Georgia Sprinkle--Funding Visionary
Born to loving parents, George and Margie (Nunn) of West Virginia, Georgia M. Sprinkle was one of four children. She had three brothers, James Oliver, Lou and Wilson. She spent summers in the country with her aunt. As a child she had an extended stay in the hospital after a tonsillectomy and recalled how difficult it was to watch other children playing outside the window.
Georgia’s family was active in the Methodist Church. She had always desired a dramatic conversion like Paul, but in stead her faith development was a gradual longing to give her life to Christ. Georgia was a good student, passing tests in West VA history to become one of the “Knights of the Golden Horseshoe” with the Governor laying a sword on her shoulder. She enjoyed croquet near the apple trees, sleigh riding and chicken gravy. While not a fan of algebra, she thrived as a student, participated on the debate team and went to Youth conferences at Emory, Henry College and Lake Junaluska. Georgia taught the children in Sunday School, while her mother taught adults.
After earning a 2 year certificate from the Concord State Teachers College, taught 3rd grade for $900 a year. After 5 years of teaching. She discerned a call to ministry and took a position as Youth Director at the Bland Street Methodist Church, and then later at First Methodist in Huntington. She directed camps, attended large youth conferences and did special studies at SMU and Emory. She was commissioned as a Diaconal Minister by the Bishop of the Methodist Church in Charleston, and helped craft legislation to recognize those committed to the full time ministry of Christian education.
In her 20’s, much to the pride of her mother, Georgia finished her Bachelors degree from Marshall College. The two of them remained very close. She referred to her mother as “nurturer, teacher, model, encourager and friend,” and cel ebrated the sacred gift of being with her when she died.
Georgia was at the center of the golden age of Christian education. In 1951, Georgia moved to Akron, OH and served on the Conference staff as the Director of Adult Education, one of the first in Methodist Church. She earned a Master’s of Religious Education from Boston University School of Theology, lectured at Oberlin College, wrote articles for Methodist publications. She loved working on the Conference ministry team, especially with Dr. Cox. She thrived in her work of growing healthy churches in kingdom work.
In 1965, Georgia began teaching at Methodist affiliated Mt. Union College in the Education and Psychology Department. She taught both public school teachers and religious educators, developing programs for both school and the church. Georgia continued her own education at the University of Miami. She served as a delegate to the World Methodist Conference in Ireland, and traveled widely to Tahiti, Fiji, American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. For an entire year she taught at the Union Seminary in the Philippines She earned a final graduate degree as Education Specialist from Kent State University.
While Georgia retired in 1986, a new chapter in her ministry began. She decided to move south to be close to her great nephew, Jim Capelleri and his family. After meeting Helen Wolff at the Wellspring Retreat Center, Georgia accepted her invitation and located herself in Greensboro. At West Market Street UM Church, she was instrumental in leading Stephen Ministry. Georgia continued her adventurous travels to Alaska, Greece, Nova Scotia and South Africa. She served as a volunteer with Greensboro Urban Ministry. In her final years of the active life, she served as a volunteer chaplain at Moses Cone hospital. With great devotion to the church, and an ever deepening spirituality, Georgia’s last decade was spent in contemplative gratitude for her rich life of ministry and adventure.
As a last act of devotion, and a gift for spiritual pilgrims, Georgia Sprinkle left her estate as seed money for a retreat center. Threshold will be a space for developing the spiritual life by reconnecting with the land, silence and contemplation.