Halloween 1962

On Wednesday, drove from Mayberry to Bluemont along the parkway, in the fog. It looked a lot like Halloween. With the bare trees and fog, who knows what evil might be lurking… In thinking about this day, I recalled my first time going out trick-or-treating and pulled out an old manuscript and reworked it. Remember, this year, we all need to be wearing masks! 

My first time trick-or-treating

I was five and wore a Tony the Tiger mask. We’d saved box tops of cereal to order the mask. My brother was four and had another mask. My sister wasn’t with us. Maybe she was too small, or maybe we hadn’t eaten enough cereal for her to have a mask. 

Your first-time trick-or-treating is special. After all, what a novel concept. Walking door to door and being given candy exchange for no tricks. If adults attempted this, you’d be charged with extortion. As a kid, you’re just cute. 

We lived out in the country, on Doubs Chapel Road in Moore County, North Carolina. Our first stop was at Bunches, a grocery store in Eastwood. We where given an apple. 

After Bunches, my mom drove us over to my grandparents. We were joined with Grandma, and my Uncle Larry, who was eleven at the time. As houses were far apart in the country, we went into town where the pickings were more fruitful. 

Larry took my brother and I house to house, while Mom and Grandma followed in the car. They watched out for us and made sure that we didn’t pull any tricks. Soon, our pillowcase goodie bags were beginning to fill. This was a great night, until… 

Up ahead was a big old house. It looked haunted. Larry didn’t seem to be bothered, but I wasn’t so sure. I stood behind him as he knocked on the door. There was shuffling inside, then the door slowly squeaked open. Standing in front of us were three grinning women. They were dressed in black and wearing strange hats. 

Leaving Larry behind as a morsel for their cauldron, my brother and I dropped our bags. We high-tailed it toward the car, warning everyone with our yells: “Witches, witches.” 

Mom met us before we got to the car. “You need to apologize to those women,” she said. She grabbed our wrists and dragged us back up to the porch. We kept squirming and fighting to get away. I tried my best to dig my toes into the dirt to anchor myself.

“They’re not witches,” Mom kept saying. 

I’d listen to enough stories like that of Hansel and Gretel. I knew better than to trust such women. 

Squeezing our arms, she pushed us forward onto the porch. We were shaking as we half-heartedly apologized. Then we learned they were not witches. They were nuns wearing habits. Of course, at the time in my life none of this made sense. “Nun” was the dessert you got when you didn’t clean your plate. Habit, at least in my case, was a word usually modified with the word “bad.” I was developing a few of them… 

The nuns accepted our reluctant apology and laughed as they gave us each a handful of candy. “Why are they sweetening us up?” I wondered.   

Stay safe and this Halloween, and wear a mask! 

The photo above is of the Bluemont Church after the fog had lifted, a bit.

Servants of Satan

Joseph Klaits, Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985). 212 pages including an index, notes, bibliography, and a few woodcut plates. 

We often think of witch hunting as something done in a pre-modern world. However, most of the witch trials and executions took place in a relatively short period of time as Europe was quickly becoming more modern.

The Age of the Witch Hunt

The witch frenzy began in the second half of the 16th Century and petered out in the middle of the 17th Century. This was not the Dark Ages. It was a time of enlightenment. The world was quickly advancing in philosophy and science. Of course, there had been occasional charges of witchcraft earlier in history. What made this period notable were the number of accusations and executions.

Prior to the 1550-1660 era, witchcraft prosecutions were fairly equally divided between men and women. In the late 16thCentury, most of the prosecution was against women (80% or more). While earlier witchcraft charges were against using black magic, witches were now seen as engaging in satanic worship and having sex with Satan.  Klaits, in this academic work, sets out to understand what caused the rise in witchcraft cases and then the sudden departure. 

