Pastors preached and children listened. That’s how it was as a girl growing up in a small church outside Lynchburg, Va., Ethel A. Mitchell said.
“There’s so much I didn’t learn as a child,” she said.
At 90, Mitchell is the oldest member of The Path Worship Center, a growing church of about 90 people that meets off Marks Church Road.
She loves to tell people about the congregation and its pastor.
“This is a church of love. You walk in through the door and feel that. This has always been from the beginning a church of love,” she said. “We do have a good teaching minister, which is what you need these days. So many people don’t understand the Bible. I have learned so much in the last 10 or 12 years.”
Mitchell credits the Rev. Robert L. Williams’ expository teaching style.
“I really have learned quite a bit from him because growing up I didn’t understand a lot of stuff,” she said. “It means a lot.”
Mitchell has been a member of The Path since its founding in 1996.
She has been in Augusta far longer.
Mitchell was an Army wife and worked in the chapel wherever her husband was stationed: Alaska, South Carolina and eventually Georgia.
“It was a growing-up experience. … It’s quite a difference,” she said of having settled and finding a home in Augusta. “I feel like somebody growing up new. Right now it’s just a blessing.”
It’s Mitchell who has been a blessing to her church and community, her pastor said.
“She exemplifies the most faith,” Williams said. “She has the wisdom to go with the age.”
Over the years, Mitchell has sung in the choir and been active in Bible studies and Sunday school.
These days, she has taken on a new role: “Now I’m just sitting back, listening, looking and praying for the church,” she said.
Mitchell was previously a member of Thankful Baptist Church in Augusta for more than 30 years. She ran a day care there for more than a decade and loved working with the kids. She especially loved teaching them about the Bible.
“Learning a lot of this stuff begins at home,” she said. “It would be nice for parents to teach children from the beginning what being loved is all about and what love is about.”