Pastors' Memoirs

Amos Lloyd Laine, 1905 – 2004

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  "God graced Amos with many years and Amos graced the years that he was given," wrote a nephew of the Rev. Amos Lloyd Laine. Such was the legacy of a simple country boy who submitted his life to the Lord. Born outside Wakefield, in Southside Virginia, Aug. 28, 1905, he was one of 12 children who grew up living off the land.

  This rural heritage helped instill in Amos a love of nature. He knew numerous birds by marking and call and got a thrill at mimicking calls and receiving a response. He loved to fish and listen to others’ fishing tales. His vegetable garden over the years provided tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and other bounty from God’s earth. As a boy, he walked three miles each way to school daily, eventually taking a job as a teenage school bus driver. He never complained of the walk, choosing to remember the journey through the fields and woods as a blessing.

  Converted at an early age, his faith legacy stretched back to Bishop Francis Asbury who, in late 1775, preached the funeral service of Amos’ great-great-grandfather, Joseph Lane. That celebration was held in Lane’s Chapel, near Amos’ birthplace. Because of their Christian faith, his family often shared their log home and table with others just for a meal or for weeks, if needed.

  An older brother invited him to town where he completed high school and was on the track team. Not knowing what he was to do next, he worked as a house painter, barber, and postal clerk. Three sisters with whom he boarded saw in him a potential and following prayer meetings in their home, believed, along with Amos, that he had a genuine calling from the Lord. They secured funds from family and friends so that Amos could have one year at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. Amos flourished there, doing well academically. He worked the breakfast shift in the dining hall making biscuits by the hundreds. Over the decades, his "specialty" was biscuits, always made from scratch, without recipe, by carefully kneading the dough with his expressive hands.

  He graduated in 1931, then attended Asbury Seminary completing his degree in 1933. Summers and following seminary, Amos was on a traveling evangelism team in the deep South, helping set up the huge tent and leading the singing. Evangelism continued to "warm his heart" and he never lost that basic element in his subsequent ministry. In 1935, he married Mary Lee of Dunn, N.C., who died in 1961.

  He joined the Virginia Conference in 1932, beginning his pastoral work at Kenwood in 1934. He went on to serve Trinity, Richmond; Fairview, Danville; Caroline; Cumberland; Boydton; Prospect; Schoolfield; Drivers-Magnolia; St. James, Richmond; Bethany (Reedville); East Hampton; and High Street, Petersburg. He retired in 1971 with 39.75 years of service. In retirement, he served one year at Tabernacle, Norfolk, and 23 years in the North Carolina Conference at Leslie in Dunn, for a total of nearly 64 years of service.

  He passed away Oct. 30, 2004, following a week of procedures and surgeries, just two months past his 99th birthday. At his death, he was the first on the conference’s Roll of Elders in Full Connection. The week prior to his death, he was still driving, shopping, walking daily, enjoying nature, cooking, attending worship, and participating in a Bible study. His service was held at Leslie UMC, Dunn, N.C., on Nov. 2 with his son, Amos Lee Laine, as piano accompanist, and led by his son-in-law, the Rev. Donald H. Seely. Burial was at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Richmond.

  Very talented musically, Amos played the violin, guitar, autoharp, and harmonica, all to God’s glory. He had perfect pitch, could carry a lovely tune, and harmonized in parts. In retirement he took art lessons, painting scenes and still life to express the beauty of God’s world. He loved people, especially his family. Amos never met a stranger. Each occasion was an opportunity to share faith, an inspirational word, or a poem. It was his lifelong joy to be God’s messenger. Above all, Amos was a gentle man — in faith, personality, demeanor, and relationships. His favorite Scripture was Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." What strength from that faith shone throughout his life.

  He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Emma Lee Laine; a son, Dr. Amos Lee Laine of Hampden-Sydney College, Va.; a daughter, Julianna L. Seely, Dunn, N.C.; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; a 95-year-old sister, Mrs. Elva L. Magee; and a 91-year-old brother, the Rev. A. Woodrow Laine.

— Dr. Amos Lee Laine, Julianna L. Seely, Rev. Donald H. Seely



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