By Travis Tyler
Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Elizabethton
ELIZABETHTON — At age 13, Pat Presnell started playing the piano during a Wednesday night prayer meeting at Grace Baptist Church. She began playing for the Sunday morning service shortly after. The year was 1950.
She continued to play for the church for nearly 70 years until retiring recently due to health reasons. Presnell was honored for her faithfulness to her church family last month.
Ron Owens, pastor emeritus of Grace, spoke on how God has used her in the life of Grace Baptist.
“I learned very quickly that Pat Presnell was an important cog in what went on at Grace Baptist,” he said. “She was pianist, Sunday School teacher and anything else the church needed.”
“She is one of the most consistent Christians I have ever known,” he added. “No matter where you found her, her faith was on the front lines. Every pastor who has ever served at Grace Baptist has loved Pat Presnell.”
Jim Presnell, Pat’s son who pastors Rock Hill Church in Lawrence, Kansas, spoke at the service, too.
“She didn’t have to beat it over our heads that church was important because that is how she lived and over time we caught it,” he said. “And we began to understand that the church is the family of God, made of people who are saints and sinners all at the same time. She didn’t see the sin all the time.”
“There is a flavor and texture to mom’s faithfulness … her love, joy, peace, and kindness,” he added. He went on to express that she imprinted on each of her three children the “model of what it means to try and live our lives if Jesus were us.”
Her daughter, Laura Seagroves, who leads worship at Grace Baptist said, “So many things stand out to me throughout my life. She always points to Scripture.”
Laura pointed out that Pat skillfully corrected her lack of desire for church attendance during her college years.
“Mom said to me tearfully, ‘I don’t want you to come for me, come for the LORD. That is why you come,’ ” Laura said. “She would not want you to leave here thinking what a great person Pat Presnell is but instead say look what God can do with one life.”
Mrs. Pat spoke at the end saying, “I am totally overwhelmed by this, it is such an honor. I have been at Grace Baptist all my life. Everything I have done through the years; it is the LORD in me.” B&R