The witchcraft craze followed the Reformation. Klaits is correct in noting that all churches in Western Europe were reforming during this period. The Protestant Reformation was well on its way, having started earlier in the century. The Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation was just beginning in the mid-16th century. Churches, as well as society in general, were moving from the medieval world. It was a stress-filled enviroment, brought on by religious fervor along with the political and economic changes. Klaits suggests that witch trials provided relief to an unsettled world by giving them someone to blame for the problems. 

Klaits traces the shift in thinking about witchcraft from the medieval era into the 16th and early 17th Century. He explores how women became the focus (most of the women charged were elderly and single or a widow). He looks at the shifted as charges of witchcraft moved from the use of magic for evil, to satanic orgies.

The author explores a number of threads that played into this shift. One theme is how the urban and upper classes looked down on the popular folk magic of the more rural areas. This also played a role in the decline of witchcraft. The trials ended once charges began to be brought against those in the upper classes. Attitudes against women also played a role. Furthermore, the church, which had been the support system for the poor in society, stopped playing such a function after the Reformation. This led to many women living in poverty. 

In a chapter on the politics of torture, Klaits discussed the role torture played. In all criminal investigations, torture was commonly used in this era. The use of torture seems to enflame the situation so that an individual charge led to multiple charges and mass hysteria. The author noted modern examples of how, with torture, stress, and the power of suggestion, people confessed to that which they did not do. In some cases, those were innocent and confessed actually believe they are guilty.

Without torture, witchcraft trials tended to be a singular event. Such was the case in England which prohibited torture in most cases. Torture often led to the victim implicating others. This fueled the hysteria and led to more trials and executions. 

By the time the hysteria abated in the late 17th Century, Klaits maintains it wasn’t that people stopped believing that witchcraft. People were tired of the madness.

Most scholars, until recently, viewed witchcraft trials as a result of superstitions. Yet the trials came about during a time of great learning. Even modern people look for a scapegoat. such was the case in Nazi Germany. When we need someone to blame, we can easily fall prey to the fear of the “other.” I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read this book with our current political climate playing in the background, with groups denigrating those who are different as the problem. This seems to happen against those who act differently, as well as minorities or those on different sides of the political spectrum.

My thoughts:

I found myself questioning some of the assumptions that Klaits made, especially of Calvin and the Swiss Reformation. while he noted that while there were fewer witch trials in Geneva than in Germany, he tends to lump both groups togethera. Having read a significant amount of Luther and Calvin, it is evident that the latter (Calvin) spent very little time focusing on the work of Satan. While Luther often felt under attack of the devil. Calvin, however, doesn’t mention witchcraft in his massive Institutes of the Christian Religion. He only occasionally mentioned Satan or the devil (23 and 9 times in over 1700 pages).

The witchcraft craze actually began after the death of the early Protestant Reformers and close to the death of Calvin. This was the “scholastic era in Protestant history (within Lutheran and Reformed/Calvinistic Churches). I am now curious on what role the scholastic’s more rigid view on theology may played in the witchcraft craze.  

While this is not a book for everyone, I would recommend it on those interested in the history of this era. 

Love God, Love Neighbor

Below is a copy and recording to my sermon for today (the recording was made on Friday, October 23, at Mayberry Church, so it might not be exactly the same as the text). The text is found below the .embedded video.

Jeff Garrison
Bluemont and Mayberry Churches
October 25, 2020
Matthew 22:15-40

At the Beginning of the Service: This morning we’re going to again dig into Matthew’s gospel. I’ll stay with Matthew for the next several weeks. 

The 22nd. Chapter, from which I preached last week and will again look at this week, along with the 23rd Chapter, are a block of teachings that marks the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In these two chapters, Jesus teaches the crowds during his last week in Jerusalem. But at the end of this teaching, Jesus leaves the temple with his disciples. From that point on, the teaching Jesus did that’s recorded in Matthew’s gospel was done privately with the disciples. 

