Nancy Taylor: Greene Publishing, Inc.
Colin and Vicki Howerton attend First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Madison. Colin grew up in this church from birth. Vicki’s grandparents and ancestors before them were also Methodist in the South Georgia Conference, so she grew up experiencing God’s love greatly in Methodist Churches as well.
Colin grew up in Madison attending FUMC where his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. C.P. Kelly, Sr., and his mother, Mrs. Emy Kelly Howerton, were active members.
Colin’s grandfather donated the pipe organ that the church still enjoys during worship services today. Mr. Kelly gave the organ to the church in memory of his son, Capt. Colin P. Kelly, Jr., who was killed in World War II. Mr. Kelly also donated money for First Methodist’s sister church, the Colin P. Kelly Memorial Church Abreaus, Cuba, to be built.
“God is truly blessing the church in Cuba in a very special way today,” said Vicki. “God has poured out His spirit and is continuing to pour it out on (that) church. The pastor from there recently visited our church in Madison. He and his congregation are truly on fire for God and spreading His gospel of love and redemption. His Spirit is blazing there - and on all of Cuba. God always has an amazing plan,” she continued.
Colin has served on various boards of the church, and Vicki has taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at different times throughout the years. Vicki was also a member of the church choir for several years.
Vicki feels privileged to have also served on the Parsonage Committee, the Board of Trustees, and the Pastor Parrish Staff Committee. “I was also very blessed to serve as President of our United Methodist Women’s ministry group,” said Vicki.
In addition, several years ago, Traci Laidlaw asked Vicki to become an administrator for the FUMC Facebook page. “We use this ministry to update the page with pictures and posts that remind people that they are loved – with His love and the love of our church family – and to invite all people to join us in worshipping Christ,” said Vicki.
“We have served many times on each one of those over the many years we have been at the church,” they said.
“We have both been part of the amazing Disciple Bible Study Group led by Pastor Bob and Traci Laidlaw. It was life-changing for both of us,” said Vicki.
Both of the Howertons work at Beggs Funeral Home in Madison. Colin is full-time, and Vicki works in the office two days each week. They both work in the front office there as Assistants doing a variety of things, from answering the phone to greeting families who depend on the services offered in their time of need. They also fulfill other office duties, as needed.
“It is a privilege to share God’s love with many families in this way, it’s a great privilege to be part of a ministry where God’s love is always touching lives as they journey through times where it is needed most,” said Vicki.
“God’s love amazes and motivates both of us as we travel this special journey that He has placed us on. Sharing God’s love with family, friends, church, community, work, and other ways is especially meaningful to us. It’s what life is all about. We are truly thankful for those who share His grace with us, as well - and there are so many,” she continued.
The Howertons say that, apart from church, enjoying their wonderful family would be at the top of their list. Their daughter, Memy (Mary Emmala), is married to Tommy Hayes. They live in St. Johns County. The Kellys have two “wonderful” grandchildren: Kelly Hayes is a student at FSU, and their grandson, Cole, will be entering his freshman year in St. Johns County next month. Additionally they feel incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful friends, family members, church family, and community with whom they dearly love spending time. “God’s greatest blessings in our lives are our family and friends. They are all true gifts and treasures in our lives,” Vicki exclaimed.
Vicki has joined with members of the community who have now formed a prayer group that meets on Wednesdays at First Methodist and includes members of the community. “Everyone is always invited to share in this ministry. We pray for our entire community, for our Nation and other important areas that need God’s amazing grace and intervention always,” she said.
Another group in which Vicki feels blessed to be a part is the Dickenson-Williamson Church Circle that was formed in 1971 (she is one of its original members) by Mrs. Kathleen Burnette and Mrs. Edith Smith for the younger ladies of the church at the time. “What a tremendous blessing that and our UMW have been to me -and to all of us who share and receive God’s love through participation in this ministry. I was honored and very blessed to serve as chairman of that wonderful ministry several years ago, as well.”
Being a Madison native, Colin graduated from Madison High School, and he attended North Florida Jr. College. Vicki graduated from Waycross High School and later from Valdosta State College where the two of them met during their senior year there.
The Howertons list several bible verses among their favorites. One is Proverbs 3: 5, 6 and another is Jeremiah. 29:11. Psalm 23 is also a favorite passage for both of them along with Psalm 91.
Both of the Howertons feel very blessed that God has given them such a loving and caring family and church family. They are very grateful for the Lord’s “special great grace and blessings all along (their) journey.” “We couldn’t live one day without Him. We're so blessed to be in a loving church and blessed to have Pastor Lamar and Vivian Albritton as our leaders. We have an amazing church family which includes our awesome Madison Youth Ranch family,” said Vicki.
The Howertons have a passion for reaching others to share God’s love in whatever small, humble way or place that He allows. “We are very humbled at the opportunities he gives all of us to be His hands, feet, and heart extended in a hurting world. He empowers us all daily to reach out and to bless - to share His amazing grace, love and encouragement along the pathway He graciously and continuously unfolds in our lives,” they said.