Arrie Mae Long was called home to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of Aug. 9. Born on March 3, 1926 to the late Porter and Mary Elizabeth (Barnes) Foreman in Barnwell, S.C., she was the second daughter of six siblings.
At the age of twelve, Arrie Mae accepted Christ at Saint Luke Baptist Church in Aiken, S.C. It was here that she began to understand the power of prayer and her love for Jesus Christ grew.
On December 30, 1943, she married the late Rev. Northern Long Sr. While in South Carolina and at only 17 years of age, she automatically became a deaconess when her husband was ordained a deacon. Only the Lord knew that this appointment, at such a young age, would lay the foundation of her lifelong missionary work. Her loving relationship with her husband ended with his death on July 11, 1990. To this union seven children were born and two more were raised in the home. What joy she had when one of those she raised, her nephew, the Rev. Lorenzo Long became pastor of the great Central Baptist Church.
In 1950, Sis Long, as she was called, followed her husband to Baltimore. Immediately upon coming to Baltimore, the family joined Concord Baptist Church. As her husband was immediately accepted on the Deacon Board, she too, was accepted on the Deaconess Board. Sis Long’s love for singing to the Lord also led her to join the choir.
Subsequently, the family became members of Central Baptist Church in 1962, under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Montague J. Brackett. She truly loved and respected her pastor. It was here at Central she was readily accepted as a deaconess, and a member of the formerly called Sanctuary Choir. She was extremely faithful and dedicated to both organizations.
Arrie was naturally gifted as a seamstress. Often there would be patterns sprawled across the dining room table as she sewed to express her creativity and affinity for fashion. She saved friends’ and family members’ money, as well as her own. Arrie had a very close relationship with her mother, who also lived with her and her husband and helped to maintain a Christian home.
While Arrie began her education in Barnwell, later in life, she continued her education in the Baltimore City Public Schools evening programs. She enjoyed helping her children with homework and exemplified that great teaching as a form of love. It was a requirement that her children put forth their best effort in all of their studies as she knew the value of a great education.
Despite having only a formal ninth grade education, it was her natural leadership and oratory skills that propelled her to leadership positions she enthusiastically embraced.
Sis. Long was president of the Deaconess Board of Central Baptist Church for 24 years. She became a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Deacon’s Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity in 1972. She later became president and held that position for twelve years. One of her proudest moments was being honored by the organization at one of its annual banquets. Most importantly, Deaconess Long became President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Deacon’s Convention of America and its Auxiliaries.
Sis. Long’s spiritual life also included regular attendance to Sunday school and revival services. Her participation as chair of various committees such as Women’s Day, Unity Day, and Deacons, Deaconess and Trustee’s Day will never be forgotten. She served wherever needed in other areas of church life. She was known for her powerful prayers and two of her favorite expressions were “To God be the Glory!” and “The Lord has done great things for us whereof we are glad.”
Her children saw her as a dignified woman full of grace and charm. She was a compassionate woman especially to those in need. Deaconess Long was a woman who truly desired to be of service to the Lord and didn’t mind cleaning and cooking for others. She instilled in her children a sense of decency and modeled her faith by being persistent through all things. She expected that her children were neat, clean, and respectful individuals who carried themselves with humbled pride.
Sis. Long received many awards and honors during her life time. She was employed for forty-five years for The Worchester Wire Company later know as Fellowes. Her co-workers were surprised to see the abundance of family support at her retirement celebration, an event that was beyond measure. Her tenure and strong work ethic was so apparent that in her last twelve years of tenure, she was never a day late or absent.
Sis. Long loved to exercise and later joined the Easter Seals Adult Day Services. She enjoyed attending and participating in various activities.
Her husband, the late Rev. Northern Long Sr. and her nephew, Rev. Dr. Lorenzo Long preceded her in death. Deaconess Long leaves to cherish her memory: her children, Margaree L. Lee, Wynoina Simms, Frank E. Long Sr., (Selby), Marion Davis (Adelaide), Jannett L. Ward, Northern Long Jr., (Cynthia), Joenathan Long and Terry Elizabeth Long; fifteen grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren; a devoted brother, Ervin Foreman; brother-in-law, Fred Bell; and a host of nieces and nephews, cousins, and special friends.