Pastors' Memoirs

William B. Day Jr., 1935 – 2005

Memoirs Home 

 Bill was born in Cherrydale, Arlington County, on his mother’s birthday to William B. Sr. and Ruth Yates Day. He had an older sister, Virginia, and two younger brothers, Samuel and Dwight. Cherrydale Church was a very important part of life for the Day family.

  On April 2, 1955, he married his high school sweetheart, Margie Elliott, at Clarendon Church. Dr. James L. Robertson performed the ceremony. Their daughter Kathryn Ruth was born Nov. 2, 1978.

  Bill was a sports enthusiast. He lettered in baseball as the starting first baseman at American University all four years. He played softball in several leagues and was known for being a long hitter. Golf was his passion.

  Music was an important part of Bill’s life. He played the piano and filled in when an organist was not available. He was remembered for his singing — whether as the minister leading the congregation, joining with the choir, or as a soloist.

  When Bill entered on trial (probation), he was sponsored both by Cherrydale and Clarendon churches. In 1957 he graduated from American University with a B.A., and in 1960 he was awarded a Master of Divinity from Duke University.

  In June 1960, his first appointment was as associate pastor, under Dr. John W. Myers, at Washington Street Church in Alexandria. Many friendships were made there.

  A big challenge was given to him in June 1963. He was sent to a vacant lot in Manassas. The church extension group had named the congregation-to-be St. Thomas Church. Bill immediately canvassed the community, making a list of names and religious preference of every resident in the community and inviting people to worship at a nearby school. The first worship service was held at Yorkshire School on Sept. 15, 1963. Typical of his ministry, he passed on names and addresses to ministers of other denominations, etc., if there was a preference other than Methodist. On Nov. 3, 1963, Charter Sunday, Bill received 98 members, the largest charter membership of a mission church up to that time.

  While at St. Thomas, he organized interdenominational services for the community. The parsonage was the site of several Living Nativities and Easter Sunrise Services. In 1966 he received a Certificate in Church Management from American University. On his last Sunday at St. Thomas, the congregation moved into its first building.

  After a year’s sabbatical, Bill was appointed to Burke Church in 1969. At that time Burke, which is located in Fairfax County, was a small community. The congregation was strong in its search for an ongoing knowledge of God.

  His next appointment was in 1975 to the newly formed Fauquier Charge, which was made up of Wesleyan, in Calverton, and Midland churches. They are lovely country churches with families who have been part of the churches’ families for generations as well as people who have moved to the area. The members of these congregations truly love their churches.

  In 2000, each church became an individual appointment. Bill continued to serve as pastor to the Wesleyan congregation, even after his retirement, until his death.

— Margie Day



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