To tell the story of Ida Porter is to the tell the story of faithfulness and the story of a deep heart for God. And dare I add one element? An unwavering support for her pastor and church. Yesterday (9/17) our very own Ida Porter turned 100 years old. She has arrived at the century mark, still loving God, still dependent on God, still a model of faith.
It is amazing that Peninsula has seen several of our own arrive at the century mark, and beyond. Each story is unique and each one begs to be told. I really don’t dare to tell her story on the Back Page, because details get fuzzy in my brain. But this much I know: she was born in the South, which proved to be a challenging region to grow up African American in 1922. But she never thought it to be a challenge, not at all. She lived her life with a daily dependence on God and a deep trust in His Word. Nothing else mattered.
She became an accomplished woman with influence in her community and in the world of California politics. Her husband was a judge, but he passed before I met Ida. She married again in 2001 in a very small ceremony I led for immediate family only.
Ida is the sweetest and most loving and supportive person. When I was in my interviewing process, we were at the home of Dennis Frost, and she pulled me aside. There had been no official offer of a job yet, but there was something she wanted me to know as I considered my options. She pulled me aside and said, “If you come here, do not let all of these women run you off.” My reaction? Oh wow. Really? What am I getting into?
I listened — and tried to figure out what God intended. I guess I didn’t let them run me off, but I think of that moment because it taught me that Ida really cared. About me. About all pastors, most likely. They have a special place in her heart. And she in mine.
In the last few years, she has had significant health issues and is more immobile than mobile, but through the pandemic, Ida called me regularly. She would ask in her thick southern drawl, “Pastor, how you doing?” The calls were every couple of months, and when I missed them, I would initiate the call only to discover that she was struggling.
Happy 100th, Ida. I celebrate you today. Faithful to Jesus. Faithful to family. I am blessed by your prayers for me. You have been a fixture in my life for 28 years. I love you.