More than a sum of the parts

New Rock Wes­leyan cou­ple serve through small groups, many ac­tiv­i­ties

The Covington News - - Religion - By Colleen Capes Jack­son

Odell and Leah Cald­well have spent a life­time of min­is­ter­ing to oth­ers out of their over­flow­ing love for Christ. They have worked tire­lessly, en­dured hard­ships and con­tinue to make them­selves avail­able for any task in their golden years — whether it is clean­ing the church or sup­port­ing events.

The cou­ple has con­sis­tently been first on the scene with a cov­ered dish, a word of en­cour­age­ment and a hand-up to those in need. Givers in ev­ery sense of the word, they have sup­ported the church with tithes and of­fer­ings, helped church fam­ily with fi­nan­cial needs, coun­seled with friends at the kitchen ta­ble over a cup of cof­fee and loaned their car for emer­gency trips. They have served on sev­eral mis­sion projects to the Do­mini­can Repub­lic.

Mem­bers of New Rock Wes­leyan Church, Odell and Leah taught Sun­day school and Leah served on the church board. Since a young age, she has shared her mu­si­cal tal­ents in pi­ano, or­gan, clar­inet and Vi­bra-Harp within the church. Prior to com­ing to New Rock, they taught and served in var­i­ous lead­er­ship roles. Cur­rently, they host weekly Bi­ble study and small group ac­tiv­i­ties in their home.

“I en­joyed all the things we got to do,” said Odell. “It made us grow and it put some­thing in our hearts to en­cour­age us to go the sec­ond and third mile.”

Born in Greene County, Odell grad­u­ated from Trevecca Nazarene Uni­ver­sity and served as prin­ci­pal for thirty years at Glen Haven Ele­men­tary School in DeKalb County.

Leah was born in Eff­in­g­ham, Ill., and at­tended South­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­sity. The daugh­ter of a min­is­ter, she learned about loving and help­ing oth­ers by her par­ent’s ex­am­ple.

“I’m con­cerned about the at­ti­tude I see in churches to­day,” said Leah. “In our home, it was as­sumed that we would go to church — there was no thought oth­er­wise.

Peo­ple are so busy that they feel like they can just serve God when they want to. We need to be draw­ing closer to Je­sus be­cause he is com­ing soon.”

An avid stu­dent of the Bi­ble, Odell mod­els the im­por­tance of stay­ing in God’s word ev­ery day. Leah en­cour­ages fam­i­lies to eat meals to­gether and to rec­og­nize the sig­nif­i­cance of keep­ing God as the cen­ter of the home. They be­lieve the best way for a church to grow is by word of mouth and friend­ship.

“They are won­der­ful peo­ple who know how to pray and sup­port their pas­tor,” said the Rev. Rick Shock­ley, pas­tor of New Rock Wes­leyan Church since Fe­bru­ary 2008. “ I be­lieve that they know how to in­ter­cede in prayer for peo­ple and their needs and I would not hes­i­tate to call on them at any mo­ment for a prayer need. They are very faith­ful to New Rock Church and are faith­ful ser­vants for the church and the com­mu­nity.”

Leah and Odell met in church af­ter they both ex­pe­ri­enced a painful di­vorce. Leah spoke of how she held on to Eph­e­sians 6:11, “Put on the whole ar­mor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (KJV). There were morn­ings when she would vi­su­al­ize putting on the ar­mor to help her get through the day.

“Our kids prayed us to get mar­ried,” said Leah smil­ing. “We were mar­ried in 1992 and to­gether we have six chil­dren, 11 grand­chil­dren and five great- grand­chil­dren.”

Leah’s fa­vorite hobby is oil paint­ing and she and Odell travel across the county in their mo­tor home.

The Cald­wells want every­one to know that New Rock Wes­leyan Church is a group of friendly, loving peo­ple who want to reach out to the com­mu­nity with the love of Christ. The church’s motto is to con­nect peo­ple to God by ex­pe­ri­enc­ing grace, grow­ing in love and pro­mot­ing unity.

“Leah and Odell are great peo­ple,” said for­mer pas­tor, the Rev. Joe Ney­man who served from 1993 to 2003. “When they started at­tend­ing New Rock, our at­ten­dance was low and they were a source of in­spi­ra­tion and en­cour­age­ment—a God-send to the church.”

New Rock Church is a mul­ti­cul­tural church and of­fers blended wor­ship mu­sic and a va­ri­ety of min­istry pro­grams, in­clud­ing a chil­dren’s min­istry called KIDMO. Sun­day morn­ing wor­ship be­gins at 10:30 a.m. and mid­week ser­vices are held on Wed­nes­day at 6:30 p.m. for a small group Bi­ble study. The com­mu­nity is in­vited to a trunk ’ n treat free kid’s fes­ti­val planned for Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 25 at the church lo­cated at 3790 High­way 138 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more in­for­ma­tion, call Pas­tor Rick Shock­ley at (770) 679-1266.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Min­is­ter­ing cou­ple: Leah Cald­well, left, and her hus­band Odell Cald­well sit in front of the Cov­ing­ton home where they host a weekly Bi­ble study group for the New Rock Wes­leyan Church where they are mem­bers.

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