The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Fixture of faith

Longtime religion columnist Judy Brandon retiring after nearly 40 years

 

October 24, 2018

Jamie Cushman

Judy Brandon, at a podium where her father used to preach, has written about her Christian faith since high school.

CLOVIS — A fixture of the Clovis newspaper's faith pages for nearly 40 years has decided to retire her pen.

Judy Brandon, who has lived in Clovis since her father became pastor at Central Baptist Church in the mid-1950s, said she always loved to write. She got her start writing faith columns for the Clovis High School newspaper when she was a student there.

An opportune phone call to The Clovis News Journal office in 1979 got Brandon her start writing a column for the city newspaper, which until this past month was a regular feature.

"I just thought 'I think I should call the editor' and to my surprise he said, 'We had been looking for someone to do that,'" Brandon said.

Since then, almost every week, Brandon has related her life to various passages from the Bible, with Matthew 6:33 as her "life verse."

"I liked finding everyday stories, things that particularly happen to me, and relate them to something in Scripture," Brandon said. "To me when you attach it with the Scripture, it makes the Scripture more meaningful if you have the life example."

She said at times it could be difficult to find something to write about every week, until she would pass a hitchhiker and give them a ride or some other story idea would fall into her lap.

"It seems like the Lord always provided something," Brandon said.

Brandon said the biggest challenge was making sure her columns were accurately reflecting the Bible passages she drew from and "just to keep it fresh and new and interesting."

Wayland Baptist University Executive Director Gary Mitchell said he first met Brandon in junior high school, worked with her during her eight years teaching at Wayland and even edited her columns when he worked at the Clovis newspaper.

"She cares deeply about people and she's a great storyteller as her columns reflect," Mitchell said. "It's personal and it communicates well. She's very descriptive and she paints a picture with her words. She does a great job telling a story and connecting the story to a biblical idea, concept or principle."

Brandon said a big reason why she wrote her column was to leave behind something for her children and grandchildren to draw from years down the line.

"My faith has always been the biggest thing in my life since I was a little girl and I just feel like in a world where there's so much going on, it's good to remember the things Jesus said and the directions he pointed us," Brandon said. "In my opinion he's the only source of hope for the world today."

Brandon hopes another member of the community will fill her shoes and be drawn to share their Christian perspective with the community.

"There may be somebody else out there the Lord is preparing to write," Brandon said. "Anybody that thinks they want to write, just start writing. You never know when it could be used and benefit somebody."

Brandon, who was never paid for writing her newspaper columns, said she's retiring because of time constraints. Several family members have suffered illnesses in recent months and she said she wants to spend more time with them.

Brandon said she will miss writing, especially hearing from readers who were inspired by her words.

"We lost our son and I wrote about that," Brandon said. "People I've talked to have said 'I lost a child and (the columns) gave me hope.'

"And that's the most rewarding of all," Brandon said.

 

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