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 by Mary Ann Delano

As the daughter and granddaughter of Baptist ministers, Shirley Robertson followed in their footsteps by devoting her life to Christian service. Born in King William County, Virginia, she moved to Richmond as a young child under sad circumstances. Her grandfather, the pastor of Park View Baptist Church in Richmond, died while returning from the funeral of her great-grandmother. As a result, her dad was called as pastor of his dad’s church and served there for 43 years.

100% Involved

Shirley Robertson in Mars Hill cheering squad; with Mission Board co-workers; at last Eagle Eyrie retreat she led in 1992

Shirley attended Mars Hill College and then transferred to Westhampton College at the University of Richmond where she completed her undergraduate degree. She worked at the Baptist Goodwill Centers at House of Happiness and Cary Street Baptist Center during the summers while in college. Upon graduation, she began her work with Richmond area churches at Broadus Memorial Baptist Church with the goal of starting a preschool. In one year she did just that when five students began attending the preschool. By the end of the year, the enrollment increased to 20 students.

Shirley then moved to Branch’s Baptist Church where she served as the Education Director, and later began working at Second Baptist Church as the Education Secretary. At the time, Second Baptist Church was located downtown at 7 West Franklin Street, near the Jefferson Hotel.

In late 1950s, she began working at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board as Director of Junior and Intermediate Youth, which in today’s terms refers to youth ministry. She was thrilled when the Board decided to address education for youth with special needs, and she was selected to lead the effort. Shirley’s favorite aunt, Margie, who was adored by all who knew her, had special needs.

100% Involved

FBC Eagle Eyrie retreat participants, October 2019

During her 35 years at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, Shirley also went back to school and completed a master’s degree in education. She continued traveling to conduct training conferences, leading retreats, providing education on special education needs, serving on the faculty at state conferences and at Ridgecrest Baptist Retreat Center near Asheville, North Carolina. In fact, Shirley developed the annual Retreat for Youth and Adults with Special Needs and led the retreat for 17 years during which time she met many members of First Baptist Church’s Lambs Sunday school class. The Lambs Class continues to go to the conference at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center every year.

100% InvolvedShirley retired in 1992, and soon after that she joined First Baptist and, as she put it, “plunged into everything as usual and was 100% involved.” She always loved children and became a third grade Sunday school teacher in addition to joining the choir. Shirley had taught children and sung in a choir since her teenage days. So, it was only natural that she would find a place teaching children in Sunday school and singing in the choir. Shirley has also participated in First Baptist’s Prayer Ministry and has served as a deacon.

She loves family, children and being active. Shirley is always thrilled to encounter the many, many children and youth she has worked with over the years and loves to find out how those who were once her students are doing as adults. As a 40-year breast cancer survivor, she feels “very blessed” as she acknowledges October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Shirley has lived at Lakewood for 13 years and enjoys the fellowship of many FBC members who also live there.

Shirley Robertson has truly given her life to Christian service and is a shining example of what it means to live a life that is 100% involved in that service.


ICON-maryann-delano

Mary Ann Delano joined FBC in 1982 and married her husband Chip here. Their grown sons grew up in church, both portraying Joseph in the Christmas pageant. She has been active in Women on Mission and teaching missions to all ages, serving on many church teams and as deacon chair. She enjoys travel, gardening, reading and spending time with family.

 

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