Pastors' Memoirs

Henry Smith Chenault, 1904-1987

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Out of Caroline County and the Mount Vernon Church was called a young man who would make a very strong impact on the Kingdom of God and to all who knew him. Henry Smith Chenault felt that call at the age of 10 or 11. From that point on the course of his life was tremendously affected. Henry Chenault was one of 11 children, nine of whom grew to adulthood. He was of a modest farming couple and the only one to continue his education beyond the seventh grade because he knew he needed education to become a preacher. Because of difficult times, he had to stay out of school four years to work on his father's farm, so he was 21 when he finished high school. At that, he was allowed to finish high sc:hool only because he drove a school bus which consisted of a team of horses and a wagon. Of course, he had to do his chores on the farm as well as taking care of the horses and driving the wagon.

Henry Chenault's first pastorate was Kenwood Church in Hanover County from 11/27-1930. He went from there to two churches in South Sussex for three years and to Gretna Charge from 1933-1937. From there he went to King George Charge and then to West Chesterfield Charge. It was said that, "He spent his early days building congregations and finances in a series of very small, failing churches that didn't have money during the depression." He served Strasburg Church from 1941 to 1945 then he went to Wesley Church in Petersburg. From there he went to Fairview Heights in Lynchburg, and then in 1949 to McKendree Church, Norfolk. After that period of time Henry Chenault's churches were Grace in Danville, and Chesterfield Heights and Christ Church both in Norfolk. Then he moved to Wesley Memorial Church in Martinsville. Crewe was his last pastorate where he retired in 1968. After that retirement he must have still had much to offer and perhaps a restlessness for the Kingdom for he served as visitation minister at Court Street, Lynchburg, supply work on the Amherst Circuit, and did various Bible studies while living in Richmond later on.

 Henry Chenault finished his education at Randolph-Macon College and Emory University's Candler School of Theology. His remains were laid to rest back home where the call had been first given in Mount Vernon Church, Caroline County. Surviv- ing him are his wife, Frances Moore Chenault; a daughter, Mrs. Mary Frances Deaton of Garner, N.C.; and three sons, Henry S. Chenault, Jr. of Richmond, Charles Douglas Chenault of Petersburg, and Hartwell L. Chenault of Radford. Henry S. Chenault, Jr.

--John T. LeGault, Jr

 

 

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