The First Lady of Broadmoor

Originally published in the Broadmoor Baptist Church magazine Pursuit, in 2015.

Link: http://issuu.com/broadmoorbaptist/docs/pursuit_-_issue_1_web/4

Jeremiah 18:1-6
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”

In the spring of 1958, a young pastor and his wife came to a small, but growing, church in the bustling city of Jackson. Called from a pastorate in the Delta town of Drew, Dr. David Grant and his wife, Lukie, had big dreams. One was that the church they helped nurture would grow, and spread the gospel all over Planet Earth. Nearly six decades later, that dream is a reality. And though the Broadmoor of 2014 might look a lot different than the Broadmoor of 1958, the basics have not changed: actions built on Scripture and coupled with big, “God-sized” ideas, a commitment to missions, faith, perseverance and love for each other.

Lucille Elizabeth Gardner Grant, known fondly as “Mrs. Lukie”, just celebrated her 90th birthday on Christmas Eve. Her wisdom and counsel has been invaluable to church staff, spouses and members through the years. With humility and grace, she has served as a constant, a reminder of that foundation laid so many years ago. Now, she’s a great-grandmother, who proudly shows off pictures of her family to guests. Sitting back in her comfortable chair, she remembers clearly how things were in that spring of 1958.

When the couple arrived at Broadmoor that spring, they found a congregation full of young families, just building their lives. The postwar baby boom had turned parts of north Jackson into a thriving community with lots of children and big dreams. Businesses were bringing new families, and the young church responded. Meeting first in an old bottling plant, then a store, Broadmoor had recently established its first presence on that busy corner of northeast Jackson when they called the Grants.

“At that point, the church was on the corner [of Manhattan and Northside Drive], and then it was just woods, all the way to North State Street,” she recounts. “They laughingly told David that his job was to clean up that lot.” And, over the years, that’s just what they did. Broadmoor built slowly, but deliberately. As the church’s membership grew, so did its commitment to missions, and to loving each other.

“They were very loving, and kind, and responsive,” she remembers. That Broadmoor has remained, growing stronger as a body. One thing that has never wavered has been the church’s commitment to missions, which Lukie notes was strong even during the church’s early days. Groups were at that time going to places like Anaconda, Montana. Broadmoor’s groups ranged far and wide doing missions work, often combining things like music programs with missions travel.

Born in Gulfport, Lukie had moved with her family to Hattiesburg when she was four years old, then to McComb four years later. After graduating high school in McComb, she went to the “W” – then Mississippi State College for Women. While attending summer school classes at Mississippi College, she was approached by a confident young student from Plantersville named David Ruff Grant. He was immediately smitten, and asked the pretty young coed if he could carry her books.

“I wasn’t really very impressed,” she recalls. “I said, ‘no, thank you.’ But later, I found out what a treasure he was.”

The couple was married at the end of their junior year, on June 28, 1944. Life was a whirlwind during those first years of marriage, she remembers, as David was preaching at several churches in north-central Mississippi. “Communication was hard and courting was difficult,” David wrote in his autobiography To God Be the Glory: An Autobiography. David noted in the book that they had little money at the time, and when Lukie’s mother asked her how would they would get by, she replied, “Love and the congregation.”

Inside the towering figure of Dr. Grant, she notes, was a loving husband and father — and a sensitive soul. “He was a very caring, loving person,” she says of Dr. Grant. “He loved everybody and wanted everybody to love him. That wasn’t always true, and it made him very sad, because he was very sensitive to the desires that he had that didn’t meet, maybe, some people’s opinions.”

Moving to Kentucky to continue their education, the couple’s family began to grow. Sarah was born in 1950, about the time Lukie got her Master’s Degree. Sarah was followed by Olivia in 1953 and David in 1956. The Grants found their children loved by their new family at Broadmoor, a trait which Lukie counts as one of Broadmoor’s great strengths. “Broadmoor has always been blessed with children,” she notes.

At Broadmoor, the Grants went about their work with dignity and purpose, never wavering in their call to leadership of the Broadmoor flock. Often, his visionary ideas for the church were new and different. “He had a marvelous ability of having such foresight,” she remembers. “Broadmoor was the first to have a bowling alley and a gym. I don’t know of any other church that had it, probably not in Mississippi.”

