Pastors' Memoirs

Marjorie Virginia Tyson, 1922 – 2007

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God gave Marjorie Tyson three things that defined her life — a love for her Lord, a love for young people and a love for travel. He also gave her a life of excitement, adventure, and purpose.

Marjorie was born in Parish Memorial Hospital in Portsmouth, the daughter of Adelaide Jones Tyson and Allen Joshua Tyson. She had an older brother, Roy, and a younger sister, Dana. She grew up in Cradock, the first planned community in the United States. Dr. Edgar Potts was the pastor when she joined the Methodist Church. He later drove his family to Buck Hills Falls, Pa., to attend

the service when she was commissioned as a Methodist missionary.

After graduating from Cradock High School she studied at Mrs. Johnson’s Secretarial School. Upon completion of that program she got a job working at the Seaboard Airline Railway for 17 years. While working there she taught Sunday school, was secretary of the Sub-District Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF), a member of the church’s Board of Education, and was later a youth counselor.

When asked to be district Director of Youth Work, Marjorie felt the need for more education. She enrolled in night classes at William and Mary’s Norfolk division. During this time she was elected chairman of the Virginia Conference Young Adult Organization Committee on Church Loyalty and Evangelism. Her vacations were spent attending conferences at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, the Youth Leadership Development at Lake Junaluska, the Cleveland Conference, also Purdue and the Portsmouth District training event. She always challenged others to attend these conferences.

In 1955 at Dana’s commissioning as a missionary, Marjorie was challenged by Mission Personnel Secretary Marguerite Twinem to also enter the mission field. In 1959 she went to the Philippines for the first time. Always a student, Marjorie graduated from Northwestern University with an M.A. in religion and from Scarritt College with an M.A. in church and community. She took other classes at Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C., Vanderbilt Divinity School and Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn.

Marjorie was a licensed Director of Christian Education in the Virginia Conference and was consecrated a deaconess in the Philippines by Bishop Paul Locke Granadosin. While in the Philippines she served as conference missionary in Mindanao and in the Northwest Conference, president of Asbury College and was the official correspondent of the World Division of the Board of Global Ministries, a charter member of the Child Welfare Organization of the Philippines as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of Mary Johnston Hospital for 17 years.

She and Dr. Prundencia Fabro encouraged the Philippine Deaconess Board to join Diakonia. In 1995 the group hosted the International Organization in Manila with more than 500 people attending. The library in the new building at Lingayen Christian Center is named for Marjorie. After serving 26 years in the Philippines, she retired and was instrumental in the formation of the Tidewater Association of Philippine Methodists along with Portsmouth District Superintendent Don Traylor, Dr. and Mrs. Ray and Elma Pascual, Dr. Vianmar and Florie Pascual.

An article in the Filipino Methodist stated: "She came to the Philippines as one committed to Christ and called to serve the youth. She believed in what God can do with the potential of one young person who is committed to Jesus Christ. Indeed, Miss Tyson was an American missionary with a Filipino heart."

— Dana Tyson




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