By Connie Davis Bushey
JOHNSON CITY — Ginger Dalton will never forget participating in the birthday party for an inmate. He told the Baptists holding the party that he had never had a birthday party before.
That memory is just one of many such memories she has accumulated over her 20 years as church and community director for Holston Baptist Association, based here. She will retire in June after serving 20 years.
She also will never forget the fair ministry she directed where Baptists were offering cold water from a booth inside a building. One day a clown burst through the doors to the building and yelled, “Where’s the Christians with the cold water?”
One year Baptists here involved in the carnival ministry attended a wedding performed under the ferris wheel for two of the carnival workers by a Baptist minister. Also carnival workers began being baptized at nearby Fordtown Baptist Church, Kingsport, because of the witness of the Baptists. The church just began filling its baptistry each year during the carnival, Dalton explained. She coordinated this ministry also.
Then there was the carnival worker who came to the Baptist group just before they left to thank them for praying for him. Many of the carnival workers are needy and, of course, miss their families, Dalton noted.
She will never forget the 6-year-old boy attending a storytime at the Johnson City Baptist Center, another ministry of Holston Association Dalton oversaw. He kept raising his hand though he wasn’t called on. Finally he yelled out, “I just gotta get saved!”
Dalton remembers fondly the widow who was a part of the widowed persons support group Dalton coordinated. The widow was a former beautician. After learning about the carnival workers ministry, she went with Dalton to provide free haircuts to the workers.
Dalton met a nurse in the waiting room who was weeping because her husband was ill. Dalton, involved personally this day, was able to give her a hug and pray for her, she recalled.
Ben Proffitt, director of missions, Holston Association, has worked with Dalton for 20 years and known her for much longer. He said, “Ginger is irreplaceable. She is a one-of-a-kind personality blend. She sees every person as a soul who needs a Savior, so she is equally grace-giving to every manner and kind of people.
“Ginger is warm and compassionate while firm and unrelenting, kind without measure, always the smiling servant, godly to the core … the best kind of friend you could hope for.”
Dalton said none of the ministries she has overseen would have been possible without the support of the association’s churches and the numerous volunteers.
“God has used your love and generosity to bless many people,” reported Dalton, who is a member of Calvary Baptist Church, Erwin.
When she began Tal Thompson, director of missions at that time, warned her that she would be “stretched” by the job.
“It has stretched me, but has been such a blessing,” noted Dalton in writing.