A Tribute to a Friend

Phyllis Terrell was promoted to glory last Sunday afternoon. Although she was not a member of Lanier Christian Church, she was most supportive of the church throughout our history.

Most of her nine children attended VBS here through the years and also came to various church programs. In some cases, they were the program! The Joyful Noise choir, that Phyllis led, sang at LCC. Five of her children have served in ministry here: Melanie (worship leader for 30+ years); Jason (youth minister in the 1990's); Jody (Youth Minister starting in January 2020); Melissa (secretary for 9 years until 2015); and Monica (current church secretary). Even her grandson, Jackson, served as our church office assistant for a time. All love the Lord's church and know what it means to serve faithfully. They got that from their mom and dad. David & Phyllis Terrell retired just a few years ago from ministry at Cornelia Christian Church after serving there for more than 50 years.

Phyllis fought a brave battle against cancer with incredible grace and courage while still loving, supporting, influencing and encouraging her large family. She was a pianist, singer, choir director, youth leader, editor, and award winning artist.

Perhaps her favorite role was that of wife, mother and grandmother.

Her water color paintings have received awards around the world, and have been featured in galleries in Soho, New York. We have her paintings in our home. Our church office has one of her paintings that she created just for the church. My mom has a number of Phyllis Terrell paintings throughout the house.

Last week, when visiting with my mom, I took a few minutes to walk around the house and admire these six special paintings that were created by this talented servant of our Lord. Not all of her paintings have scripture written on them, but many do. So, I took a picture of one original painting that is unusually small, but inspirational. It is in my mom's kitchen in a prominent place. I think this smallest of paintings captures how Phyllis really felt. In her artistic handwriting, in water colors no less (not easy to do), are these words from Psalm 18:3.

"I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised."

The glory goes to the Lord. He is worthy to be praised. Always. That's what she believed. That's what she taught. That's what she lived. So, of all the songs she has known and played and sung throughout her life, what song did Phyllis request her family to sing at her funeral? This one: "Goodness of God." The lyrics are:

I love You Lord

Oh Your mercy never fails me

All my days 

I’ve been held in Your hands

From the moment that I wake up

Until I lay my head

I will sing of the goodness of God.

All my life You have been faithful

All my life You have been so, so good

With every breath that I am able

I will sing of the goodness of God.

So, on this day of the celebration of her life, I offer thanks and offer tribute to Phyllis Terrell for setting the humble example of what a true servant of the Lord should always do:


Sing...sing without hesitation...sing with boldness...sing to the one who is worthy to be praised...sing with every breath that you have...sing always of the goodness of God...no matter what. 

Surely the Lord himself will say to Phyllis Terrell, " Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)

The Master's happiness awaits for those who dedicate their lives to the praise and worship of the One who is filled with goodness and is worthy of our praise. May we follow her example and never stop praising, no matter what!