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'Mom' watches over Hagerstown church

February 19, 2002

'Mom' watches over Hagerstown church



Editor's Note: This is the second in a week-long series during National Black History Month recognizing blacks in the area who make a difference in their communities.

By SCOTT BUTKI
scottb@herald-mail.com


Members of Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hagerstown call Lucy Jones, 85, "Mom" and send her Mother's Day cards and she considers them her extended family.

"She is like a mother hen. She watches over the whole church," said Robert Burnett, president of the church choir. While not a choir member, Jones travels with the choir when it sings at functions to provide moral support, Burnett said.

When you spend time with Jones you know you have been "touched by an angel," he said.

"That is something else, isn't it?" she said later.

Everyone in this community knows Jones, said the Rev. Leroy Jackson, the church pastor.

"She is young at heart ... she makes sure everyone is taken care of. We are blessed to have her with us," Jackson said.

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Jones is heavily involved in the church's missionary work, feeding the hungry and helping with a food bank, he said.

She joined the church in 1942, has been a church missionary since 1946 and a church trustee since 1954.

When a congregation member dies, the church serves dinner to the family and friends after the funeral service. Jones said she has been cooking that special meal since 1965.

While her age has slowed her down some - she had to give up bowling in the last few years - she does not plan to die anytime soon, she said.

Jones said she wants to live to see the church building rebuilt. That work should start later this year, Jackson said.

The 168-year-old church building was condemned in the last few years, Jackson said. The 185-member congregation currently meets in an outreach building at 40 W. Bethel St., on land adjacent to the church.

"She said she is not 'leaving here until I can walk down the aisles of the church. And when I do I am not going to walk in here quietly, I will be shouting down the aisles,'" Jackson said.

Jones moved to downtown Hagerstown in 1931 and has lived there ever since.

Her jobs included cleaning houses and working in the cafeterias of Fairchild and Mack Trucks. She said she found job opportunities were limited back then due to her race.

"I was always a little bit upset about that," she said.

It was also frustrating being told where she and her family could, and could not, eat, she said. Jones said she was "always bothered" by that.

Race relations have come a long way, but there is still a way to go, Jones said.

Jones did volunteer work for the Election Board for 40 years but had to stop for health reasons two elections ago, she said.

She also volunteered with the Meals on Wheels program.

Jones had seven children, one on whom is deceased. She has 20 grandchildren, 21 great-grandparents and five great-great-grandchildren. Her husband, Warfield Jones, died in 1985.

She has arthritis and walks with a cane but things could be worse, she said.

"That is not bad for 85," she said.

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