Ode to Aunt Martha


Front row – Judith Unger, Indiana, and Diana Elder, Wisconsin, ended up in IGRC!
Photo courtesy of Judith Unger
By Judith Unger
So “Aunt Martha” and “Grandma Bennett” weren’t really blood relatives of mine.  But when Rev Bennett was appointed to our local church a century ago, his daughter Martha became my mother’s best friend.  Over the years, they were seen as church family as well as “family” to our family.

When my sister, Nancy, wanted to attend Evansville College (a Methodist affiliated school), Aunt Martha offered her a home so Nancy could afford to go to college.

When the Wesleyan Service Guild offered scholarships for 6 youth to go along on their US tour of Methodist related agencies, Aunt Martha submitted my name.  That tour became a life-changing and career-changing event for me. I was introduced to social work as well as to the vital agencies that my church sponsored. 

When Paul and I were in college, we committed our relationship at a Wesley Foundation work camp in Chicago.  Our daughters both met and married their spouses at another Wesley Foundation. 

My whole life has been nurtured by the local church and Methodist agencies – even before I was born!  In addition to my parents, Aunt Martha reached out as a loving representative of the church.  Without her support, our family could have made very different decisions.  I choose to remain United Methodist because of the past and present care offered by our church to all people.