Pastors' Memoirs

James Carter Hennings, 1933-1995

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Jim Hennings was born on August 15, 1933, in the old Sibley Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was raised in McLean, Virginia.

The family was active in Trinity Church, so early in life Jim heard the goods news of Jesus Christ. As he grew up in the knowledge and love of Christ, he felt a definite call to ministry. He attended Randolph-Macon College as a part of his preparation for God’s work. It was there that I came to know him. We remained friends for 42 years. We attended Wesley Seminary together, we were ordained together, and our first appointments were close.

On August 16, 1957, Jim married Sarah (Sally) King of Florence, South Carolina. They have two fine children, Sarah Ellen and William Richard. Our wives and our children became good friends.

Jim served the church with a quiet effectiveness at Trinity in McLean, Fredericksburg, Centreville, St. Thomas, Annandale, Christ Church in Arlington, Immanuel in Alexandria, Lakeside, Burke, Westhampton, and Wakefield.

In one place he laid the groundwork for the tremendous growth that happened in subsequent years. In another church he led a building campaign to expand the facilities of a dynamic growing congregation. In one particularly difficult situation he brought calmness, healing, and unity.

His last appointment was Wakefield. Here, he and Sally spoke just the right words and did just the right things to bring positive responses and genuine love from the congregation. For as long as he was able, he gave them his best and they loved him for it. After he became ill, people there cared so very much and supported them in an amazing way. Jim often said to me, "I have ministered to many people through the years. Now these people are ministering to me."

Jim brought insight and understanding as he served on the Virginia conference Board of Pensions. He helped fashion our fine health care program with little or no thought that he would benefit from it. As in other areas of his ministry, he did it for others. A staff person form the board said to me, "Mr. Hennings was truly a gentleman and a gentle man."

Jim went on disability July 1, 1995, and moved to Florence, South Carolina, where he was hospitalized. He died in the hospital on October 20, 1995. He is survived by his wife, Sally; his daughter, Sarah Ellen; his son, Richard; his father, George William Hennings; his brother, Gerald Lee Hennings; and his sister, Joyce Ann Cleland.

In his life Jim Hennings "did justly, loved kindness and walked humbly with God." Because of this we can say, "Farewell dear friend until we meet again."

— Donald H. Traylor



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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