Eldress Mary Henderson is now “forever in His service” after Henderson County lost a beloved member of its community Aug. 4.
Pastor Henderson is Athens’ current Citizen of the Year, as she is loved by not only her congregation, but the entire community. She had previously stated that her goal in life was “to exemplify His image daily and stay in the shadows and let the Jesus inside shine forth” and many would agree that she did just that.
Known as more than just a pastor and as “Auntie Mary” or “Aunt Pastor” to many, she was a friend to everyone she met. Most describe Eldress Henderson as a woman of God with quiet strength who presented herself in a male dominated pastoral world with style, grace, and class.
Having served in ministry for over 40 years, including helping in Sunday School and singing, Henderson took over as Senior Pastor of The General Assembly Church of the Living God in the ‘90s and has been leading the church with exemplary service and leadership for the past 27 years.
Eldress Henderson grew up on Hamlett Street in Athens and graduated from Fisher High. On June 29, Mary and her husband Tom, celebrated 59 years of marriage and their daughter described them as a “prime example of what God can do if only you keep Him first.”
In Henderson’s years as pastor at COTLG, the church constructed a Family Life Center, which is a gathering place for special events, brought high-speed internet capabilities to the infrastructure, and installed a microphone system in the sanctuary.
Community was something that was very important to her and over the years, Henderson blessed many organizations with her servant's heart. Some that she has been affiliated with include Henderson County Arts Council, Lady Cards foster parent, Jail Ministry, Athens Race Task Force, Henderson Co. IMA, NAACP-B.A.T., Athens Ministerial Alliance, March for Jesus, ETMC Chaplain, Athens ISD Crime Fighters, and many others.
Condolences continue to be extended to her family and her church from the community she loved and that loved her. Celebration of life details will be given soon.