Passing the Baton

Opening Doors for a New Generation of Bible Ministry Volunteers

Scripture portions distributed to the homeless
Dr. Lamar Vest chats with Mrs. Nellie Bicksler at a tribute celebration in her honor. Photo by Malorie Tull

“American Bible Society volunteers should understand and feel one thing: joy!” So declared Mrs. Nellie Bicksler at a recent tribute hosted by the American Bible Society to thank her for more than 50 years of service.

Born in 1912, two months before the Titanic sank, Mrs. Bicksler is now a great grandmother and living proof of her favorite Scripture, Psalm 91. “It's about trusting the Lord to keep you safe from harm, which he continues to do,” she says. In April she is celebrating her 98th birthday with family and friends.

As a volunteer, Mrs. Bicksler devoted much of her time to zealously promoting the American Bible Society. For her communities in Florida and South Carolina, she created and hosted several events a year, welcoming hundreds of people into her home.

It was an enormous undertaking, but she is quick to say, “Oh, I had lots of friends to help me.”

Children delighted in the birthday parties for Jesus and Scripture fashion shows she created. For the latter, they dressed up and walked down a fashion-style runway carrying a printed Bible verse while a commentator read the Scripture and explained its context for the audience.

Perhaps her favorite event was an annual Open House, which she held over a weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Early on it was small. But as word of mouth spread through her church, town and county, more and more people came. The events were not complicated. Typically Mrs. Bicksler would tell stories about the history and mission of ABS and serve great food. Every room in the house was decorated and set up with Bible Society Scripture materials. Many were for sale, yielding hundreds of dollars for ABS.

Nellie Bicksler is proud to say, “I was made an honorary lifetime member of the American Bible Society in 1985.” And, Mrs. Bicksler's work continues today. In December, at Bible House, she passed a baton symbolizing volunteer leadership onto Bishop and Mrs. Hugh Nelson, inviting them to continue on in her efforts and to help ignite a new generation of Bible activists.

For information about volunteer opportunities at the American Bible Society, please visit, or call 800-322-4253.

Thanks to the support of our faithful financial partners, American Bible Society has been engaging people with the life-changing message of God’s Word for more than 200 years.

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