Pastors' Memoirs

Arthur Linwood Stevenson, 1891-1987

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Arthur Linwood Stevenson was born on September 25, 1891 at Cobb's Station, Northampton County, Virginia, to Thomas Edward and Mary Brickhouse Stevenson. At his birth his mother prayed that he would feel the call to ministry. Attending Salem Church with his family, he early heard this call. His mother studied with him, encouraged and inspired him. Setting high goals, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Randolph-Macon College in 1912, Bachelor of Divinity from Vanderbilt in 1914, Master of Sociology at Duke in 1928, and did graduate work at the University of North Carolina. At Vanderbilt he met and married Mary B. Peebles, a student at the Missionary Training School. A woman of great faith, she inspired and strengthened his ministry. The children followed their footsteps, the daughters marrying ministers and the son becoming a minister.

Admitted to the Virginia conference in 1914, A.L. Stevenson served his church with devotion and distinction. Charges included Wachapreague-Dorchester, Allen, Buckingham, Orange, Appomattox, Kenbridge, Crozet, Tappahannock, Montross, Scottsville. He was a man of liberal faith, deep convictions, superb self-discipline, dedicated to a broad spectrum of ministry -- the ministry of all of life. Arthur loved his family, considered life an adventure and problems a challenge, all people as important. He was characterized by rare ambition, remarkable vitality, and keen insights. He also exhibited rare business acumen.

From 1929-1935 he was financial secretary of the Children's Home Society of Virginia. Challenged to help churches with bUilding plans and financial goals, he was instrumental in building Tappahannock Memorial Church. From 1949-1958 he traveled the United States directing financial campaigns for the General Board of Church Extension. Believing that money has great power for good, he established the annual Stevenson Holy Land Travel/Study Award at Randolph-Macon College. He donated a foyer at Smith's Grove Church, Dinwiddie County; a stained glass window at Washington Street Church, Petersburg; a historical highway marker for Salem Church; and aided family members.

After retirement, he reveled in family gatherings and avocations. An avid gardener, he had three gardens yearly -- two in Florida and one in North Carolina. He became a world traveller, mingling with the people, using local transportation rather than planned tours. He gave travel lectures to civic clubs and published travelogs. An author, he wrote "The Story of Southern Hymnology," "Native Methodist Preachers of Virginia" series, and "The Story of the Stevensons."

A.L. Stevenson died on February 24, 1987, second in seniority among the ministers of the Virginia conference. His funeral was conducted at Washington Street Church, Petersburg by the Rev. E.C. Priddy, the Rev. Floyd Carroll, and the Rev. Hudson T. Hornsby. Interment was in Southlawn Cemetery.

He is survived by Mrs. Claude Collins, Charleston, W. Va.; the Rev. Linwood Stevenson, Margate, Fla.; Mrs. J. W. Stonebraker, Riverdale, Ga.; 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Arthur Stevenson could have said with the Apostle Paul: "I have fought the good fight... I have finished my course... I have kept the faith." 

-- Elizabeth Stevenson Collins  



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