Matthew begins Jesus’ ministry, after the baptism, with 40 days of fasting that ends with three temptations by the devil in the wilderness. Jesus’ ministry ends with three questions asked by those who would also attempt to trick Jesus.[1] But Jesus didn’t fall for the temptation or for the trick questions as he constantly focused on God in heaven. 

Our text today ends with Jesus’ double love commandment: love God and love your neighbor. I encourage you to spend some time this week thinking about how the double love commandment might help us, as Christians, heal the world.

After the Scripture Reading: Before I get too far into the sermon, let me make it clear that I’m not a big fan of professional wrestling. I don’t like the hype, the bragging, the fakery, or much of anything else about it. However, I admit, it can be entertaining and there have been a few times that I’ve gotten sucked in and found it humorous. 

Don’t you like how they set up the characters on the mat. One fighter represents good and the other evil, a symbolic Armageddon. It’s also interesting how they do tag team wrestling, where one guy who is getting pounded can, before he’s down, reach out and tag another dude who takes over the fight.  

Jesus might have felt he was a team of one against a group of tag-team wrestlers. First in the ring are the Herodians and the Pharisees.[2] Politics, it’s said, makes strange bedfellows and that’s the case here. These two groups wouldn’t normally speak to each other, but they come together against Jesus, asking him about paying taxes.[3] Jesus’ answer, give to Emperor what is the Emperors, stumps them. They run out of the ring and tag the Sadducees who step up and ask Jesus a trick question about marriage in the afterlife. This is ironic, as the text points out, since the Sadducees don’t believe in an afterlife.[4] In the Greek, Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees was to “muzzle” them,[5] which is a little stronger than the English translations that read, “He silenced them.” Think of muzzling a dog! Sounds like a pro-wrestling stunt, doesn’t it?  

         As I said earlier, our reading somewhat parallels the fourth chapter of the gospel, where Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. In the fourth chapter, Jesus answers the temper’s challenges with three God-centered responses. Here, Jesus also answers those who question and test him three times with God-centered responses. First, with the question from the Herodians and Pharisees concerning the paying of taxes, Jesus approves paying taxes, but since, as the Jews would have known, God owns everything,[6] he shrewdly makes the case that all belongs to God. Then, in a question over the resurrection, Jesus reminds us that God has power over even death. 

Finally, Pharisee climb back into the ring for one final challenge, a question about the law. Which commandment is the greatest? It’s a trick question. 

         Jesus doesn’t directly answer the question. There’s good reason. Had Jesus picked one of the Ten Commandments, he’d be stepping into their trap, for the commandments are equal. They’re all important; you can’t grade yourself by looking at the Ten and thinking that because you’ve kept seven, you’ll get a passing grade of 70. That doesn’t work. Jesus knew what they were getting at, so he answers in a way that goes to sum of the commandments, by drawing from Scripture two teachings that other teachers had seen as foundational.[7]  

         Yoking together the love of God and of neighbor summarizes our purpose as members of the human race. As the Westminster Catechism so beautifully begins, we’re to glorify and enjoy God forever. We do this by loving God and our neighbors (and we can’t forget, as Jesus teaches, that our neighbors are not just those who live next door. Remember the Good Samaritan?[8]). As humans, we are made to love. 

Too often we think of love in the context of affection. We think of love as an emotional rush we get when we are attracted to another. That’s not the meaning of Biblical love. Yes, we can be emotional when we think of all that God has done for us, but the passage Jesus quotes on loving God with all our hearts and souls and minds doesn’t mean that we have to be all mushy about who God is. Instead, what is demanded is commitment—emotionally and intellectually—to God. Likewise, it’s pretty hard for us to show affection to everyone (and probably pretty dangerous). If we tried to show such affection, we’d have a difficult time with at least two of the commandments: the seventh and tenth, adultery and coveting. We’re not called to the affectionate love of neighbors. Instead, we’re called to be committed to the well-being of our neighbors (and we can’t forget Jesus’ reminder that our neighbors include our enemies[9]). 

