The author of four books that are widely used among women in the church, “[Emalyn] embodied graciousness with a love that just reached out and enfolded whoever was near,” said Susan Hunt, former Director of Women’s Ministry for the PCA.
Emalyn Henderson was born in Albany, Georgia, on April 30, 1920, and moved to Birmingham, Alabama, with her parents and brother in 1932. She attended the University of Alabama and served in the American Red Cross during World War II. She was active in several local societies and held leadership positions in a number of them. Emalyn was a member of the Alabama Society of Mayflower Descendants, Daughters of the American Revolution, the National League of American Pen Women, and the National Society of Arts and Letters.
She married John E. Spencer, Sr. in 1948 and they enjoyed 64 years of marriage before his death in 2012. She is survived by three children and four grandchildren.
For many years, John and Emalyn were active members of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, where John served as a ruling elder. The Spencers’ home was frequently open to friends, guests and visiting missionaries.
Dr. Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois, and former Chancellor of Covenant Seminary, recalled traveling with the couple to remote parts of the world. He described their mutual witness of the gospel as both sweet and powerful and remembered them as tremendous encouragers to everyone who travelled with them.
Dr. Frank Barker, Jr., Pastor Emeritus at Briarwood recalls Emalyn Spencer as being very versatile, friendly, and warm.
“She just was a wonderful lady who was constantly just doing everything she could to help people, and everybody loved her,” he said.
Spencer served for many years as chair of the Women in the Church (WIC) ministry in Evangel Presbytery and was a member of the Women’s Advisory Sub-Committee (WASC). She also served on the PCA’s 25th Anniversary Celebration committee.
Hunt got to know Spencer on WASC with Emalyn Spencer and serving alongside her and other godly women in the church.
“I was so blessed by her love for the Lord and his church. She was such a woman of prayer,”said Hunt, who authored Spiritual Mothering, among many other books.
Spencer’s first book, originally titled A Woman That Feareth the Lord, based on Proverbs 31, was published in 1976. It has since been released in multiple editions, and translated into German and Hungarian. Her other titles include: Too Wonderful for Me – Studies from Job; With My Whole Heart – Studies from Psalm 119; and The Incredible Round Trip According to Luke.
A memorial service will take place on Tuesday, June 23, at the chapel at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. A graveside service will follow at Southern Heritage Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to Briarwood Presbyterian Church.