Marian grew up in Roodhouse, Illinois, a town not too far from the state capital. Her family had deep roots in that community, roots that led all the way back to Marian’s great-grandfather who founded the Roodhouse Christian Church. During her childhood, Marian and her family were very active in the church, no doubt in part due to her family’s long-standing history there.
Recalling her early childhood, Marian spoke of her mother’s role as the organist and Sunday school teacher. “I practically grew up in the front pew of that church,” she said. “That way my mother could keep an eye on me even while she was playing the organ.”
It wasn’t until after her high school graduation that Marian began thinking about pursuing ministry. Her minister encouraged her to consider how difficult it would be for a woman in the clergy at that time. She decided to put that thought on hold and attend college. While there, she took many science and religion courses. One of her science professors was also an elder in the Central Christian Church, Jacksonville, Illinois, the church where much of Marian’s spiritual growth would take place. He taught his students that there was really no conflict between science and religion.
Several years later, following college graduation and her wedding, Marian found herself at an interesting crossroads, wondering just what she should do with her future. It was then she felt God calling her to teach. Without a moment’s hesitation, Marian began her long career in education, a career that continues today with her work at Primrose and at her church. When asked about her faithful and immediate obedience, Marian simply stated that she was only doing what was asked of her, a course of life she plans to continue until the end. “I’ve been rewarded with a full and satisfying life,” she said.
When she was in her early 70s, a woman minister became the pastor at the church. It was she who encouraged Marian to pursue a commissioned ministry. Marian, having served as both an elder and a deacon in her church, began her studies, but when she was in her late 70s, she made the move across the state line to Kansas City to be nearer to her children. Her studies were placed on the hold for a time as Marian was informed that, in order to complete the coursework, she would have to travel to Jefferson City, which presented quite a hurdle.
Recently, the urge to complete the program was renewed. Marian saw a need at Primrose, a need she felt God was calling her to satisfy. During the month of May, many years after her lay minister journey began, Marian McDaniel received her commission.
A commissioned minister is not the same as an ordained minister. A commissioned minister can perform weddings and preside over funerals, lead worship services and give sermons, all the things an ordained minister can do. However, she must renew her commission each year in December, and she is charged with serving a specific location. In this case, it’s two separate locations: her church home, Park Hill Christian Church, and Primrose Retirement Community.
Marian’s vision for Primrose is simple and direct: serve her neighbors by being available to them in a spiritual way. She’s organizing and planning Sunday services and communion services in addition to continuing to lead the weekly bible study. Should anyone within the community wish for guidance or aid during times of sorrow, illness, or death, Marian will be at their call. “I hope this will answer the needs expressed to me by my neighbors here at Primrose,” Marian said. “I’d like to see fellow residents become involved so we can work together to the benefit of our community, our home. We are all called to use our abilities to serve God and serve each other with humble hearts, and that’s what I hope will come of this new chapter in not only my life but also the life of the community.”
While she has already received her commission, a formal ceremony was held at her church, Park Hill Christian, on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at the 9:00 service. On the third Sunday in May at 4:00 p.m., she will lead a service in the new Primrose chapel to dedicate it to the good works of the Lord. In the months to come, Primrose residents can expect Sunday afternoon services on the first and third Sundays of the month. All residents will be welcome to join as Marian’s commission is ecumenical. Before all of that, she will perform one of her first acts as a lay minister: presiding over the wedding of Jennifer Good and Al Caniglia on Saturday, May 3, 2014.
A person can take many lessons away from Marian’s story: follow your dreams, open your heart to where the Lord is taking you, and you’re never too old to reach your goals.
by Abigail Lancaster
Life Enrichment Coordinator
To find out more about the retirement living experience at Primrose, please contact your nearest Primrose Retirement Community today to see more of our fun and social living. We’ll happily answer all your questions and show you around our beautiful communities. Come see why we say, THIS IS LIVING!