After a life filled with service and ministry, Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Caffey passed away on July 22, 2019. Mary Beth received a Master of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in 1981. She was a youth minister and minister of education in several Texas churches before moving to the state of Maine in 1984. Mary Beth helped start five new churches across the state and served as the president of the Baptist Convention of New England during the 1980s. She pastored churches in Sabattus and Paris Hill, Maine. Her friend, Phyllis Boozer, shared the following words at the memorial service held on July 27 at First Baptist Church, Paris Hill, Maine.

I am honored to be asked to bring words of remembrance for Mary Beth. I first met her many years ago when she attended the Baptist Fellowship Northeast meeting at my church in Wilton, Connecticut. I learned then that she had a strong calling to ministry and had been led to New England. 

I reconnected with Mary Beth many years later when I became the interim coordinator for Baptist Fellowship Northeast (BFN), an organization that brings together individuals and churches that affiliate with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, American Baptist Churches, USA, and Southern Baptist Convention. The previous coordinators had retired, and I had been asked to be the interim coordinator. At one of our general meetings, after I had served for a year, Mary Beth said, with a twinkle in her eye and that Mary Beth confident smile, “Phyllis has been our interim for a year and has done a fine job. I think it is time we make her the permanent coordinator. Does everyone agree?”

Mary Beth was always an encourager and advocate for women in ministry.  She served as moderator for BFN, as well as leadership positions for Baptist Convention of New England. She rarely missed one of our retreats or meetings and if she had a commitment where she could not stay the entire time, she would drive several hours to be there for one night, as she loved the fellowship. One of our BFN chaplains said of her, “Mary Beth loved Jesus, loved people, loved Maine, and her BFN family. She had a pioneer spirit to venture outside her southern heritage, to learn from and live alongside God’s people in New England. She never forgot her roots, she was proud of her family and her Texas and Baptist heritage. Jesus’ universal love shone through Mary Beth in the local and the tangible, right where she lived–loving God and loving neighbor.”

When I think of Mary Beth, a song pops in my mind which is very appropriate. Mary Beth can be described in many ways, but I think faithful is definitely one that comes to mind. I would like to share with you the words of “Find Us Faithful,” a song that captures Mary Beth’s spirit.

We’re pilgrims on the journey
of the narrow road,
and those who’ve gone before us
line the way,
cheering on the faithful,
encouraging the weary,
their lives a stirring testament
to God’s sustaining grace.

O may all who come behind us
find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion
light their way.
may the footprints that we leave,
lead them to believe,
and the lives we live
inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us
find us faithful.

Surrounded by so great
a cloud of witnesses,
let us run the race
not only for the prize,
but as those who’ve gone before us.
let us leave to those behind us,
the heritage of faithfulness
passed on thru godly lives.

After all our hopes and dreams
have come and gone,
and our children sift thru all
we’ve left behind,
may the clues that they discover,
and the memories they uncover,
become the light that leads them,
to the road we each must find.

God bless you good and faithful servant, Mary Beth!