Sadie Robinson reflects on 50 years working at Sisk Memorial Baptist Church

FORT MILL -- Few people spend 50 years with the same employer anymore. But Sadie Robinson has.

She performed nearly every job there was for Sisk Memorial Baptist Church over the last half century except pastor, though she worked for every one of them from founder J.T. Sisk to current pastor Larry Harrison. And she'd still be there if she could.

"I grieved a little bit when I had to quit," Robinson said. "When the Lord gives you something to do, you get up every day and go do it."

"She was a fixture here, everyone loved to hear her voice," Harrison said.

Over the years, Robinson watched Sisk, originally called Second Baptist, grow from 12 charter members to nearly 2,000 members. Early on, she became a trusted confidante of many of the church members who called needing someone to listen to their problems. Just having someone to vent to helped a lot of the members, she said.

"They just felt that I'd been there a while, and I was interested and I loved them. They just opened up to me," Robinson said.

"You just shut your mouth and listen. The secret is keeping it to yourself."

Her health forced Robinson, now 80, to retire in January. Otherwise, she'd probably still be answering the phone at Sisk every day, and providing a shoulder to cry on when needed.

"It's a great business to be in," she said. "It's a lot of stress, but it's very rewarding."

The congregation at Sisk surprised Robinson with a big retirement bash on May 18. Robinson almost didn't go, but her sister Betty Sutton dragged her to church.

"That was one of the biggest surprises of my life," Robinson said. "It was surprising because I hadn't done anything to merit that attention."

"How many people do you know that worked at the same place for 50 years?" Sutton said, trying to convince her sister she did deserve the recognition. "I can't think of any."

Always modest, Robinson prefers to work in the background, away from any spotlight.

"I don't like attention. I'd rather be bragging on someone else," Robinson said. "It doesn't matter who gets the credit, just as long as the job gets done."

Robinson lives by a simple code -- live as close to the Lord as possible, and be truthful and honest.

Her advice to the people who have taken over the jobs she's held over the years is to "love the people."