‘Twick’ Morrison dies at 76|[02/08/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

Martha “Twick” Morrison, who died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, is being remembered for her Methodist ministry locally and across the world. She was 76.

Mrs. Morrison, a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church and a founder of Good Shepherd Community Center and its outreach programs, was a person whose faith defined her, said her pastor, the Rev. Geoffrey Joyner.

“Twick was a committed Christian first and foremost. She was able to live out her convictions here in Vicksburg and around the world,” he said.

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For at least 50 years, Mrs. Morrison, Kentucky-born daughter of a minister, served the church on local, regional and national levels, including her role as vice president of Women’s Division, the policy-making body for 1 million United Methodist Women. She was also Conference Lay Leader of the Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and was one of five United Methodist lay representatives on the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches. Working mission trips and organizational efforts took her around the world in addition to her work in Vicksburg.

“She was a selfless, tireless person — not only for her church, but also for her community,” said longtime friend Betty Bexley. “She was always interested in church work. She would go to other states and countries and come back to report to her local church. She was always grateful to her home church.”

Bexley, also a member of Crawford Street, remembers playing bridge and traveling with her friend, whom she met upon moving back to Vicksburg in the 1950s.

“She was a very dear friend. We’ve known each other since we were young marrieds,” she said. “Our families have been together not only socially, but through the church — even before we had children.”

The first part of her adult life was spent with her husband, Bob Morrison Jr., and rearing her two sons, Bob Morrison III and Cooper Morrison, her older son said.

“She was active in different things — particularly with us and our nurturing,” Bob Morrison III said.

Her younger son, Cooper Morrison, remembers his mother as a “God-centered person who lived out God’s love and grace and loved her family.”

“I could always count on her,” he said. “She was my spiritual foundation.”

After her sons were grown, Mrs. Morrison began doing what she felt she was called by God to do, ignoring international boundaries that stood in the way, Bob Morrison III said.

“She didn’t care about political boundaries. She cared about what was right,” he said.

It was Mrs. Morrison’s thoughtfulness and sensitivity to people around her that fellow Methodist Bob Walters remembers most. A member of Hawkins United Methodist Church, Walters said he has served on committees in the Methodist Conference with her since the 1970s as director of the General Board of Global Ministries, which administers the mission work of the United Methodist Church in more than 90 countries. In that position, she worked extensively in Latin America and headed projects for women and children, as well as dealing with health issues and evangelism. Other destinations were Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Walters said Mrs. Morrison was “led by strength of character, morality and conviction.”

“She was motivated by the kind of love that Christ puts in us. She kept in mind all of the folks she was working with, working for and representing. That’s a tough thing for people to do,” he said. “When she worked on a project, she kept in mind the goal, while meeting people’s needs along the way so they’d feel a part of it.”

Good Shepherd Community Center was started in 1986 in an abandoned Vicksburg school. Recognized by the first President Bush as a “national point of light,” it offers a day care, after-school tutoring, a free medical clinic and two GED programs. The Rev. Tommy Miller, director of the center for 10 years and a board member since its inception, said Mrs. Morrison and her husband have been instrumental in providing leadership at Good Shepherd.

“Her leadership and her spirit cannot be replaced. She was one of the most grateful and gracious people I’ve ever met,” he said. “She is a wonderful lady who will be greatly missed by many people.”

Walters said Mrs. Morrison had worked tirelessly to raise money and plan for the most recent of the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals along the floodwall. The mural recognizes Newit Vick, a Methodist preacher and Vicksburg’s founding father, and the contributions of Methodists here. It will be unveiled next week.

Bob Morrison III said his mother lived by the words — one line in particular — of The Lord’s Prayer.

“She had an epiphany about The Lord’s Prayer, where it says, ‘Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.’ She had a new understanding,” he said. “It’s not going through the motions. You have an affirmative obligation to do his will on Earth. That was sometimes controversial, but that’s how she felt led. And we were proud of her for that.”

Visitation will be tonight from 5 until 7 at Crawford Street. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday under the direction of Riles Funeral Home.