From a press release:
Mary Gaffney Knuckles’ commitment and 35 years of steadfast service to the Thickety Mountain Baptist Women’s Educational and Missionary Convention will be recognized and memorialized during a dedication ceremony.
The event is scheduled for the Thickety Mountain Associational Building, Old Post Road, Gaffney, SC on Saturday August 17 at 4:00 p.m. Association Moderator Tony Macomson has announced that the auditorium will be named the Mary Gaffney Knuckles Auditorium. Her portrait will hang in the auditorium and a commemorative plaque bearing her name and legacy information will be posted near the entrance. The dedication sermon will be delivered by her pastor, Rev. Lee Byers Jr., of Shady Grove Baptist Church.
The naming of the Mary Gaffney Knuckles Auditorium recognizes her leadership and faithfulness to the Thickety Mountain Women’s Convention, along with her humility, strength, and character. Mary Gaffney Knuckles became the Missionary Convention’s fifth president in 1973, carrying the torch and serving 25 years with zeal and determination until 1998. She was named President Emeritus in 2001.
Her work began (circa 1963) under the tutelage of then President Geneva Jolly who inspired her and many to discharge the Convention’s great purpose and assignment. She served as a ‘Mission Field Worker’ commissioned to witness among the people and church memberships in the associational field. Her task was to tell and encourage the people to work in the Women’s Convention missionary vineyard, promote public and religious education, and Spread the Good News of the Gospel. She also served as the Convention’s treasurer in 1971 and was appointed Supervisor of the Young Women’s Auxiliary in that same year. She financed and erected a sign identifying the Thickety Mountain Missionary Baptist Associational building and its officers when located on Highway #29/Granard Street circa 1975. She implemented the Women’s Convention Missionary Workshop circa 1977 that was held annually, bringing in area and state missionary leaders to teach and provide information. Circa 1973, she organized the Women’s Missionary Convention Choir that sang for the Women’s Convention sessions during Baptist Week each year.
Always striving to improve and move forward, circa 1980 she organized the Ministers Wives Auxiliary and brought them into the convention circle. The group continues to present a forum or skit during the annual sessions, providing instruction to new ministers’ wives and others about the work of kingdom building. In addition, she purchased a brass trophy for an attendance incentive to reward and create a friendly competition between churches. The ‘Attendance Cup’ was awarded to the church having the most persons present at the quarterly Fifth Sunday Missionary Meeting through the years 1980 – 2011. Praise God for the tremendous increase and time of learning, fellowship, and soul-winning.
In 1986, Mary Gaffney Knuckles was recognized by Morris College President, Dr. Luns C. Richardson, for her outstanding leadership on the mission field, support of Christian education, and Morris College. She was awarded the Presidential Citation during the college’s Commencement and Convocation on May 11, 1986.
Under the direction of The Holy Spirit and by faith, President Mary Gaffney Knuckles forged, persevered, and labored with dedicated missionary ladies of the Thickety Mountain Baptist Women’s Missionary Convention to continue the visionary work of their founders and early leaders. Struggling to keep the Women’s Convention alive during dark and difficult times, she held meetings during the winter months using gas space heaters and kerosene lanterns provided by Rev. Knuckles to keep warm.
Never giving up, God enabled her to hold the torch high and sustain and promote the goals of the Women’s Missionary Convention – -Christian and public education, witnessing to the lost, and spreading the Gospel.
To God be the glory for her wonderful helpmate who provided abiding and unfailing support, Rev. London C. Knuckles.
According to Moderator Tony Macomson, as building renovations are completed, naming and dedication services for Dr. J. W. Sanders, Dr. U.D. Vernon, and others who gave many, many years of committed and unshakable service to the Thickety Mountain Baptist Association and its Auxiliaries will be held.