In 2009 Clarice Pittman Elder visited Dr. Joe Martin, Pastor of Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church in Sandy Springs, GA. According to Dr. Martin, “Clarice interviewed me and then signed on to join a committee before the meeting was over –even before her first Sunday visit to our church.”
Her service to the church did not begin on that day, however. For many years, Clarice was a dedicated servant leader at North Decatur Presbyterian Church where she began her extraordinary volunteer work for the church. Using her gift of encouragement, she was legendary for delivering breads, cookies, flowers, cards, books, and other gifts of gratitude to the pastoral staff and others in the church. She soon became a member of the Evangelism Committee, welcoming visitors and newcomers, and serving as moderator of the Worship Committee through which she was responsible for obtaining new lighting for the sanctuary, an improved sound system, a new Baptismal Font, and updated paraments for the pulpit and communion table. For 20 years and prior to computers, Clarice also created and edited the church newsletter.
Her dedication and talent were recognized quickly, and she was ordained an Elder of the church, the highest office held by a layperson in the Presbyterian Church. Clarice modestly claimed they just enjoyed calling her Elder Elder.
After joining Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church, Clarice immediately assumed a leadership role in her new congregation. As a member of the Worship Committee, she uses her God-given creative talent to making the church services more meaningful for all worshippers. In fact, she takes her responsibility so seriously she often attends both contemporary and traditional services on the same Sunday to insure all is well. She also leads the new Acolyte Program for 7-12 year olds. And once again Elder Elder was elected to the Session of the church, assisting in all areas of ministry, planning worship, and overseeing the finances and maintenance of church property. In fact, she has been elected Elder four times in 30 years.
Clarice also serves the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, a membership of more than 100 churches. As a member of the Committee for the Preparation for Ministry, she mentors and guides Seminary candidates and as a member of the Committee on Ministry, she examines ministers moving into the presbytery. In addition to these highly responsible positions, she is active in the Presbyterian Women. Through this organization and others, she has helped the hungry, the homeless, the children, the sick, the lonely, the left out, and the lost. Clarice has made a difference in the life of the church and of those around her. Her husband, three children and eight grandchildren continue to be inspired by her service as well.
One cannot know Clarice without also marveling at her talent as a designer, needlework artist, and writer. In addition to sharing these creative endeavors with her church, she is internationally known for them in the world of miniatures. Clarice has designed many patterns, stitched countless pieces, and assembled and built innumerable room boxes and doll houses using ordinary things at hand. Recognizing her unique artistry, the Miniature Collector magazine featured an eight page tribute to her work.
For her lifelong service and commitment to her local church, the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, and the church at large, which she has served faithfully and passionately, the Wesleyan College Alumnae Association presents the Alumnae Award for Distinguished Service to the Church to Clarice Pittman Elder.