitude by the church at Matilda’s retirement celebration. There were hugs and tears and gifts and an outpouring of gratitude for all she had done for the Lord and for so many people. Matilda’s brother helped to sell her house and moved her into the Sunset Assistant Living Home.
But, Matilda’s friends simply could not accept the fact that she was no longer secretary at their beloved First Baptist Church in Rockton. They withdrew and formed the Matilda Baptist Church. It wasn’t too long until Matilda died and so did the church that centered on Matilda, instead of Jesus.