Members of Trinity United Methodist Church, Lexington, celebrated the 100th birthday of Mrs. Dorothy “Dot” Ravenhorst on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Trinity’s United Methodist Women’s (UMW) group gathered together notes and cards of appreciation to present to her. During Sunday worship Helen Hopkins, one of the leaders of Trinity’s UMW, spoke about Dot’s ministries over the years.
Here are her remarks: (written by Helen Hopkins, Julia Arndt and Anne Grimmer)
Tomorrow [Monday, July 26] is Dot Ravenhorst’s 100th birthday. What a remarkable life she has had and what a remarkable and wonderful woman she is. It is an honor to be able to speak about Dot. Anne Grimmer and Julia Arndt were unable to be here today to speak. I thank them for graciously providing me with their heartfelt words.
Henry and Dot (she always called him Hank) met while he was in the service during World War II. Dot later joined the Waves and served as a Navy gunnery instructor. Henry was in the Army. They were married in 1945, and came to Lexington in mid 1946 . They lived in prefab housing owned by Washington and Lee located by Davidson Park where several fraternity houses are now. It was from this home that Dot entertained her circle and began her service to Trinity and beyond. Meanwhile, she also raised their five children, even making most of their clothing and her own.
Dot has been involved in the Methodist Church and Methodist women for a very long time. She has served at the local, district, state, national and international levels. She found her niche in the WSCS (Women’s Society of Christian Service) which focused on missions. It became United Methodist Women in 1973. She served as President of the Trinity unit and as Virginia Conference President. Dot taught mission studies in Schools of Christian Mission in Virginia and several other conferences. She also led studies in local and district churches.
Dot was a member of the General Board of Global Ministries. In that position, she traveled the world observing and reporting on missions and missionaries. She was elected to attend several General Conferences and was the first woman to lead the Virginia Delegation to General Conference.
Our local circles and district have been blessed by Dot’s reports of her personal interactions with many, many people throughout the US and around the world. In 1965, Virginia’s WSCS adopted the Charter for Racial Justice in the midst of the civil rights movement. Dot urged for its adoption. From 1988-1992, Dot served as a director of UMW’s national policymaking body, representing the organization in the anti-apartheid South African divestment work through the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility.
At the Virginia Annual Conference in June 1984, Jim Grimmer, Anne’s husband, was appointed to serve Trinity. The Grimmers were thrilled by the appointment. At that Annual Conference, Dot gave her report as President of the Conference UMW. Anne reports that the speech and report Dot gave was refreshingly brief, informative and inspiring. Anne writes, “I was in awe of her ability to speak with such love and devotion for this arm of the Church. This was my introduction to Dot and through the years my love and admiration for this lady increases daily.” During those 8 years the Ravenhorsts served Trinity in several different positions. Anne relates that they were always supportive and helpful to Jim giving advice when asked and always had “Jim’s back.” This sometimes is not the case in different congregations. Jim had great respect for the Ravenhorsts and often when problems arose, he would seek their counsel.
Dot’s heart was never far from home and Trinity. Until a few years ago, Dot entertained Trinity women at her home at Christmastime for 65 straight years. We sang carols to her accompaniment on the piano and were treated to intricately homemade cookies and special hot spiced tea. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.
Dot has such a gentle and quiet demeanor. She is very insightful and is a guiding light and a wonderful Christian. She has always been so well respected and appreciated. Dot is truly a celebrity. I have attended several UMW meetings and events with Dot and so many people greet her and are so pleased to see her. I want to share one last example. In 1995, Julia and Fred Arndt were serving New Hope UMC. The district provided resource people for their mission study. They drew Dot. Their lay leader, a no-nonsense guy not easily impressed, was asked to be her host. Returning from taking her to her car, he said, “Wow! Boy, she is quite a lady!”
We couldn’t agree more!!! We love you, Dot. Happy Birthday and God bless you.