TELLING OUR STORY
Martha Bowman United Methodist Church has been a continuously worshipping community for 200 years.
History is such a powerful thing. All over the world, people travel to visit prestigious museums to learn about things from times past. People spend years researching the past and crafting carefully curated books and projects on the past. Others, spend time reading and studying the history books.
Martha Bowman United Methodist Church has a rich history that goes back past any of our lifetimes. But, she has a rich history within many of our lifetimes as well. People have made grown up in this community, celebrated births, made vows of marriage, mourned those who have passed, celebrated milestones, and built relationships here to last a lifetime. People have served the Lord, studied his word, encouraged one another, committed to be a part of the body, and brought resources and the gospel outside of our church community.
As we celebrate 200 years together, let us share the histories we each have in this place. Let us share what the Lord has done at Martha Bowman United Methodist Church and worship him through telling the stories of his faithfulness to our congregation.
Let his faithfulness in our history be a promise of his faithfulness to come in our future.
Enjoy reading the stories of our community below and share yours with us as well.
"Martha taught me that the Lord will always place the lonely within families."
I have grown up at Martha Bowman. I was a part of the group of high school girls that affectionately called it "Martha" and scheduled my life around the life of the church. Youth was my favorite part of middle and high school. I saw the Lord's faithfulness and goodness through the way he provided mentors and leaders in this church to love me and care for me. I used to take naps on the couches in the youth room after school and beg LC and Griff to give me my own church key.
The day Liz gave me a key to the church because I was officially a summer intern, I went to my car and cried. I was so excited to have a key and couldn't help but think about the sixteen year old girl who wanted to be in this building 24 hours a day.
Today, when I listen to some of my youth talk about how much they love walking through the church on Wednesday nights and watch them take ownership over this place, I am overcome with the faithfulness of a God who would partner with us and share a house on Earth with us.
Martha is truly home to me. It has been home to me through all seasons of life, but most importantly, Martha taught me that the Lord will always place the lonely within families.
"...we were drawn back to Martha Bowman and have raised our kids in this church."
My time at Martha Bowman started back in high school. I visited with friends and quickly became a regular at Sunday evening youth group and Wednesday Bible study. When our family returned to the area in 2010, we were drawn back to Martha Bowman and have raised our kids in this church. Now they are attending youth group each Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday. It’s all come full circle.
"Whether we're worshipping on Sunday mornings or on a team for Tacos and Trivia, we grow alongside each other, closer to Christ."
One of my favorite things about Martha is the community I’ve found here. My family has been attending Martha Bowman since I was in kindergarten, and I’m currently still involved as a senior in high school. I am a part of our youth program and work in the nursery. Because of this, I’ve had the opportunity to encounter several people through my time here. I’ve met many new people that I’ve formed close relationships with, as well as growing up in the church with others. I think MB is unique in the fact that everybody who has walked in our doors is known by somebody else. I have built a church family that I love of both newer bonds and people I’ve known for years. Whether we’re worshipping on Sunday mornings or on a team for Tacos and Trivia, we grow alongside each other, closer to Christ. As I prepare to leave for college in the near future, Martha will be one of the things I miss the most and continue coming back to. Martha is a place of belonging and authenticity, and it truly does feel like home.
"I love working with not only the preschoolers, but working with a wonderful group of dedicated women who come to Martha Bowman daily to share the love of Christ with these precious children."
My journey at Martha Bowman began nearly seven years ago when my friend, Camille Wilson, who was the Administrative Assistant at the time, told me about a position for a preschool teacher. Camille and I had worked together at another local preschool and she knew I enjoyed working with preschoolers.
I loved working in the 2K class along with the other teachers. My background had been admin work and eventually there was a need for an assistant for the preschool and nursery ministry. I began this position in 2017.
Martha Bowman made some administrative changes which eventually lead me to the position I hold today; Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry. I love working with not only the preschoolers, but working with a wonderful group of dedicated women who come to Martha Bowman daily to share the love of Christ with these precious children.
