Sometimes You Have to Open the Way


Charlotte excelled at college, and no one was surprised. She was one of the last classes to graduate with "Pacific College" on her diploma, as the school changed it name to George Fox College in 1950. The school almost became Friendswood College except for a last minute written plea from Alumni and childhood peer Arthur Roberts who argued for the Historical moniker. Arthur prevailed over and convinced Levi Pennington who was advocating "Hoover College."

(This writer wishes to express deep gratitude on behalf of all present and  future alumni to AOR)

Charlotte remembered her time there as a time of joy and promise. She roomed one year there with childhood friend Gerry Wilcutts. There was a close-knit group of  women there who socialized together and encouraged each other.  Many in this group of women ministers never married. Two years behind Charlotte in School was her close friend Dorothy Barrett.

But with graduation, women who did not go on to marriage were often at loose ends. Charlotte's male peers either went on to graduate school or immediately were offered pastorates or teaching positions. Nothing opened up immediately for Charlotte. So she went home to Greenleaf. And the academy offered her a girls PE teaching position for one year at virtual volunteer wages. She lived at home. And she was not satisfied.

When Dorothy graduated just behind Charlotte, she had no better prospects. Charlotte cooked the first of her ministerial entrepreneur schemes on a visit to Dorothy in Newberg during the Spring of her final year. Then Charlotte presented the plan to the College.  She and Dorothy would embark upon a year long tour of the yearly meeting doing recruitment for the college. She asked for sanction and title, but no pay. The admissions office jumped at the chance. Then Charlotte and Dorothy started writing letters to churches. In return for room and board and a chance to talk to high school students they would do any needful work for the church. They offered to preach, visit shuts ins, run Vacation Bible Schools, organize and lead youth rallies, teach Sunday School, even paint, clean and do building maintenance.  Anyone who has every done these tasks for years on end at a small church understands why they booked the entire year in no time flat.

So they did the work. Dorothy's favorite memory was of a Tacoma , Washington two week revival meeting with nightly preaching - they took turns - though Dorothy said that even then Charlotte was the better preacher. They also built relationships with most of the pastors in the Yearly Meeting, and they built a good reputation for themselves. Admissions to the College went up that year.

Charlotte had two hopes, first that the College would see the value of this role and offer to pay them. No such offer was forthcoming. The next hope was that one of the vacant churches, and there were several, would see their promise and call them to a pastorate.  There was much gratitude, and everyone enjoyed having "those college girls" visit and work for free, and hoped they would come again soon. But no one saw them as the answer to their pastoral needs.

Peggy, thank you so much for sharing these stories of Charlotte Macy. I obviously never met her, but I am inspired by her life and work.
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