She Is Who She Is - The Ministry of Lula Crawford

“I feel like – I am who I am,” says Lula Crawford. For 16 years she used her many talents as a designer, businesswoman, and counselor to help Princeton UMC make disciples for Christ. Last year she moved to a new development near Hilton Head, North Carolina, and spoke about her concept of “grace” in a phone chat.


Lula says her mother, whom she describes as having a “strong will and independent mind,” helped give her confidence. “When I left my parents’ home in South Carolina, I took a job in Delaware knowing no family or friends and never thought I was doing the wrong thing.” It was God’s grace, she says, that nourished her determination to seek whatever she wanted or needed.


Lula talks about how, when we are in God’s grace, we experience delight. The delight is compounded, she says, when we can share, with others, our experience, or our knowledge, or the gifts that God gave us: “I found joy in sharing in expressing beauty and creating comfort for others!”


At PUMC she drew on her experience with her business, Elegant Windows and Doors by Lula, to serve on the Board of Trustees and make the building more hospitable. “Ida (Cahill) and I started with the downstairs bathrooms near the Fellowship Hall. They were in terrible condition.” She sourced a contractor who was “so impressive with what he did with those bathrooms” that he was chosen for other jobs at the church. “It’s the human being behind the business that matters. That is what makes small businesses successful. You have to have the human touch.”


“It gave me and Ida joy to know that we were improving the area for others to use.” Working with Ida on new carpeting, she located the company that specializes in jobs for churches. Then the kitchenette, cramped and inefficient, needed an upgrade. After they moved the sink and added cabinets, it’s an efficient place to serve refreshments. She also used her design talents for the parsonage. During Covid, Ida and Lula enhanced the dingy parking lot entrance so it offers an inviting bench with cushions and pillows.


Her long wished-for pew cushions finally came, but only after she had moved. “I had been pushing for pew cushions for quite a while.”


Lula grew up in South Carolina and graduated from Claflin University (the state’s first college to admit students of any race). Though she and her husband had two sons, Mark and Byron, she kept on working, except for the year when Byron was born. That year she took a class in “Sewing for the Home” (she had always made her own clothes). It unleashed her creativity, and she opened her business. Now divorced, she has five grandchildren, located in Montclair and Seattle. And – being Lula – she volunteered to use her personal experience to help others. She facilitated the Divorce Small Group for years.


Lula has not yet decided what will be her church home, but she has found grace and joy as she looks to her future at Hilton Head. She moved there from Monroe Village because she had spent several happy vacations there. Her house is on a just-built street, so everyone is a newcomer. “I have a little sunroom that goes out to the patio that backs up to some woods. With my coffee, I sit in my chair, and it’s so comfortable and peaceful. The move brought something -- the grace and mercy that God has given me – that I didn’t know existed.”


Lula also has the focus that comes with determination. Another word for that is gumption. “Some people thought I was crazy to move from Monroe Village to Hilton Head and maybe I was a little crazy. It was a big job. But I am OK. I am who I am.”


Her address: 818 Destiny Dr., Bluffton, SC 29909.


Photo Caption: Lula Crawford (left) at her new home, visited by her friend Iona Harding. She leaves good friends behind. Iona Harding and Lula met in 1989 at Montgomery UMC and, years later, came to Princeton UMC. “In church, we can form lifelong friendships,” says Iona. “I feel absolutely blessed that Lula and I became good friends and confidants” says Ida Cahill. “We laugh and cry together and continue to speak at least once a week. Whenever I hear the word joyful, I smile and think of Lula."