2018 Annual Meeting
Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society
of the United Methodist Church

“Religious Liberty in the
Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism”

July 17-20, 2018
Williamsburg UMC, 500 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Phone: (757) 229-1771
Sponsored by The Virginia Conference Historical Society 


If you prefer to pay by check and mail in registration, please click here for a pdf form)

Need more information? Email Heritage@vaumc.org

Our Speakers

David L. Holmes - An American religious historian, David L. Holmes is Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, at the College of William and Mary. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan State, Columbia, and Princeton universities and studied at Duke Divinity School.
Holmes’s numerous teaching awards include the Outstanding Faculty Award of the Commonwealth of Virginia. When The College Book: A Preppy Guide named him as one of William and Mary’s three best teachers, he changed not only his view of such books but also his style of dress.
Three of Holmes’s books are especially well-regarded: A Brief History of the Episcopal Church (Bloomsbury), The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (Oxford), and The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents (Georgia).

Michael H. Browder, who is currently Professor of Church History at the Virginia Union School of Theology, retired from the Virginia Conference after forty-one years in the local church.  He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and holds a Ph.D. from Duke University.  His varied fields of study have included American Revivalism, Manichaeism, and Islam.  He has studied a number of languages and has traveled throughout the world, primarily for mission.

Sam NeSmith is a retired clergy member of the Virginia Conference. He holds a B.A. Degree, 1958, from Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina and a Master of Divinity Degree, 1961, from Gammon Theological Seminary, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia. In 1988, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree, also from Gammon, ITC. Sam’s career includes two cross-racial pastoral appointments and two terms as a district superintendent.  A veteran leader of Volunteer in Mission Teams, Sam has made more than one hundred mission trips around the world.

Brenda NeSmith, a retired School Social Worker, has a B.A. Degree, 1964, from Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina, and a M.S.W. Degree, 1970, from Howard University. She serves as a lay trustee and nominations chair on the board of the Virginia Conference Historical Society. An active member of United Methodist Women, Brenda has held leadership positions at the local, district and conference levels.
The NeSmiths, who are life-long Methodists, belong to the generation of African Americans that experienced the historic era of the denomination’s Central Jurisdiction. It is their fervent hope that the rich heritage of African American Methodism, especially in Virginia, will be uncovered, preserved, and celebrated.  Sam and Brenda have been married for 53 years. In retirement, they reside in Richmond, Virginia.

Bishop Peter D. Weaver, retired, was born into a parsonage family in Greenville, Pennsylvania.  Educated at West Virginia Wesleyan (B.A,), Drew University (MDiv) and Boston University (Th.D.), he has also received four honorary doctorates.  From 1971-1996 he served three United Methodist churches in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, focusing on “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” through ministries with urban youth, university students, older adults, the homeless, industrial workers and corporate executives.  He led weekly radio programs, was a founder of Bethlehem Haven community for women who are homeless, and the city-wide “One Voice Against Racism.”
In 1996 he was elected a Bishop and served the Philadelphia Area (1996-2004) and Boston Area (2004-2012) helping to initiate over 40 new congregations and “Good Schools Pennsylvania,” for public education reform.  During this time, he served a term as President of the global Council of Bishops of the UMC and participated in many community, church and ecumenical boards.  He has been engaged in mission and preaching on five continents and taught in four seminaries.  From 2012-16 Bishop Weaver served in Washington, D.C. as Executive Secretary of the UM Council of Bishops and now serves as Bishop-in-Residence at Drew University Theological School.
Pete (as he prefers to be called) and his spouse Linda now live in Williamsburg, Virginia and have eight grown daughters and thirteen grandchildren.  Along with enjoying family, Pete plays the trombone, does woodworking, water sports, and helping in ministry with persons 

C. Edward Pruitt was born and raised on Tangier Island, Virginia, located in the Chesapeake Bay. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1965, and a Master of Sacred Theology Degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in 1968.
Ed served churches in Baltimore, Maryland for one year and the Charlottesville District for three years. He went on to serve the Matthews Charge on the Rappahannock District for nine years, Verona UMC in the Harrisonburg District, 10 years; St. Andrew’s UMC in Virginia Beach, five years, and Burke UMC in Burke, Virginia, 10 years. He was District Superintendent of the Harrisonburg District, 2003-2010. He also chaired the Virginia Conference’s Committee on Spiritual Formation for three years.
Retiring in June 2010, he has continued to serve as Interim Pastor in several churches. Ed and his wife, Portia Wheatley Pruitt, have three children and eight grandchildren.  

