Carolyn is the founding pastor of Mosaic and has been serving this ministry since 2003. She is absolutely in love with the people of Mosaic (and she’s pretty sure they like her, too). The challenge of building an authentic missional community is the thing that gets Carolyn up every day.
Gerilyn: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Carolyn: When I was thirteen years old, I sensed a very mystical call from God to preach. I was standing in a pulpit at the time at a youth service delivering a little youth service devotional, and I heard the call of God. “This is where you belong.” So, that’s where it started for me. I wandered through the desert after high school, so it took about ten years after high school for me to come back around to that call. But, when I pulled my life together and really begin to think about who I was in Christ, then the call to service began. I had another mystical experience of hearing the voice of the Lord saying, “I’m just waiting for you to say, ‘yes.’ ” When I heard that, I knew exactly what He was talking about. It was as if for Him there was no space between “this is where you belong” and that moment at 28. So, I said “yes” to the call. I was married. I’d been married for five years at that point. I brought a husband and a child into the equation, and they were happy to come.
Gerilyn: What is your favorite restaurant in Evans, and what do you love there?
Carolyn: I have had the hardest time answering this question. Can I name more than one? I love local restaurants. I love Goolsby’s for their vegetables. I love Pho Bac for their soup. I love Taj for their Indian food. I am a huge Indian food fan. I love Fuji Asian for their tofu and vegetables. There’s just so many great local restaurants. I love That Flippin Egg for their breakfast. I try to never eat at chains because I love local food, and I love Augusta. I love Columbia County’s local food.
Gerilyn: How long have you lived or worked in Evans?
Carolyn: I have to say, just as a way of introduction to that question, that this is my third trip back to Augusta. I was born and raised in Richmond County and came back here for six years after I got married. I always assumed that I was a Richmond County girl and that I would never live in Columbia County. In fact, I had a conversation with God about that. “I’ll go anywhere; just don’t send me to Columbia County.” So, I got sent fifteen years ago into Evans, Georgia, to start a church, and I have to say that I absolutely love the community. I feel at home in Columbia County. Because we started as a bedroom community for the Augusta area, I think a struggle we have is community. But, I love Evans Towne Center Park. I think that every day we’re finding ways to build community into the Evans area. What I like is that the traffic is never terrible like in the bigger cities. I like the local restaurants. We do a thing around here because we’re a part of the United Methodist Church, so our satellite office is Panera and Starbucks. We talk about “Panera UMC” and “Starbucks UMC.” I like that I go into those places and find people I know. There’s a lot of neighborhood feel even though we’re a suburban community. Rooted is a great new coffee shop. I can’t walk in there without finding somebody I know. So, fifteen years. There’s the answer to your question.
Gerilyn: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Evans? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Evans, Georgia?
Carolyn: The “face” for me is an old face. I don’t mean an old person, but he’s been around Evans his whole life. When I first moved here, Barry Pascal was the editor of the Columbia County News Times. Now, he works for Goodwill. Back then, he really was the face of Evans, Georgia, and the face of Columbia County. He knew so much history because he was born and raised here. He knew almost everyone because he had done the news business so much. I still think that if I was going to go find somebody who could tell me something about Columbia County I didn’t already know, Barry would be my guy. He’s such a community advocate. I really like him a lot. So, he’s who I equate with Columbia County, and he’s who I would nominate for the Faces of Evans, Georgia.
Gerilyn: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
Carolyn: I want to go to England. It’s crazy, but I’ve been to Japan, and I’ve been to India. I just want to go to England. I want to go to London and experience all the things that very cool metro area has and stand on the place where John Wesley stood. I want to follow the history of Anglicanism. Those are things that interest me, so that’s where I want to go.
Gerilyn: What is your favorite movie, or what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
Carolyn: The first movie I remember seeing in a theatre is “Gone With the Wind” at National Hills Theatre, which was on Washington Road at the time. I also remember seeing “The Towering Inferno” and “Jaws” at the Imperial Theatre. Both of those were memorable experiences. “Gone With the Wind” is just a classic and timeless movie, and I’ll never get tired of watching it. I’m also a fan of another classic that maybe not everyone has seen. I love “Fiddler on the Roof.” I love all of the theology behind it. I love what “Fiddler on the Roof” teaches us about spiritual culture. When the person in front of me is challenging the traditions, I’m forced to reevaluate what I believe. There is a place where he draws a line and says, “No, my beliefs can’t go that far.” This teaches me a lot about convictions and values and also love and tolerance for family and hanging with each other even when you disagree with each other. In my heart I sing all the time, “If I were a wealthy man, would it spoil some grand plan?”
