Pastors' Memoirs

Charles Stephen Bartholomew, Jr., 1927-1997

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Charlie was a unique, loveable human; he was warm and caring far beyond the ordinary. He began his working career with Sears and we used to tease him that "we got him from Sears." I once told him that he should have been a Roman senator. He had a soft bass voice, silver hair, blue eyes and a crooked smile. He asked me what sort of senator he would have made — "Oh, you would have thoroughly confused the system and probably helped more folks in trouble than anyone else. And you would have been late for meetings." That was Charlie. People and their hurts always came first with him.

Charlie’s personality was a mixture of melancholy, gentleness and love. He saw two of his three grown children die — Stephen and Donna. Suffering makes some folks bitter, but others use it as a means of identifying with the hurt of the world. He was one of the best pastors in our conference. He could comfort others with his faith and compassion. He must have had a great source of inner strength.

Charlie was a good preacher. He began his ministry as a part-time lay pastor in the Holston Conference, then received his education at Randolph-Macon and Duke. He was ordained deacon in 1962 and elder in 1969. He served Shiloh at Montpelier, Epworth and Bethel on the Eastern Shore, Chester, Chamberlayne Heights, Oaklette, Cokesbury, Middlesex and, in his retirement, Shackelford’s Chapel.

He was born February 16, 1927, at Goldsboro, North Carolina. He died April 12, 1997, in Richmond. His coronation service was April 15 at his former church in Chester with interment at Forest Chapel in the Rappahannock District. He is survived by his wife, Judy; a daughter, Sue Steele; two grandchildren and a sister. He leaves many friends whose lives are strengthened by his honest love and faith. The separation is temporary.

We quote for him the line of John Greenleaf Whittier which he often used — "I only know I cannot drift beyond His love and care."

- Carl Douglass



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