Laurie A. Preston is an Associate Professor who has been Head of Reference at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia since 2005, supervising Reference Services, Special Collections & Archives, and Interlibrary Loan.  Her current research interests include Randolph-Macon College history, Methodism in Virginia, and the use of oral history in enhancing the historical record.

Barry Penn Hollar is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Shenandoah University where he has taught since 1990.   He was raised in Singers Glen, Virginia where he was a member of Donovan Memorial Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB).  His grandfather, the Rev. Millard Floyd, was a minister in the EUB Church before church union in 1968, Barry took undergraduate degrees in Religious Studies and Economics from the University of Virginia in 1975.  In 1979 he graduated with a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and an M. A. in Policy Sciences and Public Affairs from Duke University.   He took a Ph.D in Religious Studies with a concentration in ethics from the University of Virginia in 1990.

Raymond H. Edmonds, Jr. was ordained elder in the Virginia Conference of the EUB in 1967 following his graduation from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  He served 33 years in pastoral ministry, seven years as instructor and chaplain of Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music and eight years as Virginia Conference Director of Higher Education Ministries and Executive Director of the Association of Educational Institutions.   He has served 14 years as District Missionary Secretary, 12 years as Local Pastor Registrar and Extension Ministries chair for the Conference Board of Ministry and taught United Methodist History and Polity to UMC students at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.   Among his greatest joys in his 50+ years of ministry is having pastored both the largest former EUB church in Virginia (Otterbein, Harrisonburg) and the oldest Methodist Church in the South and third oldest in the nation (Monumental, Portsmouth) where Francis Asbury served in 1775.  Ray was the last former EUB clergy to serve in Virginia when he retired in 2006.

JoEllen Fulk Smith was born in Harrisonburg and grew up as a Preacher’s Kid in the EUB Church. She spent her formative years, and graduated from high school, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where her father, Howard Fulk, was pastor at St. Luke’s EUB Church at the time of the 1968 merger. Fulk was also a member of the board of trustees for Shenandoah College for over 30 years. Her mother, Ellen Fulk, was consecrated a diaconal minister and served three UM churches in the area. JoEllen graduated from Shenandoah (Junior) College in Winchester and received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Wright State University. She spent her professional career as a civil servant for the U.S. Department of the Army. She and her husband, Jim, retired in Winchester, Virginia. In 2017, JoEllen became chair of the Gruver-Souder UB/EUB Archives Working Group at Shenandoah University.

Other Distinguished Guests

Stephen Moore moved to Virginia in 1979, upon receiving a degree in music from the University of Texas at Arlington. For the next 37 years, until his retirement in 2016, he worked for historical foundations in Tidewater Virginia, including the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Park Service, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the Virginia Academy for Historic Dance, and he performed numerous character portrayals at sites throughout Virginia. He has portrayed Presidents James Madison and Zachary Taylor; Dancing Master William Fearson, Esq.; the last colonial governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore; and many others too numerous to mention.
In 1998, he was asked by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to portray a jailed Separate Baptist preacher by the name of James Ireland, beginning a long final leg of his career portraying various religious entities from our country’s colonial past. 

Margaret and Patrick Vaughn have been singing together for over 25 years. Patrick serves as Director of Music Ministries at Annandale UMC and is Director of Choral Activities at Annandale High School. Margaret is Pre-School Music Specialist and Director of Children’s Choirs for AUMC.
The Vaughns and their children, Wesley (16), Claire (14), Hannah (12) and Joshua (9) performed in Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden last February at AUMC. 

Patrick Vaughn is the director of Brethren, a professional, Christian male ensemble based out of the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area, and composed of men hailing from eleven different states. A quartet from this group (left, shown with accompanist) will perform the evening of the 50th Anniversary of the Uniting Conference. 

Bishop H. Hasbrouck Hughes, Jr., retired, was born in Richmond, Virginia and educated at Randolph-Macon College and Duke Divinity School. He has received three honorary doctorate degrees, from Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia; Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida; and Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida. He served as a pastor in the Virginia Conference, 1951-1988, including five years as District Superintendent of the Lynchburg District. Reveille UMC in Richmond was his last church served, 1982-88.
On July 12, 1988, he was elected Bishop of the Florida Area, serving from 1988-1996, and residing in Lakeland, Florida. He retired in 1996, and served as Bishop-in-Residence of Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Virginia, 1997-2012.
Bishop Hughes is married to the former Mera Gay Hughes of Portsmouth, Virginia. They reside in Williamsburg, Virginia.


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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
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