We Are About Relationships

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Irene Archambault


Christ United Methodist Church Franklin, TNHave you ever known a retired person who works a lot in retirement?  And really enjoys it!?  Well, if you haven’t, then you need to meet Irene Archambault!  After teaching in Metro Nashville Schools for 35 years, at both Turner and Glencliff Elementary schools, Irene is now a volunteer docent with the Nashville Zoo.  In fact, she’s not only known as Irene, but also as The Zoo Lady.

Born in Tuxedo Park, New York, Irene moved with her family to El Paso, Texas when she was just three years old.  She remembers going to Vacation Bible School with friends as a child.  When she was in 7th grade, she moved with her family to Miami, Florida and stayed in the Miami/Coral Gables area through college.  Irene’s mother was a Christian Scientist and as a teen, Irene attended church with her.

While a student at Florida Southern College, which is a Methodist school, Irene first began attending Methodist Youth Fellowship with friends and that was when she decided the Methodist faith was especially meaningful.  After she moved to Nashville, she was baptized at West End United Methodist, and eventually became a member at Hillcrest UMC for 30 years.  Irene has especially fond memories of Pastor Jerry Mayo’s time at Hillcrest.  It was during this time that she lost her mother and she said Pastor Mayo was very helpful to her during that difficult period.

After her retirement from teaching, Irene moved to the Franklin area in 2006 and began visiting at Christ UMC.  From those first visits, she felt that everyone around her went out of their way to be friendly.  Even the children were friendly, including a little girl who gave her a sweet pat on her shoulder during a special hymn.  That was all she needed!  Irene began attending the very next Inquirer’s Class and joined Christ UMC in 2008.   She says she finds the sermons very meaningful and enjoys our tradition of singing the communion liturgy.

Since becoming a member, Irene serves in many ways.  She helps Rev. John Hill with the Inquirer’s Classes, she was a representative to this summer’s United Methodist Tennessee Annual Conference, a VBS volunteer, serves as an usher and greeter regularly for the 8:30 service, helps with Wednesday Night Together cleanup, serves as a representative for the Older Adult Ministry to the church’s Administrative Council, also serves as the secretary to the Administrative Council and she helps plan and always attends the annual All Church Retreat in the fall!

So what does, “We Are About Relationships” mean to Irene? 

In her own words: “ ‘We Are About Relationships’ means that someone is always there to support me when I need support. It means lasting friendships that have been cultivated and will continue to be cultivated. It means caring within the church building and in the community beyond.”

And are we ever glad to have Irene Archambault in relationship with us!