In the spring of 1968, Shirley Newman was received into Orange Presbyterian Church. She was the wife of William Newman. The couple had two children, Sharon, and Michael Callahan. Shirley worked in the UVA Hospital Pediatric Department, and had to commute to Charlottesville daily.
Shirley started teaching the 4-5-year-olds in our church school in 1972. She didn't just use the material provided by the church. She also drew from her own knowledge and imagination.
Shirley continued to participate in the church school, teaching Kindergarten through 5th grade. She taught a summer class with her daughter, Sharon, in 1980.
Shirley also became involved with the Women of the Church. She coordinated a Christmas program in 1980. The Men of the Church served breakfast at the event.
There was a puppet show by one of the classes, and a horn duet by two church members. The audience enjoyed carol singing, and a Christmas skit by another class. The Senior Highs sang the Twelve Days of Christmas.
A free-will offering was collected. The proceeds were split between CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program to end hunger) and the Christian Emergency Council (CEC).
In 1980, OPC organized Sessional Committees. Shirley was a member of Congregational Life. Their mission was to lift up the congregation and encourage fellowship through monthly social activities. Shirley served on the Session for many years.
Mission and Outreach
She was a member of the Mission and Outreach Committee and headed it up for some time. Shirley put her spin on the Christmas Bazaar and took it to new heights.
The money taken in was divided among different organizations. Habitat for Humanity, the CEC, Presbyterian Disaster Relief, and sometimes the Orange Presbyterian Weekday School Scholarship received funds.
In 2016, a handful of members formed the Memorial Garden Committee, eager to start such a garden. Shirley was a gentle guiding light as we worked to merge everyone’s ideas. We declared the garden “ A place to remember those in God’s care.”
Like mother, like daughter
Sharon Elizabeth Callahan joined OPC in 1973. Her brother, Michael Rodney Callahan joined OPC in 1977. Michael, would later become a member of the Christian Education Committee.
Sharon attended the Synod of Virginias Youth Missions Convention in 1978. There was worship time, bible study, visits with missionaries, and group singing.
Sharon has followed in her mother’s footsteps. She taught the Senior High church class in 1982. The next year she led a small group and art workshop at Hanover Presbytery’s Spring Fling.
Serving the church
Sharon was selected as a Deacon in 1983 and served on the Finance committee. She was Chairman of one of the Women of the Church Night Circles in 1984.
Sharon served on the Pastor nominating Committee. Like her mother, Sharon continued to teach the 3-4-year-olds in church school. She also worked with the Young People's Fellowship.
Sharon also helped coordinate the CROP walks. She is presently President of the Orange Presbyterian Weekday School.
Pretty sure I am missing something to share with you, but you get the point. We are thankful this family are members of our church.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team