Gerilyn: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Carolyn: Figure out who you are. Because I’m a Christian, I think that the whole sentence is “who you are in Christ” because Christ is the One who designed us. He is the eternal “Yes.” He was there with the Father speaking creation into existence, and He was there at your conception speaking you into existence. So, when you know who the eternal “Yes” says you are, you’re able to approach life from a “yes” perspective – from a place of “I’m here on purpose, I serve an important purpose in the world, and life is good and rich and to be celebrated.” So, I’d tell them, “Know who you are in Christ.”
Gerilyn: What is something on your bucket list?
Carolyn: I want to be in a place that’s so much bigger and so much more vast than me that it takes my breath away. That happened when I was at the Grand Canyon. I looked out over the Grand Canyon and the visual of that, and my eyes kept taking in something so much bigger than me. Now, I would like to be out in the middle of the ocean where there’s no land in sight – not just the lands over the horizon – but land so far away you’d have to go hundreds of miles to get there. I want to be out in the middle of the ocean to experience what it’s like to be in the middle of something so much bigger than me. I want to be out in the middle of a desert to experience something so much bigger than me. I think I’d like to be in space to be in the middle of something so much bigger than me. Those liminal experiences when your worldview gets shattered and then you have to rebuild it are so important to character development.
Gerilyn: What is your favorite music or three bands you would like to see whether dead or alive?
Carolyn: I’m a big jazz fan. I’m also a child of the 70s and 80s, and we’re still listening to that music because it was so good. One of the Christian bands that I like is David Crowder. He’s an awesome Christian Artist. I have seen him, but I’d like to see him again. Also, James Taylor. He’s one of my all-time favorites. K.D. Lang. Another all-time favorite. I like those artists that tell stories in their music. Ry Cooder, Rend Collective, and Tracy Chapman. There was an old band in the 80s called the Travelling Wilburys, and they were some of the best artists out there. Great music. James Taylor would be at the top.
Gerilyn: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Evans?
Carolyn: When I was a little girl out here, Washington Road was a two-lane road by the time you got to Evans, and it eventually turned into a dirt road. (Now, I say “out here,” but for a person who’s just moving into town, “out here” is like the center of the universe. For us, it was the edge of the world.) So, for us to go from National Hills to the Martinez Post Office was to go out of town. It was like a day trip for us. My dad had an account at the Martinez Pharmacy, and we loved going with him because the pharmacist would give us a Coke and some candy. That was at the West Town Shopping Center. Neither building is there anymore, but it was right there where the West Town Shopping Center was. That’s the place that makes me feel nostalgic. Mullins Crossing is where the Mullins family used to live, and I remember going with my dad to visit Dr. Mullins and his family. I can see that as rural land before it ever got developed.
Gerilyn: With whom would you love to have lunch and why? Where in Evans would you go?
Carolyn: John Wesley. I want to have lunch with John Wesley, and I don’t care where we eat. I think I would take him to the Sunrise Grill. I’d want to take him some place where he can get good, simple food.
Gerilyn: Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
Carolyn: I want to be right here. I want to be serving this community. I don’t know if I’ll be the lead pastor of this church, but I want to be involved with this church and certainly involved with the Mosaic Center. I want to be writing and continuing to pour into the next generation.
Gerilyn: Even for friends or family, what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Carolyn: I don’t know what my friends and family don’t know because I’m such a transparent person. I speak publicly and run out of other stories. I’ve told all my stories. So, I don’t know that there’s anything my friends and family don’t know about me. I think a more recent friend might not realize that Steve and I lived in Japan for a year and had a really glorious time with that experience. I would say that my friends and family may not fully understand how much I treasure my daughter. While I’m so passionate about my work and Jesus, the thing that matters most to me is my girl.
Gerilyn: What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home?”
Carolyn: Safe, comfortable, and fun.