November 16, 2012
ORLANDO—Three and a half years after losing her pastor-husband to a fatal gunshot attack during Sunday morning services at their home church in Illinois, Cindy Winters urged approximately 150 Florida Baptist pastors’ wives to “be intentional about leaving a legacy.”
Themed “Leaving a Legacy,” the Florida Ministers’ Wives Luncheon, based on 2 Timothy 1:5b-7, was held Nov. 13 at Orlando’s First Baptist Church in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
Although Winters admits she still has some days she is “just trying to get through,” she told participants that she began thinking about her own legacy about six months after her husband died.
The first step in leaving a legacy, she said, is to embrace an authentic faith.
“People are longing for a faith that is real, honest and sincere,” she said. One of the biggest gifts we can offer others, she explained, is to demonstrate how faith can be reconciled with the disappointments and hurts in life, such as during her “tsunami of pain.”
The next step, according to Winters, is to live “bold, passionate lives. Status quo doesn’t leave a legacy.”
In the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death, still reeling from the violent and unexpected loss, Winters decided, “Satan will not win. God doesn’t want me to give up on what He wants me to do.”
The third step in leaving a legacy, Winters said, is to “prepare to die. Viewing life through the lens of death is wise.”
“It helps put life into perspective.” Doing so she added, allows individuals to live life to the fullest.”
In the months after her husband was murdered, Winters launched “Hope and Grace Ministries” with the vision of allowing her heartbreak to inspire hope in others.
During the luncheon, Elaine Nasworthy, wife of Elbert Nasworthy, pastor of Myrtle Lake Baptist Church in Land O’Lakes, received the Clyde Maguire Minister’s Wife Award.
Nancy Sullivan, wife of John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, presented this year’s award, which is named for the late Clyde Merrill Maguire, whose husband, John, served as executive secretary-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention 1945-1967. The award recognizes a Florida Baptist woman who has demonstrated faithful use of her God-given gifts in support of her husband’s ministry and in her own ministry. The award was first presented in 1987.
Nasworthy was nominated for the award by Sandra Porter, whose husband serves on the Myrtle Lake church staff. Porter commended the pastors’ wife as a mentor to other ministers’ wives, a dedicated church leader and teacher who encourages others with a smile to share.
The luncheon also featured musical worship by a ministers’ wives ensemble from the host church as well as violinist Lori Jean Smith.
Ministers’ wives who helped plan and conduct the annual luncheon included: Pam Jackson, First Baptist Church in Winter Park; Lucy Pat Curl, First Baptist Church in Orlando and Kim Smith, First Baptist Church of Sweetwater in Longwood.