The Columns – May 2016

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Article by Dottie Hogg
Dr. Gale Bridger, as a graduate of Louisiana Tech, moved to Shreveport, LA in 1960 where she started her career as an English teacher. She taught at Byrd High School and later at Captain Shreve and also studied for her doctorate which she received from Ole Miss twelve years into her teaching career. Dr. Bridger went on to teach at Louisiana State University, Shreveport, where she retired from teaching officially, though she had retired from other teaching positions twice before.

During the early stages of Dr. Bridger’s career and motherhood, her family faced the tragic loss of her husband, a member of the Special Forces, due to a military accident. She credits her son, Jeffrey, with leading her to First UMC, Shreveport as a young child. He wanted to join a large church and in the spring of 1964 they landed at First UMC where Jeffrey grew up and Dr. Bridger has served ever since.

Dr. Bridger’s first leadership experience was as a volunteer for Vacation Bible School and her love for serving the church grew from there. Since that time, she has led our congregation as a member of the Finance, Board of Trustees, Staff Parish Relations, and Celebrations committees. She was involved in two capital campaigns, chaired the Vision 2022, and digital sign committees as well as the Church Council, and was co-chair ad hoc for the columbarium committee. Dr. Bridger assisted with the Art in Worship book and has written for the Lenten Devotional Readings for several years. She is currently a member of the Emmett Hook Center Board, chairwoman of the Communications committee, and a teacher for Sunday School classes as well as several other adult groups. Her willingness to serve has been and still is a huge blessing to First UMC and our community as a whole.

As a child, Dr. Bridger recounts learning to “put her nickels and dimes” in the collection plate. She has since supported the church with her tithe and feels tithing is an integral part of who she is. She enjoys reading, movies, gardening, and especially travel. In her words, she “has toured most of this good planet and intends to keep doing so.” When speaking to Dr. Bridger, you know immediately about her love for her church. She loves to sit in the sanctuary, absorbing the beauty therein, and is great at describing that space in such a way that makes others want to do the same. She wants others to know First UMC as a family and encourages everyone to volunteer and serve with the gifts God has given.

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