Pastors' Memoirs

John Max Brown, 1933 – 2006

Memoirs Home 

John Max Brown became a minister in his middle-age years. He was known to friends and family as Max. He was known as Dad to me. My father began his journey into the ministry by sharing his fellowship with the people of Cokesbury UMC, in Prince William County, where he had been a member since the early 1960s. Hoping to contribute more of his life to God, my father undertook the studies necessary to realize his calling to the ministry. Most notably, he attended Duke University, where he earned a Certificate of Attainment in 1995. In 1996, he was ordained Deacon and elected an Associate Member of the Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

My father served several churches in different areas of Virginia, beginning his ministry in Fairfax County, serving both Silverbrook UMC and Accotink UMC in the 1980s. He owned a business prior to joining the ministry, continuing its operation while pastor of Silverbrook and Accotink. He also served proudly as a chaplain in the Industrial and Commercial Ministries for the National Capital Area during those years. In 1990, he moved to Covington, serving Mt. Carmel UMC for three years. Shortly afterwards, he sold his business and devoted his full attention to the ministry. Beginning in 1993, he served both Pembroke First United Methodist Church and Mount Lebanon UMC in Giles County, over the next seven years.

He retired from the ministry in 2000. My parents moved to their home in Stafford County, attending Grace UMC in nearby Fauquier County. The one constant thread that runs through my father’s work is his devotion to the people he served in his capacity as their pastor, giving counsel and friendship to every member of each church.

After a few years away from the ministry, he returned to Accotink as a retired pastor, where he continued to serve his congregation until the week before his death last August. Mary Elizabeth Brown, my mother, was a loving partner to my father, giving a great deal of her time working in each church where he was a minister. My parents were married for over 47 years. My mother passed away in September 2005, shortly after my father had suffered an illness that took his right leg. As devastating as those events were to him, he chose to remain active in the ministry. It gave him joy to continue serving God. My mother and father were excellent parents to my sister Laura and me. They were equally wonderful grandparents to Laura’s son, David, their only grandchild.

My parents gave us unconditional love. That same unconditional love was given to everyone they met through my father’s ministry as servants of God.

— John Max Brown Jr.




The Cross and Flame is a registered trademark, and the use is supervised by the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist Church. Permission to use the Cross and Flame must be obtained from the GCFA, Attn: Legal Department, PO Box 340029, Nashville, TN 37203-0029; phone 615-369-2334; fax 615-369-2330

Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center