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Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Saints Day at Church- my reflection on Beth Jenkins

My life in Granville before I made my way to Newark-Granville Road- here is a reflection on a special friend I made in 1986.

Beth Jenkins- Granville Saint of Hospitality I have such fond memories of Beth Jenkins, my wonderful Adopted Grandmother.  Lucky for me Shirley Hale – the housemother of my sorority noticed I attended church in the spring of my freshman year and knew I sang in the concert choir. Therefore this qualified me to be introduced to Beth to be her Adopted Denison Granddaughter.   Our relationship grew over my next three years at Denison as Beth offered me gracious hospitality.  We started with tea at her house and meeting on Sundays to attend church.  Often we’d begin with toast and coffee at the Aladdin.  Our friendships grew to include parties with her very special friends.  I recall listening to her articulate detailed plans and then see the beautiful execution. She took her hospitality very seriously.  

Beth set beautiful tables and presented delicious and attractive menus.  Beth was a very giving person and always sent “take home” containers.  Many times while on campus I’d receive a call to let me know a take home container was waiting- soup and cookies were my favorite.  Beth would treat me to special outings- the Cats’ Meow in Zanesville and picnics at Dawes Arboretum.  One picnic included an introduction to the adopted Denison granddaughter that preceded me- Heather. What a treat to make a new friend that afternoon. I made many friends with Beth’s peers- we bonded around the table- Beth’s and others.  I remember fondly tea and time with Bob and Coleen Pitt.  Our friendships continued after my graduation when I would return for visits to Denison. Staying in Beth’s home was delightful- coffee would be delivered in bed- she’d sit and we’d talk- a perfect start the day. Of course I wasn’t the only one to receive these beautiful gifts from Beth.

Here at FPC-she was known for her hospitality within Parish Care.  She would take tea parties to those who were shut in and always leave extra for the next few days.  She made extensive plans when hosting coffee hour in Heritage Hall. Her presentations and her cookies for these events and many others were legendary.  It was a treat to help Beth with her Christmas deliveries- she would make packages of baked goods and fresh fruit and I would drive her from home to home.  Beth was beloved by the Granville community and Granville loved Beth.  The gifts Beth gave lived beyond her-when we moved to Granville the welcome we received from friends I made through Beth were extraordinary.  Certainly I knew some Denison folks but I arrived in town knowing gentile generation.  Shirley Hale and I grew closer through Beth so a natural role was for her to serve as my children’s Granville Grandma. The strong foundation I have at FPC that has been key to my spiritual growth as an adult is thanks to Beth.  When I sit down to tea- with new friendships made here I know Beth smiles.  

We all benefit as Beth left our church a beautiful bequest in her estate plans- the elevator.  She always felt for those that would remain in the chapel- our current coat closet because they couldn’t traverse the steps.  Beth the woman who became a saint did not have children; never married- she was devoted to her work in industry as a librarian.  She was a life long learner who shared the lessons of travel, family, friends and work.  Jack Buriss and I met as he helped her preserve her memories. Her faith was simple- she loved Jesus and showed that love in her actions.  She was raised a Quaker and had a loving family.  She spent her days here on earth and beyond making her friends and those in need lives more beautiful. She connected us to one another and to Christ.  Beth is indeed a Saint of FPC and I’m grateful for her life.

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