The Reverend Lee Scripture was insatiably curious about all matters of creation, and that curiosity motivated his entire life. For nearly four decades he served as the pastor of Wicomico Baptist Church, with each sermon reflecting his awe, admiration and gratitude for the miracle of God’s handiwork.
He never retired – from anything! At 80 he became both a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist.
After assuming the pastorate of his church, he told me that he came to think of the late Glenn Chalkley, one of the senior deacons, as a second father. In his last years Glenn experienced several serious health problems. On the morning that he died, Lee called me, knowing that Glenn and I were friends, to ask me to accompany him to his house to search for funeral arrangements.
In looking through the home, I found Glenn’s will, which I handed to Lee. He opened the will, which stated that everything was to be left to the church. After reading the will, Lee offered a prayer and turned to me, and asked if I would administer the estate, as the designated executor had predeceased Glenn.
Lee said he thought it would be best to have someone not a member of the church to undertake the task. I agreed, thus beginning a two-year responsibility that entailed each month attending the church business meeting to report on how the work was progressing. For me, the process was a learning experience, but most importantly, it provided me the opportunity to witness firsthand what a remarkable Christian gentleman Lee Scripture was. He was genuine in everything he said and did. All of that was over 30 years ago, and in the period that has followed, my admiration of Lee has continued to grow.
The church decided to make Glenn’s home overlooking the Great Wicomico River the parsonage, and there Lee and his wife Sandra and their children, until they grew up, have lived. The water was important to Lee. He enjoyed observing aquatic life and partaking of its bounty.
When not pastoring his church, Lee worked for many years as the postmaster of Morattico. During that time, he became a great friend of the Morattico Waterfront Museum. When visitors came and found the museum closed, he would arrange to open it for them. He enjoyed building community at all levels, but particularly with regard to young people.
He wrote a sports column for the Northumberland Echo each week, documenting the achievements of local athletes. He dutifully attended hundreds of games and matches over the years and was the greatest, and at times loudest, cheerleader the students had. He could remember student accomplishments from years past as if they were from the same afternoon, and he wrote about them with tremendous enthusiasm.
Initially, he served as an appointed member of the Northumberland County School Board, and after the process became electoral, he ran for his seat in the quadrennial elections. His sense of humor was profound. On election day, he stood at the polls holding a sign that read, “Scripture for School Board. This sign designed, made and authorized by Lee G. Scripture, Jr.,” thereby keeping both the letter and the spirit of the law that required candidates’ authority on political signage.
On November 6th, Lee preached his last sermon at Wicomico Baptist Church. Two days later he died unexpectedly in the parsonage. He was a memorably good man who loved the Lord and sought to serve others as his mission in life. He was patient and kind, sincere and honest in all that he did, and that is how the community will remember him.
The Reverend Lee Goodwin Scripture Jr., April 2, 1935 – November 8, 2022. R.I.P.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and my special thanks to all those who have commented on “Excerpts” over the past year.