Serving at Martha Bowman in Children’s Ministry has been an adventure; and each day is different. I am so thankful for the administrative staff, the preschool and nursery staff, the volunteers, and the parents who entrust the love and care of their children to us daily.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3
"A lot can change in ten years’ time, but one thing is for sure…Martha Bowman is a constant in our lives."
My Martha Bowman story began in February of 2012 When I moved with my family to Macon from Manchester, Georgia to serve on staff at Martha Bowman as the Preschool and Nursery Ministries Director. My husband Marty and I were newlyweds and moved to Macon with a newly blended family of five kids. When we moved here, they were just preteens and teens ranging in age from nine to fourteen. We knew nothing about Macon, GA! Our Martha Bowman family immediately helped us to find a great house to buy in a good school system and we settled in very quickly! Over the years, Macon has become home, and Martha Bowman our family.
I am currently serving as the Director of Children’s Ministries at Martha Bowman. It is such a privilege to be a part of a church that loves children so much, a church that is so supportive of the next generation. Our kids are now grown and we have two new grand babies! A lot can change in ten years’ time, but one thing is for sure…Martha Bowman is a constant in our lives. It is our source of support, love, and our community of faith. It is our family.
"Martha Bowman has loved our family through victories, sickness, and deaths .. all that life brings."
The first time my family walked into Martha Bowman in 1993, we knew it was our church. Our children were raised here and were shaped by the teachings, grace, and love they received. Martha Bowman has loved our family through victories, sickness, and deaths .. all that life brings. What a blessing I received in 2006 to daily work and serve here!
"We learn to love others better here, because we are loved well here."
I came to Martha in 1993, during my first year at Wesleyan. I didn't know many people in Macon, and some women from my dorm were riding together to Martha Bowman on Sunday mornings. There was a college-age small group. I came a few times, but eventually drifted off. Five years later, I came back to Martha when Ken and I were engaged. It was the only church I knew personally, so we would alternate his church and my church. We did that through our early married years as well, joining the chancel choir, Sunday School, a few Bible studies and Wednesday night suppers. Ultimately, Martha became our only church. All three of our kids were baptized here, as was I. I made my first profession of faith at the Sanctuary altar. My kids know Martha as home, and as our local family, Martha is home for us all. We learn to love others better here, because we are loved well here.
"Sundays are truly my favorite days because it's like I get to see all my friends in one spot."
Martha Bowman was impacting my life before I ever walked through the doors. From loving and shaping my husband through his time in youth to welcoming me years later as a newcomer. I've encountered challenge, grace, community, and Jesus so clearly in this space and with these people. Sundays are truly my favorite days because it's like I get to see all my friends in one spot. This is truly a community that seeks to love and model Jesus well.
Gretchen and James Hulgan
"We really enjoy how active, and community oriented the church is."
Our journey with Martha Bowman Church started in December 2019, when James was transferred for work. He visited Martha Bowman a few times that month and it felt like home. We (the family) moved in January of 2020 to Macon, GA from Asheville, NC. A friend of ours from the church we attended in Asheville, recommended Martha Bowman. We came several times to the Contemporary service and really enjoyed it. Then the pandemic happened... The Lord put Martha Bowman in our future, and we were so thankful when we could get back to in-person worship again. We became members of Martha Bowman in July 2021. We love it here and feel that it is a family community, that we are proud to be a part of. We really enjoy how active, and community oriented the church is. Our children are also getting to see faith in action, and experience God's love through the wonderful programs that are offered for youth of our church and local community. We also get to do life with wonderful and amazing people in our small group. We love our church family.
Witt and Stephanie Gaither
"In times of good and bad, plenty and want, Martha Bowman is our church until God tells us it isn't."
The Gaither story at Martha Bowman began almost 25 years ago. Our daughter, Mary, formed the foundation of her Christian faith through the Children and Youth programs. She met her husband on the mission field in Tijuana due in large part to her long service with Spectrum Ministries.
