Meet Golden Cross Member Shirley Vaughn

By Cindy Solomon

The Golden Cross Foundation is blessed to have a committed, caring, and experienced board. Meet board member Shirley Vaughn.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: I grew up in Western Kentucky in a family of Methodists in the Memphis Conference. I took the vows of church membership at LaCenter (Kentucky) Methodist Church when I was 9 years old. When I was 20, I joined Broadway Methodist Church in Paducah, Kentucky. I moved to Tennessee when I married in 1965. My husband, a minister in the Tennessee Conference, and I served several churches before he became disabled. He died in 1985 at a young age.

I worked at the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in the Office of Loans and Scholarships for 34 years—retiring in 2002. My job as student loans administrator for the United Methodist Student Loan Fund was rewarding. I “met” pastors, students, and parents by phone and helped them with financial aid for college.

Q: How many years have you served as a Golden Cross Foundation board member?

A: From its beginning.

Q: Why are you involved in ministry with older people via serving on the Golden Cross Foundation board?

A: In 2012, I became the chair of the Older Adult Committee of the Tennessee Conference. It was a challenging task but I knew there were capable and devoted persons — Kent McNish, Richard Gentzler, Pat Brandenstein, Michael Lorance, and Sonnye Dixon come to mind — who would help the committee become a strong, supporting influence for older adults in the conference. They were of tremendous help with the Leadership Development Training workshops and other events the committee sponsored for the older adults in the conference. The committee also supported annual events for older adults sponsored by Beersheba Springs Assembly — Christmas at Beersheba — and Lake Junaluska — Festival of Wisdom and Grace. After seven years as chair, I retired in 2019. The committee had paved the way for ENCORE Ministry to become the leader for older adult ministries in the Tennessee Conference.

By virtue of my position with the Older Adult Committee, I became a member of the Golden Cross Foundation when it began in early 2013. I am delighted to have been a part of GCF from the beginning and see how churches (and older adults) are reaping the benefits from the foundation’s grants.

Q: How has God blessed you while serving on the board?

A: It has been a joy for me to work with other United Methodists across the Tennessee Conference. Working with churches that apply for grants enabling older adults in their congregation to continue to be active is a blessing for me.

Q: What hopes or dreams do you have for the Golden Cross Foundation over the next year? In the next few years?

A: My hopes and dreams as we move toward the new Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference is that the foundation will grow by leaps and bounds and that we will be able to continue helping churches in the new conference meet the needs of their older adult members.

Q: Just for fun, what’s one little known fact about you?

A: I am been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel across continents to see and experience the beautiful world God created. In 2020, everything I was involved in shut down because of the pandemic. I began thinking about my life experiences and how many stories I could write while I had the free time. I wrote my first story in March 2020, and to date, I have written more than 200 of my life stories (family, travel, church, friends, etc.). There may be more at a later time!

Shirley Vaughn is an active member of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. She is a greeter, church council member, librarian, older adult choir member, and Sunday school and Bible study member. In addition, she is an alternate lay delegate to the Tennessee Annual Conference.