Rev. Faye Vaughn recognizes God’s plan for her life
Rev. Faye Vaughn smiles as the congregation applauds her recent decision to accept the call as the next pastor at the Frankford First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023. Rev. Vaughn, who is the 56th pastor to lead the historic congregation, is the first person of color and the third woman to serve in the role. Photo contributed by Ethan Colbert.
MARY LOU MONTGOMERY
Rev. Faye Vaughn has accumulated a wealth of knowledge during her 87 years, gleaned from her own life experience and her steadfast faith in God.
A resident of Frankford, Mo., for nearly seven decades, she has been an eye witness to the troubles created by mankind, and God’s ultimate salvation plan.
In November 2023, Rev. Vaughn, who retired after 26 years as minister for the Second Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of New London, accepted a call to become the pastor of Frankford’s historic First Christian Church.
“I believe the reason why I’m up here (on the pulpit) is because God had the plan for me to be here. Not their plan and not my plan. I’ve followed the function of the Holy Spirit which led me up there.”
Rev. Vaughn, who is the 56th pastor to lead the historic congregation, is the first person of color and the third woman to serve in the role.
Her affiliation with the First Christian Church at Frankford is an outgrowth of Covid.
“Rev. Faye started coming to our church at the height of the Covid pandemic,” said Ethan Colbert, a life-long member of the Frankford church. “Our sanctuary was closed, but we were live-streaming.
“We had someone filling in from Pulpit Supply; and somebody had to be there to set up the computer. That was me. I will always remember Rev. Faye walking in and taking a seat in the back pew for worship. She started coming to our church because other churches were not holding services.
“I remember the first Sunday she came in and sat down with the guest minister and myself, just the three of us. And she continued to come to church even when we started having in-church services. The scriptures tell us where two or more are gathered .. those weeks she was there are some of the more memorable ones. Those are Sundays that I will never forget.
“That was how this relationship jumpstarted. She had experiences that predate me,” he said.
Rev. Vaughn was 18 when she first moved to Frankford.
“Segregation was rampant when I came to Frankford,” she said. “My kids all grew up here in Frankford; my children are all well known here in Frankford. They survived Frankford, too.
“I did not go to the First Christian Church in Frankford,” she said.
“But times have changed, people have changed. It is slow, change is slow coming about. It might never ever be completely what we want it to be, what God wants it to be.
“I am an example of change,” she said.
“What is happening, is that people - white, black, red, blue yellow - are coming to the realization that we are all humans. The color of our skin should not make a difference,” she said.
“It makes sense to me. God prepared me for this. I’ve been through enough trauma; I’m a three-time cancer survivor. I was in a car wreck when a girl was killed. God wanted me for this time and this place in Frankford, Missouri.”
“I went to school in an all black school. I came up in a whole different kind of era. I have stories that are hard for young people today to believe. I got a minimum of education; school boards were all white men and they didn’t care about the little black kids.
“I worked for people who paid me less money because I was black; I knew that, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it, because I needed the job.
“One of funny things, when kids are bused now, it’s a big deal. They bused us for years, from one town to another.”
“I was blessed to raise eight children, one baby was born dead. All my children were able to go to school, get jobs and be effective people in the community. They are not perfect, but they look perfect to me.”
Call to preach
Ethan’s father, Roger Colbert, was among the board members at the Frankford church. “It was his position to have a pastor in the pulpit every Sunday,” Rev. Vaughn said.
Rev. Vaughn first served the church, affiliated with Pulpit Supply. Then Roger Colbert asked her if she would preach every Sunday.
“I said, I’m 87. What will happen when I get to be 89, or 100?"
Roger laughed, she said.
“I preach a little different from what they are used to,” Rev. Vaughn said. “But the people of Frankford love the Lord, and I love the Lord. So we get along.
“I just preach the Word, I don’t hold back. We get along fine. They are good people and they love the Lord. They want someone to preach for them.”
“Somebody asked me about my age; I hear them talking about President Biden’s age.
“The scripture says some of the best work God got out of people was when they got old.
“When Abraham and Sarah had a baby, they were old.
“Moses was 80 years old when he led the people out of Egypt.
“Age doesn’t have anything to do with God, if he has a plan for you.
“Age has good experience. We’ve been through some stuff and we know what God can do.
“When I got to be 70 years old, I went downtown Hannibal and opened up a cafe. I ran that for almost five years till my husband got sick.
“Just because the world says after such an age … a doesn’t make it so.
“The relationship I have with God is what motivates me.”
“I baptized a little girl a few months ago, and two people changed their membership this last week. I do love the Lord and I love His people. The good ones and the bad ones and those in between.”
At present, the church has 123 members.
“Today, I have found out, in the last few years, don’t worry about tomorrow. Just worry about today; today has enough problems of its own. The horror that is going on in the earth, all of that bothers me, it is not necessary.
“They can’t find it in their heart to make a way so that people don’t have to live in the streets? If they are blessed with wealth, they should use it for the good of people. I even wrote to the President about it.
“I hadn’t seen it until I went to Denver, Colo., and I saw homelessness up close. Seeing it up close does something to you. Folks don’t care about the Lord and his children.
“We’re all his children, all brothers and sisters in Christ, so the bible teaches.”
Disciples of Christ of Mid-America Regional Pastor Dr. Paul Koch presents certificate recognizing Rev. Faye Vaughn as the next pastor at Frankford First Christian Church during an installation service held Nov. 19, 2023. Photo contributed by Ethan Colbert.
Mary Lou Montgomery retired from the Hannibal Courier-Post in 2014, after 39 years as a community journalist.