BRIGHTON -- Amy Tuey is a remarkable woman. At 94 years old, she lives in her own home, drives her own car, and has been an active member of St Paul’s United Methodist Church in Brighton IL since 1953. What is perhaps even more remarkable about Mrs Tuey is her devotion to education and children. She has been the nursery director now at St Paul’s for 15 years, and has been teaching Sunday School since she was a teenager.
There are few hospitality ministries at St Paul’s that remain untouched by Mrs Tuey. She cooks for funeral dinners, serves meals, helps to lead the Monday evening Pioneer Club for children, and is a regular visitor at Robing’s Manor (the nursing home across the street from the church) where she speaks with residents, assists in feeding them, and attends Sunday afternoon services. Recently with a twinkle in her eye, she informed the pastors that she quite enjoys ‘visiting the old people’. Currently, she is also faithfully attending an ALPHA course.
It's not unheard of to find an active woman of faith in her 10th decade of life, but it is her living legacy at St Paul’s that truly sets her apart. Amy is currently the oldest of four generations of women active in ministry.
Amy's daughter Phyllis Graham was a school teacher until she retired several years ago. Because of her deep love for children, Phyllis is the children's pastor at St Paul's. Every Monday evening under her direction, up to 50 children gather for the afternoon Pioneer Club for elementary school children. With a large group of leaders under her direction (including her own Mother), Phyllis creatively directs and plans each lesson with great skill and attention to details, thereby allowing the children of the church to learn about Jesus in a happy and helpful environment.
Amy's granddaughter and Phyllis' daughter, Dr. Dena Bachman, is also an active member of St Paul UMC and currently occupies the position of youth pastor. On Sunday evenings, 45 teenagers gather at St Paul’s for fun and laughter, led by Dena and her co-youth leaders. She is a skilled communicator, and is greatly respected by those who attend. Under her direction, the Plugged Youth Group is growing rapidly, with more and more students joining in with bible studies and activities each week.
Dena's oldest daughter Emily (Amy's great grand-daughter and Phyllis' granddaughter) is currently a sophomore at Southwestern High School. Recently, the Plugged Youth Group took over the Sunday morning service, and Emily was selected to preach. Taking as her text the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19, Emily skillfully called people to come down from their tree and encounter Jesus. Emily plans on taking the basic lay preaching course this year in order to further develop the skill and talent that God has blessed her with, which will make her one of the youngest lay speakers in the IGRC. Through Amy, Phyllis, Dena and Emily, God touches hundreds of lives each week.
Reverend Amy Rayson of the Brighton church says, “The presence of four generations of active women in ministry is almost unheard of, but stands testament to the wonderful grace of God at work both in their lives and here at St Paul's in Brighton.”