All-female leadership helps Abingdon UMC celebrate 230 years

All-female leadership helps Abingdon UMC celebrate 230 years

Abingdon UMC commemorates its historic past with (left to right) Rev. Sherry Boles, Bishop Dindy Taylor, Rev. Sandra Johnson, and Rev. Liz Hamilton.

By Sherry Boles

On Oct. 13, Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor preached for the 230th anniversary of Abingdon (Va.) United Methodist Church.
The congregation began in 1783 when they were served by a circuit rider who traveled through six counties in Tennessee and five in Virginia. In 1826, the church became the first station church in Holston Conference.
Twelve sessions of the Holston Annual Conference have been held in Abingdon. During the 1835 annual conference, a plan for an agricultural college was proposed. Tobias Smith, a prominent Methodist layman suggested a 500-acre farm and volunteered to give $500 toward the purchase. Rev. Creed Fulton and his committee agreed. Emory & Henry College, named for Bishop John Emory and statesman Patrick Henry, now stands on that site.
During the Oct. 13 anniversary celebration, Bishop Mary Virginia "Dindy" Taylor shared with the congregation historical details about Holston Conference and Abingdon United Methodist Church.
The service was led by Bishop Taylor, the Rev. Sandra Johnson, Abingdon District superintendent; the Rev. Sherry Boles, senior pastor; and the Rev. Liz Hamilton, associate pastor.

"With a female bishop, a female district superintendent, a female senior minister, and a female associate pastor all on stage, I'm pretty sure we made history," Hamilton said.

See also: 
"Church celebrates 230 years" (WCYB, 10/13/13)  
See more photos on Abingdon UMC website