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A Sunday School Pioneer

  Mother Deavidene Mays, a native of Hilton Head, SC, was born to Elder Charles and Naomi Frazier. Mother Mays grew up in church. She received the Lord in her life while attending The Church of Christ Holiness unto the Lord denomination. She and her 12 siblings, along with her parents attended Sunday School and church service regularly. It was then she discovered her love for Sunday School. 

After graduating from high school, Mother Mays wanted to explore other places. She saw an ad in the paper for a job and ticket to New York. At age 17, she left home to start a new job working for a family with the goal of attending Bellevue School of Nursing. Two and a half years later, her sister informed her about the Lamar School of Nursing in Augusta, GA. Reluctant to leave the “Big City,” she applied, was accepted and graduated in 1963. After graduation, she worked at University Hospital for 4 years and then worked at Eisenhower Army Medical Center for the remainder of her career, retiring in 2012. 

  Due to segregation in the South, Mother Mays had to live on Paine College campus while attending nursing school. One day, while doing her rounds in the hospital, she met a patient by the name of Mother Minnie McKeever’s. When asked a basic list of health questions by a doctor, Mother McKeever responded, “No, I don’t drink or smoke. I am saved, sanctified and Holy Ghost filled.” Those words excited Mother Mays to the point that once the doctor left the room she inquired where Mother McKeever went to church. Mother McKeever answered, “Friendly Church of God In Christ.” Mother McKeever contacted a young Elder Mark and Missionary Dorothy Walden who picked Mother Mays up from Paine and brought her to church. The Walden’s continued to do provide rides until Mother Mays had her own transportation. 

In the late 1970’s, The Walden’s were called to pastor a church in Thomson, GA and that left a vacancy in the position of Sunday School teacher. The late Elder Cleveland Woods, Sr. filled the position by appointing a very shocked Mother Deavidene Mays. She couldn’t believe it; she just knew that Missionary LaDoris James would have been chosen. Mother Mays took her role as the Sunday School teacher very seriously, realizing that she could not mimic anyone’s teaching style and that she had to teach the way God led her to teach. She is still doing that to this day. 

To Mother Mays, Sunday School isn’t just another church service. “It is the “hot bed” of the church. The first growth that place is in the “hot bed” – which is Sunday School. In Sunday School, a person can ask questions, ask for clarification, get answers, speak out, and give scriptures for understanding that will lead to maturity and growth. Sunday School is a place where you get your nutrients. It will cause a person to speak up if bashful. Sunday School is for all people and everyone needs Sunday School.” 

In 1996, Missionary Dorothy Walden resigned from being the Augusta District Field Representative and Pastor Emeritus Leroy James appointed Mother Mays as the new August District Field Representative. One of her main responsibilities was to visit every church in the district, which was about 7-8 churches, once a year and be prepared to teach. Pastor James informed Mother Mays that every pastor may not respond back and that is okay. Just go to those churches that do respond, accept your invitation, and she did just that. Mother Mays retired from being the Augusta District Field Representative in 2018 due to medical reasons but also knowing that she wouldn’t be able to complete the responsibilities anymore. So, instead of holding a position, she made the decision to allow a younger missionary to have an opportunity.   

Mother Mays is a cornerstone in The Friendly Church of God in Christ Sunday School Department; however, she has served in other capacities as well. She served as the Vacation Bible School (VBS) teacher for a number of years and won VBS Teacher of the Year under the direction of Missionary LaDoris James. She held the position of president and teacher within the Young Women Christian Council (YWCC). After retiring from being the president, Missionary Jacqueline Millender assumed the position and Mother Mays continues to faithfully serve as the YWCC teacher, a position she is still fulfilling. Mother Mays was also a recipient of the Mary Lou Wood award. 

Some words of encouragement from Mother Mays, “Don’t worry. Remain calm and hold your head up high. Know how to roll with the punches and how to make lemonade when people give you lemons.”

Mother Mays was a nurse by profession; however, she has made a career of being a teacher of God’s word to His people. Continue to pray for Mother Mays as she continues to be a beacon that leads somebody to Christ.  

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