Mrs. Dottie Bryson, Minister to Senior Adults
What does your job involve?
To serve the church by developing, coordinating and administering an effective and comprehensive ministry to senior adults of the church and providing leadership to and supervision of staff members and volunteers involved in this ministry. The over-arching objective of this ministry is to make disciples for Christ’s service.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Greer, South Carolina.
How large is the family you grew up in?
Besides my parents, I have one sister younger than I.
When and how did you come to know Christ?
I came to know Christ at the knee of my mother. She led me to the Lord at age 5 ½ years old. My Dad took us as a family to all the revival meetings and tent meetings in the area. I heard about heaven and hell. I certainly wanted to go to heaven, so I gave my life to Jesus, my Savior. I was baptized at age of 7. The day I became a Christian was a very happy day in my life and I wanted my friends to become Christians. It truly has been my pleasure to serve One who has done so much for me.
What was the first job you ever had?
In the seventh grade I graded peaches at Taylors Peach Shed along with my school friends and we made 50 cents an hour. The next job I had, I worked for my mother at the Jewelry Store after school and on Saturdays. I worked part time at the Seminary Store when we were at Southeastern and then I married a pastor. When he became disabled with a heart attack, I worked and managed Alta Cunningham store in Greer.
Where did you go to college?
I attended Furman University for two years until I got my MRS degree. I worked at GMAC while my husband to be was an associate pastor at First Baptist, Galax, Virginia. He got lonely and came home to take me back as his bride. (We had been engaged for three years).
When and whom did you marry?
I married J.L. “Buddy” Bryson, Jr. March 29, 1954, we pastored the Five Points Missionary Baptist Church, Wilson, NC from 1957-1963 (It is now Forest Hills Bapt. Ch.); 1964-1970 we Pastored FBC, Newton, NC; our last pastorate was First Baptist Church of Mount Airy, NC. Buddy had a heart attack in 1977 and could no longer preach. We moved back to Greer, our home, where our families lived. He was 47 years old when he had the heart attack. We were married for almost 35 years before he passed away in 1957.
How many children do you have?
I have three children, James Roy (Jay), Vivian Ruth, William Lawrence (Billy). I have three grandchildren, Scott Bryson, Will Bryson and Candace Jensen and I have one great-grandson Jace Colt Bryson.
How did you get into ministry? I feel like I have been in ministry all my life. I always served wherever I was needed here at Greer FBC and in our churches we pastured. I love church work. I was working in Alta Cunningham store in Greer and loved buying the pretty clothes for my customers but I had a longing to get back into church work full time. Dr. Richard Powell hired me on June 17, 1991 to come to work here at Greer FBC as fulltime receptionist and secretary to Mr. James Murray, who was the minister to Senior Adults. And I was promised the job of Minister to Senior Adults when Mr. Murray retired. And I have been ever since and have truly loved my work.
What do you like best about your job?
I love to help people see what it means to be a child of God. And I love to see them grow in their spiritual journey. I love the opportunity to reach out beyond our church as well. Going out into the community to minister as well. I can never do enough to say thank you to Jesus for all He has done for me, what He is doing and what He will do in my life.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse or portion of the Bible?
I claim Matthew 28:19, 20. That is a command for us to follow and I love the last part where He said,
” I will be with you always.” To me that means anytime, good days or bad days, happy days or sad days, no matter what He is always with us. One of my favorite hymns is “My Jesus I love Thee.”
What do you do with your free time?
The best time is spent with my 15 year old granddaughter, Candace. She calls is G-mama time. And I enjoy so much the Great-Grandson Jace who is so precious. I enjoy spending time with my sister shopping and we just enjoy driving around enjoying God’s creation all around our area. I love to read and I love to keep up with folks in our former pastorates. I love to cook and entertain when I have time.
Is there something about you your people would be surprised to learn? I am really a shy person but they don’t see that and I used to be real timid but you have to outgrow that as a Pastor’s wife. And then when you become a widow, you learn to be aggressive with some people so they won’t take advantage of you. I still feel intimidated at times when I have to do certain things. But with God’s help I make it.