Alberta Anthony has a big heart—a servant’s heart.
The York Electric Cooperative member served for 8 years on the Operation Round Up trust board, volunteering hundreds of hours of her time. The trust board administers participating YEC members’ donations to the program, which has given almost $2 million to local people in need and local community organizations.
The time spent vetting applications for assistance is well worth it, Anthony says. Beyond the details of checking every application, she knows her work with Operation Round Up really boils down to “helping people.”
Anthony has also helped YEC members exercise their right to vote by serving on the co-op’s Credentials and Elections Committee, which assists with and monitors Board of Trustees elections at the co-op’s annual meeting. She’ll be there again for the May 10 event.
A former fifth-grade teacher at Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary who helped hundreds of her pupils learn for 40 years, Anthony also assisted the local branch of the NAACP award scholarships for many years. Now, she’s found a new place to serve, although as she’ll tell you, the desire to help others all comes from the same place: from the heart, or more precisely, from God’s love.
Early this year, Anthony became the first African-American elder at Bethesda Presbyterian Church in McConnells. She’s one of six new elders ordained at the historic church, organized in 1769. She and her husband, James, joined Bethesda after visiting with friends three years ago.
In a way, they were coming full circle: Her ancestors and her husband’s once sat in the balcony at Bethesda. Before the Civil War, as was common at many churches, white parishioners sat in pews while their slaves worshipped in the balcony.
As they worshipped recently from the pews, Anthony says she looked up, toward the balcony, at the sanctuary’s chandelier. She didn’t focus on the balcony but on the light—or, more precisely, the one that shines on all of us. “That light, it looked like peace to me,” she says. “It’s that peace that drew us here. That’s how we got here.”
She felt it again on Sunday, Jan. 26, at Bethesda, when the Rev. Daniel Smoak preached from Philippians. The message resonated with Anthony.
“My pastor spoke on joy this morning and all I could think about was, the world didn’t give it to me and the world can’t take it away from me.”
God put that joy there, Smoak reminded her after the service. Yes, she said, “I’ve got it here. It’s right here in my heart.”
Serving others—at the church and at her co-op—keeps the joy flowing, she says. Pointing to her heart, Anthony says, “It goes right back in there.”
By Walter Allread
Would you like to serve your community? If you’re not already participating, call YEC today to sign up for Operation Round Up.
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