         By tying together our heart, soul and mind, Jesus implies that our love for God has to be total. It’s not enough to be emotionally in love with God, nor is it enough to be intellectually in love with God. We got to have both! We need to be holistic and love with the entirety of our being.  

         Dr. Robert Smith, Jr., a preaching professor at Beeson Divinity School tells about how he sometimes finds himself preaching to “beheaded people.” They’ve lost their heads; they’re only engaging God with their hearts, he says. They come to worship wanting the equivalent of a therapy session.” In other congregations, and sometimes in the same church, he finds himself preaching to “big-headed people.” They’re into scholarship and all they want is to have the gray matter in their minds massaged.[10]

Both groups, Smith points out, miss the richness of the gospel. We’re to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds. Our love for God is to be holistic and we’re to be led out from it, not only feeling good about our neighbors but to take their needs seriously and working for their well-being.  

         There are times I think my calling is the best job in the world. I know John Calvin suggested that the magistrate, whom we call politicians, had the highest calling. I had to bring in Calvin as today is Reformation Sunday.[11] Of course, Calvin was writing back in the 16th Century. I’m not sure he’d approve of any of our politicians today. 

Maybe I’m running the risk of pride to think so highly of the call of the pastor, but the pastor/preacher gets to spend time with people and also time with ideas.  To do it well (and I know there are times I don’t do it well), one has to balance these two sides—the emotional side with the intellectual. Otherwise, we go off into a philosophical head game or into sentimentalism. There has to be a balance.  

         Jesus’ double-love commandment has the power to heal the church and from the world. Too often, Christians get stuck on one side or the other of the equation. We love God so much and we get down on those who don’t praise God like we do. We think there must be something wrong with those people. And then, there are those on the other side, who feel so committed to looking out for their neighbors that they forget about God. What Jesus says here is that you can’t have it one way or another, it’s not either/or, it’s both/and.  

         Let me say something about the last half of Jesus’ response. We’re to love our neighbors asourselves. The word “as” is important. Jesus is not giving us a new commandment here, instead he’s reflecting back on the Golden Rule.[12] How should we treat others? As we want to be treated! How should we love others? As we love ourselves, or as we want others to love us?  

         How should we apply the double-love commandment? Consider your lives. Are you more emotional? If so, you might be the type of person who enjoys mission work, or helping out a neighbor, or taking food to someone ill. If so, keep doing that! But you also might want to look at balancing such activities with some intellectual exercises, a commitment to read Scripture or to join a Sunday School class or to read a theology book. 

On the other hand, if God is an intellectual exercise for you, then you might need to get in touch with your emotional side. Join in a work party or volunteer to help a neighbor, visit those who are struggling with life. 

As a follower of Jesus, we should strive for a balanced life. Not only do we fulfill Jesus’ call, it keeps us from burning out.

This morning, ask yourself, “Does my whole being glorify God?” If not, what might you do to balance your faith? 

Living a balanced life will be helpful to us, and also to the world. If we love God and neighbor, we just might change the world a little bit for the better. 

Let all of us commit ourselves by saying together: “May the love of God and the love of our neighbors begin with me.” Amen. 


[1] Scott Hoezee, “Back to the Beginning” https://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/proper-25a-2/?type=the_lectionary_gospel

[2] Not much is known about the Herodians, but it’s obvious they are supporters of the Herod dynasty that ruled much of ancient Israel and Syria on behalf of the Romans. The Herod clan, who were part Jewish, tried to stay on the good side of both the Jews and the Romans. However, most Jews disliked them because of their ties to the Romans. 

[3] Matthew 22:15-22.

[4] Matthew 23-33

[5]  Frederick Dale Bruner, The Churchbook: Matthew 13-28 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 410.

[6] Psalm 24:1.

[7] Douglas R. A. Hare, Matthew: Interpretation, a commentary for teaching and preaching (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1993), 259.  Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. 