Stephanie and I grew deeper in our own journey through the Walk to Emmaus, Sunday School, Small Groups, Missions and Worship. We’ve flourished in our time as volunteers for Leadership, Children, Youth, Small Group Leaders, Sunday School Teachers, Children’s Music, Youth Music and many, many Mission trips. We’ve also felt the warm embrace of our local church family as we walked through a heart scare, Cancer and Lupus. Our community is built upon the foundation of Martha Bowman.
We began a joyous new season of life in January, after a long and arduous process, with the birth of our granddaughter, Kinsey Analou Wedlund (named after an orphan Mary met on the first trip to Tijuana). Our understanding of immediate and unconditional love grew exponentially upon her arrival. Mark and Fran walked that path with us from start to finish and we are forever grateful for their pastoral care and love.In times of good and bad, plenty and want, Martha Bowman is our church until God tells us it isn’t.
"From the moment we were greeted in the parking lot, to singing familiar hymns, proclaiming the Apostles Creed and hearing John Horton preach about Jesus, I felt as if I had come home."
I remember the first time I came to Martha Bowman for worship. It was the Sunday after Christmas in 2015, and the church where I was currently serving as the Children’s Director had canceled Sunday worship. Mark was at the Methodist Children’s Home at the time, and he had the Sunday free as well.
It was a cold and drizzly Sunday morning when Mark and I arrived, and I remember looking around the parking lot as we got out of our car, trying to figure out which way to go next. Almost immediately, a volunteer warmly greeted us, shared an umbrella with us, and personally walked us to the main entrance. At the door, another volunteer greeted us and helped us find the Historic Sanctuary where the church was having a combined worship service. I remember thinking that there was just so much life! Young families, older adults, folks laughing and talking, all streaming into the service.
From the moment we were greeted in the parking lot, to singing familiar hymns, proclaiming the Apostles Creed and hearing John Horton preach about Jesus, I felt as if I had come home. Imagine my surprise and gratitude, when six months later, I was standing in that same sanctuary, preaching my first message at Martha Bowman, as the new Associate Pastor.
"My children and I would not be the God-fearing people we are today without the worshipping community of Martha Bowman United Methodist Church."
My story began before I was born. This is a story of miracles that were cried and prayed for, a story of love and traditions. We are all told how much God loves us before we are born, He knows every hair on our heads these are all things that we tell our kids that teach them about God’s love for us. Allow me to tell you all the way God loves me that I have felt and seen that throughout my years at Martha Bowman. The year is 1986, Tim Bagwell takes my precious daddy out and tells him that Daddy and Momma are finally going have a baby that they have cried and prayed for many years.
The church surrounded my parents in prayers and love, and if I remember how the story goes, I believe some very special ladies that are still at the church planned the baby shower for my momma. I was born in July of 1986 and was christened in the fall of 86. I was raised at Martha Bowman through love, joy, patience, kindness, prayers and presence of many. I remember many fun times in children choir with Mrs. Ellen Hanson who I now have the honor of being in Chancel Choir under her leadership as an adult. I went through confirmation, was and acolyte, and attended the youth group all the while remembering my favorite place to be was at Church, because it filled me with happiness and love that was not shown in other places in the community.
I remember the year we moved my grandma up to Macon from Statesboro and ended up having Hugh Davis from her church in Statesboro appointed as Martha Bowman’s Pastor. I remember her telling me how much it helped her transition to Macon having him here and seeing how God allowed things to be moved to help her through that transition.
As I have grown up and had children of my own, I now know that love to be Christ and my Faith community that I love so dearly. This precious place that has given me so much love and prayer before I even understood what prayer was, is now helping me to raise my two angels in that same love and prayer and by many of the same people that I hold so dear to my heart from my childhood. My children and I would not be the God-fearing people we are today without the worshipping community of Martha Bowman United Methodist Church. I am so grateful for Martha Bowman and all who have touched our lives and continue to touch our lives in so many ways. Thank you for loving and supporting us.