Built on the Cornerstone
Jamie Williams and Susannah McAvinney (both Class of 2003) were each raised by parents
who lived out their faith in tangible ways and were committed to a quality Christian education for their children.
Susannah’s mom taught at FCS, and while it wasn’t always easy to pay tuition for four
daughters, Susannah vividly remembers her parents living out their commitment, even when it meant making sacrifices. “They were willing to do what needed to be done so we could have the strong foundation of a Christian education at FCS.”
Like Susannah and her sisters, Jamie and his two sisters were also FCS “staff kids.” Jamie’s
mother also taught at FCS, and she knew the value of surrounding her children with
compassionate Christians who consistently displayed the love of Christ.
While Jamie can recall countless examples of this love in action, it would become particularly important when, just before his sixth grade year, Jamie’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “Hearing that news was like a gut punch,” remembers Jamie.
“In my grief, I understood how the psalmist felt when he wondered aloud at God’s whereabouts.”
Tragically, Mike Williams would pass away in just three short months.
In the midst of their grief, Jamie and his family also experienced the love and care of the FCS family. “The Lord placed Christian men and women from FCS around me who were so
consistent in their grace-filled care for me. Because of the way they loved me through that
time, their faces are burned into my soul.” This example of faith in action would lay the
groundwork for Jamie’s Christian walk throughout his high school years.
As the class of 2003 prepared to graduate, longtime friends Jamie and Susannah looked forward to attending Liberty University together. During their busy freshman year at Liberty, they were intentional about making time for each other, but it wasn’t until the following year that they began to realize their relationship was growing into something more.
After three years of courtship (and graduating from Liberty), Jamie and Susannah were married. “We had so many FCS teachers at our wedding, and we loved it. They had such an impact on both of us and we wanted them to be there,” Susannah shared.
Jamie and Susannah now have three children—James, 7; Virginia, 5; and Benjamin, 2. When it came time for their children to attend school, FCS was the clear choice, and—like their parents before them—the family was willing to make sacrifices to make it happen.
“We didn’t know how we would be able to afford it, but we wanted our kids to have the same foundation we did.”
Now FCS parents themselves, the couple is committed to investing their time and energy in the ministry that had such a powerful impact on their lives. Jamie currently sits on the FCS board of directors. While he holds the distinction of being the youngest member ever, he believes his time at FCS prepared him for the role. Fellow board member, Larry Root, couldn’t agree more. “Jamie demonstrates a spiritual maturity beyond his years.”
Looking back, Jamie and Susannah can see how God was at work through their experiences and relationships to build up their faith and equip them for His call. “We stand back and look at the entirety of His revelation to us and realize He does have things under firm control.”