Jim and Mavis Dow have been synonymous with Williamstown Baptist since 1968. Their daughter, Pam, married Denis Merrett, the church organist, in the old building in Cecil Street on 24th December 1966. Denis and Pam were youth leaders and Malcolm Dow succeeded them as youth leader as well as organist. He was secretary at one stage too, and since 1998 he and I have been pastors.
Mavis died on 20th January 2009, aged 88 years, and Jim on 23rd March 2010, aged 91 years. Jim had retired as church secretary in 1988 and they had enjoyed many trips through the Outback and around Australia. In 1990 they came out of retirement to live in the house we use for ministry and meating (Wolfgang Simson’s spelling of a meeting around food) now, “Beth Tephillah”. Friendships made at that time with our neighbours have grown and developed. Jim was the speaker at the monthly Sunday Singalong which began at Wintringham Hostel in January 1994 until his first cancer treatment in September 1998.
Mavis and Jim were hosts of the Afternoon Teas held at “Beth Tephillah”. They celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary there in 2002. In October 2008 they together cut the cake to celebrate the 140th Anniversary since the beginning of Williamstown Baptist Church.
A tribute at Jim’s funeral quoted a message from the Rev Alan Marr, Director of Ministries of the Baptist Union of Victoria,
Jim was one of a kind. His faithfulness to God and the church were exemplary. He stuck to his calling as a leader in the church in very difficult times with grace and perseverance. I loved yarning with him about a vast range of topics. He will be greatly missed. Well done good and faithful servant.
Alan had written to Jim, commenting warmly about Mavis, and her faith and life and gentle witness through the years. Together they contributed so much to the church family.
The church has decided that gifts in memory of Jim and Mavis Dow will be received in recognition of their love of the Outback and the Yapa people.. They will be forwarded to Global Interaction (formerly the Australian Baptist Missionary Society) whose cross-cultural workers with the Warlpiri people of the Tanami Desert were supported by them in prayer and with finance for years.