[8] Luke 10:25-37.

[9] See Luke 10:21ff and Matthew 5:43-47.

[10] Robert Smith, Jr., Doctrine that Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life (Nashville: B&H, 2008), 51.

[11] Reformation Sunday is traditionally the Sunday before Reformation Day (October 31). Reformation day, the day before All Saint’s Day, is when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Thesis on the door of the church in Wittenberg and is considered the beginning of the Reformation. 

[12] Matthew 7:12

The Wedding Banquet

Jeff Garrison
Bluemont and Mayberry Churches
October 18, 2020
Matthew 22:1-14

Click above to watch me deliver the sermon live (on Saturday)

Introduction at the beginning of worship:

          Our text for today’s service is about an invitation to a wedding banquet. Even though this is an allegorical wedding feast, the gospels are full of parties which should remind us that God wants us to have a good time in life. This parable shows that God wants to invite everyone, the more the merrier, as the passage foretells the church’s role in reaching out to the Gentiles.[1] But there’s also a warning. When we respond to the invitation, we should prepare ourselves to be in the presence of the King of Kings. Today, think about how you will prepare yourself for such an invitation.

After the Scripture Reading:

Anxiety dreams, those where we find ourselves somewhere unprepared, are common.

I my case, it’s Sunday morning. I’m not ready to preach. I don’t even realize it’s Sunday. I wake up and leisurely go about my business, wearing shorts and a sweatshirt, causally drinking coffee when panic strikes. It’s ten minutes before church. I haven’t written a sermon. I scramble to get dress as I make a note or two about what I can say from the pulpit, then jump into the car and race to church. I pull in just in time only to realize, as I open the car door that I forgot something, like my pants. It’s at that point I wake up sweating and realize it’s not Sunday. Or if it is, it’s 4 AM and I’ve already written my sermon.

There are variations to this dream. Sometimes I lost my sermon, or I thought someone else was preaching so I hadn’t prepared or, maybe instead of no pants, I’m wearing jeans with holes in the knees.

A psychologist might interpret such dreams as an indication of some buried fear of inadequacy, which is a fear of which many people suffer. We go around life trying to look good, to hide our flaws, and afraid that if other people see who we really are, they’ll not like us. As adults, we dream about being unprepared on the job. When we were younger, it might have been being unprepared for a test at school.

A similar dream is based on the fear being socially stigmatized, such as not being invited to a party. This is not a new fear. People feared being embarrassed even in Jesus’ day, which is why Jesus tells us in Luke’s gospel that if we’re invited at a party, we should sit in the back. If we sit up front, we might be embarrassed when a more honored guest claims our seat.[2]

One might also dream about being at a party unprepared. You wear a tux when it’s a costume party or you come dressed in jeans and everyone else is wearing a tux. Or perhaps you bring a gag gift not realizing it’s a wedding shower. Get the picture?

We can all image, I expect, the nightmare of the guest who came to the banquet in our text without a wedding robe. When the King, who represents God, asks where’s his robe, the guy’s speechless. He has no defense and knows it. This is no ordinary party; he’s not just booted out on the sidewalk but assigned to a horrific eternal fate.

The message of the parable is harsh but clear. We’re all invited to a banquet. God graciously extends the invitation, but we must come prepared to be in the presence of the King. 

Dirty torn clothes won’t cut it. That’s a joke. Our preparation has nothing to do with clothes. This parable is an allegory. It’s not about an actually wedding banquet, although weddings are a common image in scripture for the fulfillment of the kingdom. Read the ending of the book of Revelation. History concludes with a wedding, uniting a renewed heaven and earth.[3]

The robe represents something other than actual clothes. The prophet Isaiah sings a song of deliverance proclaiming what God has done. Isaiah provides us with another insight into the meaning of such clothing. Listen to this verse:

My soul shall be joyful in my God;

