Friday, April 20, 2007

A Friend in Need - Frances Paulk Bredemeier

Originally written and presented to the membership of the Crystal Beach Community Church in April 2007 by my mother, Virginia Paulk Gardner.


Dear Friends in Crystal Beach Community Church,

Long-time CBCC member, Miss Frances, now 90 1/2 years old and blind, is in need of friends to visit her at the Assisted Living Facility, Chateau Palms in Palm Harbor, where she now resides.

Frances was one of the original Charter Members of Crystal Beach Community Church when it was founded back in 1957. She taught Sunday School & also served as Church Secretary & sometimes also as Church Treasurer.

When my father, Jesse Paulk, who sang in the Church Choir & sometimes taught the Adult Sunday School classes, died in 1961, all the money that was donated to our family, my mother brought to the church & said, "Jesse had been wanting us to start a Pew Fund so that we would have pews instead of the wooden folding Army chairs to sit on. Here is the money to buy the first pew."

Within 6 months, the congregation had raised enough money to purchase pews for the entire church and for both choir lofts. There was even enough money left over to have the church walls & concrete floor re-painted, as well as to build the current alter and lecterns, communion table and the tall wooden candle holders, all of which were designed by the founding pastor, Rev. C.W.A. Bredemeier. Mother also helped found the first CBCC Youth Fellowship, which met on Sunday nights for Bible Study at the church and every Saturday night down at Seaside Hall for recreation and Christian fellowship.

In 1971, my mother married Rev. C.W.A. Bredemeier, whose wife Margaret had died of cancer. Margaret had been my Sunday School Teacher, Piano Teacher & was like a second mother to me. During the 30 years of her marriage to Rev. Bredemeier, my mother continued to work at his side to help in the building and growth of Crystal Beach Community Church.

Mother also helped with the running of Faith Mission's Sunset Lodge on Gulf Drive and Faith Mission's other houses and apartments which provided assisted living housing for the low-income elderly and disabled.

Rev. Bredemeier developed Faith Mission's properties into one of the first Assisted Living Facilities in this area. In fact, it was most likely the very first, as St. Mark's Village Assisted Living Facility was not developed until 1980, by Rev. Bredemeier's good friend, Rev. James Fresh.

In 1998, when the last Board of Directors of Faith Mission was preparing to sell of ALL of the Faith Mission properties (including CBCC), my mother and I, after many long discussions, finally convinced Rev. Bredemeier to sign over the deed for Crystal Beach Community Church to the congreation so that it could never be sold and so that Crystal Beach would always have its own church for the worship and glory of God to serve the people of this small seaside community.

Over the years, my mother, both while my father was still alive and later after her marriage to Rev. Bredemeier, visited with the sick and homebound member of our Church Community. Mother prepared countless meals to take to the homebound or sick, often inviting members who lived alone to eat supper at our home. Always on holidays, she invited several to share in holiday meals with us so they would not be alone.

My mother Frances, since she fell & broke her hip in October 2006, is much more limited in her ability to get around. Additionally, in the last few months, Mother's short-term memory has started to slip. While the Assisted Living Facility where she now stays is very nice, Mother is very lonely and greatly misses being able to visit with her Church friends.

It is my hope and prayer that there might be members of our Crystal BEach Community Church who would be willing to volunteer to visit with my mother on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I am hopeful that if even 5 to 10 people could volunteer to spend one hour a week visiting and talking with my mother, that she could then have one visitor a day. This would greatly help her mind and memory and greatly lift up her spirit!

Thank you for all your love and support and prayers in the past and for whatever you may be able to do for Mother in the future. If you are not able to visit in person with Mother, even a phone call and especially someone who could call her to read a Daily Devotional would be a great blessing. Although Mother has not been able to attend church lately, she still asks about her church friends and keeps all of you in her prayers.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this request to help my mother.


Virginia Paulk Gardner

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