The Anglican Orthodox Church SM
founder: the most rev. james parker dees, a.b., b.d., d.d. • founded November 16, 1963
2228 Wilkesboro Hwy • P. O. Box 128 • Statesville, North Carolina 28687- 0128
Email: email@example.com Web: www.aocinternational.org
The Most Rev. Jerry L. Ogles — Presiding Bishop
Memorial Letter – Mrs. Betty Hoffman
6 May 2021 Anno Domini
Today marks the 4th anniversary of the passing into glory of our former life-long National Secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth (Betty) Hoffman. She was a friend to many, and a devoted sister to me. From the moment she joined our Church, she was totally devoted to its mission the Lord whom we served.
Betty was like a walking encyclopedia of the Church. As she had a memory of dates, events, and persons that surpassed all I have ever known.
Having been left without a husband at a young age, and three children to rear, the Church became the husband of Betty. She cared for it more than her own life. When I began writing devotions some 22 years ago, Betty read every word and would often call me at four or five in the morning with a question concerning some point I had made. She proved everything I wrote by the Bible itself. When I first met, Betty, it was during a heavy rain storm at half past midnight. I had driven all night long to get to the Convention of the Church. It was my first visit to Statesville. I was not even sure I had the right address for the apartment building where I was to be lodged. All lights were out in the building. Standing in the heavy rain outside the back door, I timidly knocked. In seconds, Betty was at the door. She wondered if I would like some snack or coffee. She was that kind of lady – always hospitable and considerate. When I went to my room to sleep, I discovered a thoughtful Bible verse on my pillow with a chocolate mint. That seems like a small thing, but I will never forget it.
Betty was a Prayer Book Christian when I first met her. She thought, as most Episcopalians did of that day, that the Prayer Book was all we needed as Christians. But after she began to read and study Holy Scripture, she discovered an abundance of beautiful mysteries of which she had not previously known. Her Bible was so full of hi-lites and underlines that it was difficult to find a verse that was not so hi-lited. She became, in a matter of a couple of years, a master Bible scholar. Her questions to me were searching and challenging.
Having been newly consecrated as bishop in the Church, Betty tactfully encouraged and advised me on matters dealing with the administration and missions of the Church. I never asked her a question concerning the history of the Church that she was not able to answer – even to the most minute detail.
Betty traveled around the world on missions of the Church, at first with Bishop Dees and his staff, and later with me. Betty always dressed neatly in a proper dress and low high-heeled shoes. Once we had to climb a terraced mountain in Baguio City, Philippines, to visit the grave of the late Bishop Masaway. The elephant grass was 10ft tall and we wandered through it on trails that wound in all directions. The grass prevented voices from being heard more than twenty feet away. We looked back and did not see Betty. We climbed onto a grave slap and looked down over the mountainside to see Betty trying to adjust her shoe. The high heel had come off and Betty was muttering, “Good grief!” That was about the most serious exclamation Betty ever made.
Betty seldom joked. But she never read one of my devotions that she did not like – at least that is what she always told me. Her compliments became so common that I told her that I could not write a devotion, no matter how clumsy, without her approval. A few days went by and I sent my devotion to Betty. She did not comment on it which was unusual. I was puzzled at her silence and finally asked, “Betty, how did you like my devotion?” Betty paused just a moment and said, “Well, frankly Bishop, I didn’t like it.” I was floored by that remark. Even if Betty did not like it , how bad must it have been. But then Betty started laughing and I knew she was getting back at me for jostling her about my devotions.
During Betty’s last illness, she was required to wear a large brace on her back and was prescribed strong pain medication. But even a week before her death, she was trying to figure a way to get on a plane and visit a member of our Church in Wisconsin. Betty had an indelible faith and an unconquerable spirit. She was kind to all, but never tolerated any whom she believed posed a threat to her Church or her Bible. We can all learn from this great lady.