James Farris, 2004 Disciples Men Layman of the Year

Sunday, January 23, 2005, was a special day for the congregation at First Christian Church in Marietta.  Not only was it a day to come and worship the Lord, it was a day for a special presentation to a member of the congregation.  The Georgia Region, Disciples Men Commission was there to present the 2004 Layman of the Year award.  The recipient Mr. James B Farris.

Jim, as he is known, was born August 30, 1917, and raised in Lexington, KY.  He attended school in Lexington and then the University of Kentucky.  Jim and his wife, Anita have been married almost sixty years and have five children, Jim, John, Jean, Joe and Judy.  Obviously The letter “J” is popular with them.  They have nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren, and a retired Bloodhound named “Pickles.”

Jim was raised in the First Christian Church in Lexington, and later was a charter member of Anderson Hills Christina Church in Ohio.  In 1964 Jim and his family moved to Macon, GA, and became members of Woodland Hills Christian Church.  In 1967 they relocated to Marietta and joined the First Christian Church of Marietta.  Jim has held the offices you would expect, Elder, Deacon, chairman of committees, and Sunday School Teacher.

Although Jim had a couple of jobs early in life, his career was mostly in the railroad industry.  He was employed by Southern Railway and retired after forty five years.  He began in the bridge department but soon transferred to the engineering department.  Jim was one of the forerunners in the study of Geotechnical Engineering in relation to railroad construction.  He is still active in American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association, AREMA for short.

Jim has also been active outside his congregation.  He served several years on the CMF Commission, including one term as Vice President.  He was instrumental in the construction of the caretakers house at Camp Christian.  Jim was one of the founders and co-owner of the “Dipsy Doodle Construction Company.” The other owner Smutt Merritt was also a recipient of the Laymen of the Year Award.  The two of them performed a lot of work together for their congregation and at Camp Christian.  Jim is also a regular attendee at Men’s Retreats and other regional and general church activities.

I think the nomination form for Jim says it best, “Jim is a quiet reserved gentle man with deep convictions.  He is loving and tolerant of others, supportive and nurturing.  He is loyal to his church and seeks to live the Christian life in his daily activities.  Jim has had a long life of dedicated service to the Disciples of Christ, and has given of himself unstintingly.”

Jim admits to slowing down a little lately, but believe me, he is far from inactive.

The Georgia Region Disciples Men are proud to honor Mr. James B. Farris as the 2004 Layman of the Year.  We pray that Jim will provide leadership to the congregation of First Christian Marietta, and to the men of this region for many years to come.

Enjoy the photos of the event.