For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation

He has covered me with the robe of righteousness

As a bridegroom decks himself in ornaments,

And as a bride adorns herself with jewels.[4]

          Catch that? The robe represents righteousness. The parable points out the need for us not only to attend the wedding banquet, but for us to respond with a changed life. To honor the king who invites us to the banquet, we clothed ourselves, or more correctly we allow the King’s son, Jesus Christ, to clothed, us with a robe of righteousness.[5]

          This passage supports the ethical tradition of the Reformed faith.[6] We, who are unworthy, are called by God through Jesus Christ, to come to the banquet, to establish our relationship with our Creator, a relationship that we have broken by sin. Yet, despite that, God graciously calls us when he could just as easily abandon us. God lovingly calls us, sending his Son, so that we not only hear the call but will respond with grateful hearts of thanksgiving.

Our lives as Christians should be balanced between the justification God freely grants and our response. God’s love drives us to sanctify ourselves, to strive for godliness.

The unfortunate man without a robe represents one who hears God’s call—for he came to the banquet—but who didn’t prepare himself to be in the presence of the King.  

          Jesus ends the parable with a proverb: “Many are called but few are chosen.” Jesus often has a way to throw in a curve at the end of his stories. We’re left scratching our head and having to live in faith.

This proverb is problematic and could, if not understood in context, drive us to despair. It also doesn’t seem to go to with the parable, which only speaks of one not being chosen at the banquet. That poor dude doesn’t make a multitude. Instead, he seems to be a clueless guest who made a major faux pas for which we are left to wonder why he’s not forgiven. His blunder and this closing parable evoke a certain amount of terror. If this guy can screw up, then what is going to keep you and me from making a mistake?

          “It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” asserts the author of Hebrews.[7] But what choice do we have? When Jesus asked the disciples if they, like the masses, want to abandon him, they responded, “Where can we go? Only you have the words of eternal life.”[8]

We have no choice but to live within the tension of the parable. The king is inviting us to the banquet. God is graciously calling us to his kingdom. That by itself should make us thankful and open to responding. But we’re left with the question, how should we get ready?[9]

          We should understand that salvation is not just forgiveness. It’s also about renewal. To put this into theological terms, we’re justified and sanctified.[10] That latter step, the sanctification part, requires action on our behalf.

This is the tension that exists between grace and the law—between what God does for us and that which we do in response to God’s love. We can’t do without either one, grace or law. However, we often over-emphasize one or the other. Instead, we’re to respond to God’s grace by striving to live by his law.

The intention of this parable isn’t to drive us to despair as we worry if we’re appropriately dressed, but to encourage us to be ready and to give our best to a God who invites us to the banquet. We’re summoned before God. The king has invited us; we need to respond in faith by striving to live godly lives.

          You know, those dreams in which we  wake up in sweat, worried about not being prepared? They probably help us be better prepared (like a Boy Scout, “Be Prepared”).

Likewise, this passage which not only has good news, but a terrible warning is a reminder of us to be ready. Yes, God wants us to enjoy the festivities, but we also have responsibilities and obligations. We’re to be God’s light in the world.[11]

Think about Jesus’ life, he enjoyed many dinner parties. And now we’re being called to the party that will top all parties. But first, as my mom used to say before calling us to dinner, “Wash up!” Amen.

©2020 Jeff Garrison

[1] Douglas R. A. Hare, Matthew: Interpretation Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1993), 244-251.

[2] Luke 14:7-11.

[3] Revelation 21:2.,

[4] Isaiah 61:10, NKJV.

[5] Matthew’s idea of a wedding garment is an active attempt for us to live by the law (as compared to Paul’s idea that righteousness being imputed and based on our faith).  Martin Luther suggests the wedding garment could also mean faith and many who come to the banquet (Judgement day) will lack faith. John Calvin (along with Augustine), suggested that there was no need to debate whether the garments are faith or righteous works as the two can’t be separated. There was also a rabbinical parable from this era in which the wedding garments were seen as “charity,” which implies a more active role in our preparations. See Frederick Dale Bruner, The Churchbook: Matthew 13-28 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004), 390.

