Pastors' Memoirs

Virginia Barnes McClanan, 1923-1988

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The Rev. Virginia Barnes McClanan was born in Princess Anne County, Virginia, December 25, 1923, to John Henry and Mary Elizabeth Henley Barnes. At 15 years of age, April 16, 1938, she married Ashville W. McClanan. Two children were born to this couple: Constance Patricia Johnson on July 31, 1943 and Wayne Anthony on May 7, 1951. Leaving school at an early age, it was not until 1956 that she earned her G.E.D. During the next 32 years, Virginia lived an exciting life as a servant for her Lord Jesus Christ. She loved and cared deeply for those around her; family, community, church and the world. In order to further her education, she attended the University of Richmond, Glenville College, Parkersburg Community College, and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She completed her conference course of studies at Duke Divinity School. In 1972 she was ordained a deacon. She served a church in Reedy, West Virginia from 1972-1977. Many honors came her way as she was Outstanding Soil Conservation Minister of the Year in 1975 and Trader's Bank honored her for her work with the Roane County youth in 1974, 1975 and 1976. In 1981, Virginia entered the Virginia conference where she served Knotts Island United Methodist Church in the Norfolk District from 1981 until she retired in 1988. In 1985, Virginia became an associate member of the Virginia conference of the United Methodist Church. Prior to her conversion and call to preach to the people of Back Bay, Pungo, and Knotts Island, she was known by many as a Red Cross aide, rural mail carrier for 16 years, news reporter for the Virginia Beach Sun and Norfolk Ledger Star, Courthouse Community League as director, and Princes Anne County Community Home Demonstration Club president. I met this wonderful servant of Christ in 1982 when we formed a caring community of ministers in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach. Virginia's heart and soul went out to all people, regardless of their need or station in life. Neither personal adversities nor physical pain kept Virginia from proclaiming that Jesus Lives and God is Love. Her death on July 21, 1988 saddened the people of Knotts Island and Back Bay. The indomitable will and courage of this woman will always be an inspiration to all who loved her.

-William F. Mahon



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
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