Visit With a Volunteer:
February 2023 | Written by Maribeth Griessel
A God-planned, faith-filled life is a joy to write about, especially when a friendly acquaintance becomes a well-acquainted friend in the process. And through a two hour conversation Carol Bryan definitely became a friend.
This lady was born into the Bulloch family and raised in Duluth, MN, along with her three sisters and two brothers. In a Catholic family, she completed her entire education at Duluth Cathedral, where she especially enjoyed studying English and history. She credits her deep interest in all things historical with her current devotion to in-depth Bible studies, evidenced in her leadership of Precept.
After leaving Duluth, Carol moved to Santa Monica, CA, where she began her longtime career in secretarial work, in banks, for builders, and in real estate. And a good move it was, as she met her husband, Roger Bryan, there. They will celebrate their golden (50th) wedding anniversary next month. Mr. and Mrs. Bryan moved to St. Louis, MO, in 1991, where Carol worked as a real estate agent. The Bryans are devoted parents to three children. Oldest son, Rob, and his wife Victoria live in Texas, though he works in Alaska for an oil company….two weeks in the far north, two weeks in the deep south. They provided Carol and Roger with grandson Killyan, age 13, and granddaughter Londyn, 11. Carol’s only daughter, middle child Kathleen, lives in Liberty and attends Gashland with her husband, Jeff Overton, and children Alex, 16; Meg, 14; Luke, 11; and Libby, age 8. Kathleen is an attorney and Jeff has his own business, along with home schooling their children on the days they are not in attendance at Faith Christian Academy. The Bryans’ youngest offspring is son, Patrick, who lives in New York City, where he works in the restaurant business.
During her years in St. Louis, Carol attended a non-denominational church, Harvest Bible Chapel. She became involved with Precept and, while studying Romans and the Gospel of John, “I started to understand election and predestination.” She explained, “Precept Bible Study Method, based in Chattanooga, TN, teaches inductive Bible studies, a method where you learn how to study scripture for yourself.” This 50 year old ministry states on its website, “Life-changing intimacy with God is the heart of Precept.” There are three components: What does it say?…Observation; What does it mean?…Interpretation; and How does this apply to me?….Application. This inductive method utilizes cross-referencing of scriptures and word studies. Carol provided the following acrostic, SPECK:
S – sin to confess or avoid
P – promise to claim
E – example from someone’s life, good or bad, to follow or avoid
C – command to obey
K – knowledge of God
Following 25 years on the east side of our state, Carol moved to Smithville, MO, with Roger, who is a retired journeyman lineman from Ameren UE in St. Louis. Thus in 2016 she joined Gashland EPC, due to the fact that her daughter and family were members here….thank you, Overtons! At that time Lisa Miller was teaching Precept at GEPC. When she learned of Mrs. Bryan’s background in these studies, she invited Carol to lead with her, on every other study. Currently, Mrs. Bryan is the sole leader of two groups, meeting either on Thursday afternoon or Monday night, with a total of 30 women participating. She had served on the Women’s Ministries Team for awhile before starting the nighttime Precept class.
“We have been studying the kings and prophets”, explained Carol. “We don’t use commentaries to begin with, we do our own study first, then go to commentaries. In January we started “Revival or Captivity?” She believes coming to Gashland was so good because the Holy Spirit had been teaching her about reformed theology and she believed it, just didn’t know what it was called. The messages of Ritchey Cable and Michael Morefield, along with the teaching of Matt Martinie, provided exactly what she needed and sought.
Carol names Romans 8 as her absolute favorite chapter, Ezra as a favored book (“he set his heart, and Lord, that’s what I want to do!”) and Psalm 119:102 is a favorite verse, which states, “I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.” She continues, “Teaching Precept is my passion because I want women to be able to study for themselves, to learn how to understand scripture. So many people don’t want to study the Old Testament ‘because it’s a God of wrath!’ But it’s not!! God is merciful, He’s always calling people back to Himself. He is compassionate and kind, not only a God of wrath. It absolutely changes your life when you’re able to study scripture for yourself.”
In addition to her leadership in Precept, Mrs. Bryan enjoys working with the ladies cooking the meals on Wednesday nights, as well as serving on the team that prepares communion monthly.
Roger and Carol enjoy traveling…anywhere family is! During Covid, Carol started learning to play piano from an online app, “Simply Piano”. She’s learned to read notes, and, as is normal, finds the left hand/ bass clef notes more challenging to play than the right hand/treble clef. Of course, as evidenced by her devoted leadership of Precept, this lady loves to mentor younger women. She also enjoys walking around Smithville Lake. And at the top of her list, “My grandchildren are everything!!”
As an avid reader, Carol has an extensive collection of Bibles, including The Reformation Study Bible in ESV and The Legacy Bible. She noted that the Precept Studies formerly were in NASB only, but now also offer ESV. Currently she is reading “The Doctrines of Grace, Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel” by James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken.
One of her sisters says, “We come from a long line of socially inept people”. Hard to believe….but Carol elaborates, “If I didn’t enjoy doing Precept so much I’d probably just stay at home most of the time!” We are so glad she is here, doing what she most enjoys, and not exhibiting the slightest sign of being “socially inept”!