Pastors' Memoirs

ARDELL FIELDING MCCLUNG
1918-2008

My father was called to the ministry while he was in college, and after finishing his degree in journalism, he completed hismaster’s in theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ky.). His first pastoral duties, as an assistant at Del Ray(Alexandria) Baptist Church in 1943, included riding his bicycle downtown to deliver the Sunday bulletin to the printer. However,he soon became pastor at the Baptist church in Keysville, Va., where he met and married my mother, Ruth Ferguson McClung. Hisbaritone voice and her alto voice blended beautifully, and music became an important part of their life and their ministry together.

After serving several Baptist churches and completing another master’s degree at Union Theological Seminary (Richmond), mydad entered the North Carolina Methodist Conference. I never knew exactly why he decided to become a Methodist, but I know hewas excited about the teachings of John Wesley. In fact, one of my fondest memories is of seeing how deeply moved he was whenwe located the marker in London on the spot where John Wesley “felt his heart strangely warmed.”

In 1955, Dad started Grace Methodist Church in Clinton, N.C. Sunday services were held in the showroom of an old car dealershipat first, until an educational building could be built. He also served churches in Wallace, Goldsboro, Durham, Rocky Mount,and Maxton, before returning to Virginia as pastor of Kenbridge United Methodist Church in 1967. His other appointments in theVirginia United Methodist Conference included Zion in Seaford, Duncan Memorial in Berryville, Norview in Norfolk, Boulevardin Richmond, Princess Anne Plaza in Virginia Beach, Smith Memorial in Collinsville, and Bethany in Hampton. He also earned adoctorate in ministry at Berean Christian College and Seminary in Kansas.

Although he retired officially in 1988, at the age of 70, my father remained active for many years. In “retirement,” he served as interim pastor at Wistar Heights in Richmond, Gum Spring, Jarratt, and the Emmaus/Diamond Hill Charge in Moneta. He alsoserved an interim pastorate at Independence Christian Church in Ashland. He enjoyed preaching, and was always happy to fill inwhen he was asked. Mac McClung embraced life, and lived it with a genuine love of God, his family, and the many friends andchurch members who touched his life during 65 years in the ministry. His own words at the funeral for a beloved family membermay best portray his Christian faith:I believe that a person’s life speaks to the world as his funeral, but a funeral service is for the celebration of a Christian’s life. It isfor the Christian a coronation.

Revelation 2:10 says, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Jesus said“I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there you may be also. Therefore, we can trust ourselves and our loved one to hiscare and goodness, for he is both the Lord of life and the Conqueror of death. – Amen.Dad’s wife, Hazel Wells Mayo McClung, has been a wonderful companion and helpmate for the last seven years. She has becomea valued part of our family, and her family has welcomed us into theirs. He is also survived by his son (my brother), Wallace N.McClung; a brother, William H. McClung; two stepsons, Robert W. and William E. Mayo; five grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren.

My mother, Ruth F. McClung, died of cancer in 1990, and his wife Alice Wilson McClung died in 1999.


— Ann Fielding McClung 

 

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