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Christine Burton Gregory “ She doesn’t put things off; She puts them over”. By: Lauren M., Sarah, and Lauren H. Biography.
By: Lauren M.,
Sarah, and Lauren H.
In her 60+ years as a member of First Baptist Church, Christine Gregory has continuously modeled her philosophy on life: “To know Christ is to serve.” She came to Danville from her native place of residence, South Carolina in 1948 to serve as First Baptist Church’s full-time director of religious education. She resigned the position in 1950 but continued to serve in her home church and around the world.
After graduating from Greenville High in 1938, she went on to continue her education at Winthrop University. Here she received her B.S. degree in public and religious education (1942). She also participated as President of the Baptist Student Union.
1982 - 1983
President, Baptist General Association of VA (first woman to
serve in that position since its founding in 1823)
One of only two women chosen to serve on a Peace
Committee, formed to help smooth differences within the Southern Baptist Conference
1985 - 1990
Executive Vice President of Baptist World Alliance
1957 - 1959
President, FBC Women’s Missionary Union
President, Virginia WMU
1975 - 1981
President, Southern Baptist Convention WMU
(the largest women’s organization in the world)
First Vice President, SBC (only woman ever to hold this office)
Mrs. Christine Gregory is now living in Danville, Virginia. She has three sons and is still and active member of First Baptist Church in Danville, Virginia. Although he husband in now only a strong a loving memory, he is still an inspiration to his beloved wife.
Lauren: What was your favorite tradition at Greenville High?
Mrs. Gregory: Oh honey…your asking me to go back a century…
Lauren: It could be like a football game , or your principal…
Mrs. Gregory: From my memory of Greenville High it was the complete openness between student and faculty. There was a good relationship…there was no fear factor in it, and because of that it made it easier for all students regardless…well there were no blacks…but it was just a good mixture of smarts and not smarts. Everybody just got along with everybody else. Oh, I loved the football games for sure, I just can’t say of any particular one.
Mrs. Gregory: Oh sure it did, because it gave me the basics, educationally, that I needed. You had to take certain things but others were taken for enjoyment. It gave me a really good basic education and when I went onto college I didn’t have any problems.
Lauren: Do you feel that your Greenville High education pushed you into the direction of public and religious education?
Mrs. Gregory: No, I think that evolved on a gradual basis. In college I was interested in the Religious Student Union, and was very active in that. Then I think just one step at a time after that, I became involved in whatever was open. In those days women were not chosen over men…I was bound by principle, not by activity. And it was later, once I was married with children, that I became interested in that (religion). Education has always been important to me…and that came from participation.
Mrs. Gregory: Well I believe all principals of the Christian faith. I respect all other forms of religion, I just choose Christianity, But I think there is a common factor in all of them. But like all other parts of my life it was a gradual process. If you did one thing, and you did it well, you moved on to the next thing. It was mostly just the chance for service…I’ve always been interesting in the kinds of things that involve people and as I became involved in projects, it just led to that general field.
Lauren: What was your reason for moving to Virginia from Greenville?
Mrs. Gregory: It was called a marriage! My husband came to Dane River, which was a big textile industry here in 1946, and then once he became established, he was an engineer. We married in ’48, and just never went anywhere else.
Mrs. Gregory: I don’t remember that at all! But as I said that was a long time ago…it must not have been that important.
Lauren: What kept you so involved in the GHS community?
Mrs. Gregory: Well I have always been a doer, I like being involved in things. My personality demanded it, I suppose.
Mrs. Gregory: Well it was a good educational institution. Of course at that time it was an all women’s college, and there were very strict rules in every direction, but once again it gave me an opportunity to exert leadership qualities. My father chose Economics as my major and I just chose English to go along with it. But basically, it just gave me the opportunity to become a leader and there was a good relationship between faculty and students.
Mrs. Gregory: Well back to the Gardening club, I still don’t remember it but Gardening has always been my strongest forte. I like getting out into the yard to so a little bit every day. I am an avid reader, I am a crossword puzzle addict. I have to have a half a dozen book by my side all the time.
Lauren: If there were any moment in your life that you could relive which would it be and why?
Mrs. Gregory: Good knight…the fact that I had been elected to post in my denomination, which is Baptist, I was the first women who became President of the General Convention in Virginia. I was the first women to become an officer in the Southern Baptist Convention. But of course it happened by a natural progression. It was unusual for a women to be elected because it was predominately men. When you have the training and inspiration it is not a difficult thing.
Mrs. Gregory: Yeah but they’ve all died out. Well after I came to Virginia, I just lost contact with some people. I’ve recognized people on occasion, in fact after they published that directory of the students, I would look back and find the names of students whom I had a really good relationship with. I was disappointed to find that more had died than I realized. I kept more in contact with college friends.
Mrs. Gregory: My husband by all means…he has been dead 16 years but, he was one of those people that thought, “You can do anything a man can do except make a child.” My husband believed you could do anything you wanted as long as you had a good support system. He was always supportive of whatever I was doing. We had very different lifestyles but they merged at a point where we supported each other. And then my sons came along and followed in his footsteps and are just as supportive.