Under his leadership, and by bringing in talented and visionary staff members, Broadmoor went on to establish ministries which are credited with bringing in many who might not otherwise have been reached by a church. Broadmoor’s athletic, music and childcare programs were all instrumental in helping Broadmoor grow into the church it is today. David’s grand vision included things which sometimes were subject to vigorous debate, such as the grand pipe organ which characterized Broadmoor’s Northside Drive location.

Always during the 26 years of their ministry at Broadmoor, Lukie notes, there were strong men in the church helping guide it. “David said one of the secrets of Brodmoor was the leadership; that there were men who led…that were strong, and following through on ideas,” she recounts.

In his autobiography, David went to great lengths to praise Lukie and her role as Christian wife and mother, referring to her as “…chief counselor, constant companion, friend, and wife. Lukie has been a first lady, magna cum laude, in the churches where I have served as pastor. We have labored beside each other in our Lord’s Kingdom for a half-century, and there have been few ladies that have filled such a role with the small amount of criticism that she has had.”

In the years after their children were grown, Lukie went to work at the Mississippi Disability Determination Services, where she retired. She and Dr. Grant continued to serve until his retirement in December, 1984, and traveled and saw much of the world. The Grants welcomed Broadmoor’s new pastoral family, Dr. Jim Futral and his wife Shirley, soon afterwards. Their three children included Broadmoor’s future pastor Rob, who now leads Broadmoor with his own wife Kimandria and their family.

Lukie now lives a quiet life at her northeast Jackson home. After Dr. Grant’s death in 1991, the family published the autobiography, on which he had been working at the time of his death. She can frequently been seen at Broadmoor, and attends faithfully, still involved in missions service. She does this because she believes that a church member should support the pastor. “I am a great admirer of our pastor, and support him in everything he wants to do, because I believe in him, and I think as long as he’s there, that we’re going to just keep on going,” she explains. “He is one fine man, who wants to do what the Lord wants the church to do.”

In the years after David’s retirement, Lukie began to be called upon to counsel the “first ladies” of the church. They keep her as a close confidant, and she has some advice for a pastor’s wife: be genuine. “Be yourself. I think that women who find themselves in the role of a pastor’s wife, and who pretend, it’s miserable,” she explains. “You really have to have a heart for the church and its people, and the Lord himself.”

Kimandria has been the recipient of Lukie’s wisdom all her life, having grown up with her at Broadmoor under Dr. Grant’s pastorate. “I just remember seeing Lukie and her children, and looking up to the whole family,” she recalls. “Seeing the children being involved in ministry and missions has been an inspiration. She has been a true role model.”

Kimandria got to know Lukie better when she and Rob came to Broadmoor in 2003, and the two joined two others in an intergenerational women’s group called Circle of Friends. “We gleaned great wisdom from those ladies at the luncheons. How valuable those times were!” she remembers. “Jill [Ford] and I began to ask questions about marriage and what she would do the same and would do differently. I remember laughing around the table and having lunch. One valuable piece of information was that she wished she had sat down and watched more football with her husband. She was so busy doing chores and ministry, and just wished that she had more relaxation time with him.”

But among the great gifts of wisdom Kimandria gained was Lukie’s advice about being a pastor’s wife. “I’ve learned that the greatest gift I can give to my church family is to share my husband, his time and his energy, with the church without any resentment, and to make those sacrifices without harboring any bitterness because that is your husband’s service and calling.”

Lukie has continued her involvement in missions, and Kimandria notes how she accompanied Broadmoor groups to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when she was 81. “So many people would make excuses, but she does not use her age as an excuse.” And a few years ago, she traveled to France on another one of Broadmoor’s mission trips.

As a birthday present last year, Kimandria and Rob presented Lukie with a one-of-a-kind “Jeremiah Pot”, based on Jeremiah 18:1-6. “It illustrates how God continues to mold and shape us throughout life,” she notes. “Lukie wants to please the lord until her last breath.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s