Pastors' Memoirs

Frederick Douglas Dillard Jr., 1932 – 2005

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  "Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." (Hebrews 13:7)

  Many who knew Frederick Douglas Dillard Jr. as pastor, colleague, mentor, and friend wanted to mirror his kind of faith. He was a Christian who ran with perseverance the race that was set before him, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of his faith.

  Doug died Feb. 15, 2005, at the age of 72, following a courageous battle with the complications of diabetes and heart disease. He is survived by his wife, Marion, and two sons, David, and Douglas III.

  Doug’s distinguished ministry with the Virginia Conference spanned more than 40 years. Born on Oct. 3,1932, Doug grew up in West End Church in the Roanoke District, continued his religious training at Oberlin College Graduate School of Theology and Wesley Theological Seminary (summa cum laude, 1958), and went on to pastor local churches across the conference. His first church was Mountain View Charge followed by associate at Greene Memorial (both in the Roanoke District), Immanuel, and senior pastor at Fairfax. He then served as Norfolk District superintendent, senior pastor at Trinity (Richmond), and then as Alexandria District superintendent. Doug also served as Virginia Conference Council Director from 1997 until his retirement in 2000. Following retirement, he returned to Trinity as the minister of congregational care.

  At his official retirement celebration in June of 2000, I was asked to offer words of appreciation and wondered how to distill the essence of who Doug was into a fitting description. I decided that what Doug taught so many of his friends, parishioners, and colleagues might be summed up in a version of "Life’s Little Instruction Book According to Doug." And with his transition to the great cloud of witnesses, those reflections again seem a fitting testimony to his character, humor, gentle spirit and, above all, his faith:

Have a firm handshake and look people in the eye. • Be a good listener. • Ponder things in your heart, rather than never having an unexpressed thought. • Commit the great hymns to memory, and not just the first verse. That way you can stand and sway to the music with ease. • Learn to play the piano beautifully. • Be the first to say, "hello." • Wear polished shoes and pressed suits. • Demonstrate the finest hospitality you can offer to friend and foe alike. • Keep confidences. • Be kinder than necessary. • Use your wit to amuse, not to abuse. • Craft sermons that stir the heart and mind of your listeners until they know God. • Hang a Moravian star and send out cards at Epiphany. • Choose your life’s mate carefully, for this one decision will bring much of your happiness. • Be awestruck by anything with wings... be they angels, stained glass birds, or high-flying planes. • Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have. • Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures. • Practice deep belly laughs, as they’re good for the soul. • Maintain focus when everybody around you is fragmented. • Use your intellect to focus on solutions rather than problems. • Practice humility in every gesture, big and small. • Pray not for things, but for wisdom and courage. • Hum "Fairest Lord Jesus" when life gets tough. • Resist telling people how something needs to be done. Instead tell them what needs to be done as they will often surprise you with creative solutions. • Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you. • Serve your neighbor, your church, and your God without reservation. • And finally... Live your life in such a way that others will see Christ in you.

  Thank you, Doug, for living out all these things in our midst. We are more fully-formed children of God because you have made your journey among us.

— Carole H. Vaughn



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