Martha Godwin has been playing the organ and piano at the Macedonia United Methodist Church in Southmont, North Carolina, since she was 13 years old. Seventy-three years later, she's been recognized by Guinness World Records as the person who has had the longest career as a church pianist or organist.
It was 1940 when she first played for the Sunday service, according to the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC. She remembers it well:
I was scared to death. I played Wonderful Words of Life and it has a first and second ending. I played both and began to play through again because it didn’t sound right. We stopped and then started over. It was the most I have ever been embarrassed.
Pastor Randy Blanton of the Macedonia UMC told The Huffington Post in an email:
I have been serving with Martha for three years and she is a dear "saint." She is such a modest and humble person. Martha is somewhat embarrassed by all the attention, and when someone says, "You deserve it," she responds with a gentle laugh followed by a sheepish, "It's one way I can give back to the Lord because he's sure been good to me."
How does one sustain such a long-term career? According to Godwin, who is 87, "I just grew old doing what I like to do. The Lord has been good to me and it’s one way I can praise Him.”
Macedonia UMC will be celebrating her service and achievement with a worship service on May 18, 2014.