December marks the 40th anniversary of a Richmond-area ladies trio called “The Christadoes”—which means, “We Sing Unto Christ.”
That name is not only the meaning of “Christadoes,” but it is also the testimony of June Caskey of Grove Avenue Baptist Church, Ann Jones of Mount Vernon Baptist Church and Addie Winfrey of Beaverdam Baptist Church.
The trio launched their ministry when asked to sing for a Woman's Missionary Union Week of Prayer for Foreign Missions at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in December 1966. The pastor at the time, Jim Newman, later asked them to sing at the Dover Baptist Association meeting in 1967, and this fledgling ministry continued until the next pastor, Tom Funderburke, assisted them in selecting the name “Christadoes” in September, 1969.
As word of their ministry spread, more and more requests came for them to sing. The Christadoes found their music welcomed not only in worship services, but in such places as lay-revivals with men like Charles Cline, and in prisons as well. Their love, support and commitment to each other was great. A strong sense of humor helped as well—they didn't mind taking on the identity of “the McGuire Sisters” at an annual sweetheart banquet.
They sang acappella for a number of years, but for things like talent shows at local schools where they added some pop tunes, they began to use piano accompaniment. Anne Winston was their first accompanist; later it was Nita Stanley and currently Frances Gordon and Patty Prout.
They've sung in over 100 churches of various denominations throughout the Richmond area and Virginia. Besides singing and sharing testimonies in worship services, they've sung for revivals, senior clubs, women's clubs, nursing homes, Christmas parties, weddings and funerals.
There are places they have ministered that hold special meaning for them. One is the “Red Bird Bible Class” Christmas meeting at the Virginia Home, where they have sung every Christmas for more than 30 years. The trio says it is a difficult place in which to minister. Seeing all the pain and suffering is never easy. But the blessing of seeing God work through them, shows on some of the faces and makes it a joyous occasion. The trio always comes away feeling they have been blessed more than they have given blessing.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary of singing together, they gave a concert at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Addie was working at the Virginia Baptist Board at the time. To create an intermission, Addie was able to secure the services of a highly talented and gifted minister, Roy Cotton, also on staff at the Virginia Baptist Board.
He blessed the congregation with several piano selections and led in several choruses. He sang and played a special request by Addie: Ordinary People. This song expresses the way God performs his ministry through ordinary people. They realize that God's ministry through them, and its effect on those who have heard them, will only become known as eternity reveals the blessings of God for all to see and hear.
When they started singing together, the three were wives and mothers of young children. Now their roles are wives, mothers, mothers-in-law and grandmothers. Through the years their rehearsals have been as much about praying for each other and each other's families as they were about practicing music. These godly women have yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit and are careful to give thanks and praise to the Lord for his leadership in their ministry.