[6] The Reformed faith (or tradition) refers to the theology of the Presbyterian Church. Presbyterians are not the only ones who are “Reformed.” Presbyterians, historically, came from Scotland and Ireland. The “Reformed Churches” (our cousins) mostly came from the European continent. Others also may hold to a Reformed faith, including some Baptists and Anglican/Episcopal. The Reformed Faith draws from the teachings of Swiss Reformers (Zwingli, Calvin, Bullinger, etc), and places a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the reality of sin, and our need for a Savior. 

[7] Hebrews 10:31.

[8] John 6:68.

[9] See Barbara Brown Taylor, “Tales of Terror, Times of Wonder,” The Other Side (March-April 2000).

[10] John H. Leith, Introduction to the Reformed Tradition (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981), 79.

[11] Matthew 5:14.

My Mom

Today, we buried my mother. My father asked me to write this obituary for him and my mother a few years ago. This appeared in an edited version, but I am posting it at its full length.

Mom in the mid-1950s

On July 26, 1937, Barbara was born on a farm outside of Pinehurst, North Carolina to Pete and Gladys Faircloth. She grew up mostly in Moore County, except for a few years during World War II, when her family moved to Wilmington so that her father could work in the shipyards. While a student at Pinehurst High School, she was a cheerleader and began dating her future husband when they were both in the tenth grade. In 1955, she graduated from high school and later that summer, three days after she turned 18, she married Charles Albert Garrison. The couple would have four children, Charles Jeffrey (1957), Warren Albert (1958), Sharon Kay (1959) and David Thomas (1966). After having children, she no longer worked outside of the home, but occasionally kept children for others, which also provided her own children with additional playmates. Barbara was a devoted mother who was willing to sacrifice much for her children. Her strength was evident early on, when she maintained sanity throughout a summer in the early 1960s when her three children (all under the age of five) experienced mumps, measles, and chicken pox in a manner of months.

My mother, Barbara Jean Faircloth Garrison died on October 4, 2020.   She loved her husband Charles, all children, and cleanliness. She taught her children to respect all people, insisted they attend church even when on vacation, and to always travel with Lysol (and this was pre-COVID). She loved to laugh and had a huge heart that accepted everyone. She loved birds and flowers and all of God’s creation (with the sole exception of snakes). She leaves behind her husband of 65 years, four children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren along with many nephews and nieces. Her parents and two sisters (Betty Ann and Clara) preceded her in death.

In 1963, the family moved to Petersburg, Virginia and in 1966, to Wilmington, North Carolina. Barbara would live most of the rest of her life in Wilmington. She loved the beach.  In the late 1970s, she joined her older children in college, but after a year put her studies on hold as she moved with her husband and younger son to Japan. Returning to Wilmington, she continued her studies and graduated with a social work degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 1985. She worked in this field for a few years but quit when she realized it kept her from traveling with her husband for his work.  She and Charles again moved overseas in the late 1990s, to Korea, coming back to Wilmington to retire.  Her love for children was seen with her volunteer work while overseas. In Japan, she taught English in an orphanage, and while in Korea taught English to children at a program in Korean churches.  After her children left home, Barbara became more active volunteering at Cape Fear Presbyterian Church, where she served as a Deacon and as a leader of the Young-at-Hearts program.

In the summer of 2005, just before she and Charles celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Over the next few years, her memories began to fade. Her husband cared for her at home until 2014, when she moved into Autumn Care of Myrtle Grove.

The family would like to thank all the care givers who tended to Barbara’s care during the last years of her life.  A private graveside memorial service will be held at Oleander Memorial Gardens, officiated by the Rev. Jonathan Watson, Pastor of Cape Fear Presbyterian Church.