January 2020  
Our Pastors


In the United Methodist Church, pastors are sent from the Annual Conference with which the local church is affiliated. Pearisburg has been in the Holston Annual Conference since the 19th century. Pastors are appointed annually by the bishop of the Holston Annual Conference, and may serve any number of years, as the needs of the local church, the annual conference, and the pastor are taken into consideration. Since the Pearisburg First United Methodist Church is over 200 years old, there have been numerous pastors assigned here in our history. We honor the service and dedication of each one, and will list here those who have served since the opening of our present building in 1966.
Brian Burch                                                     2012-present
               Brian Burch came to Pearisburg from Rural Retreat-Mt. Olive Charge in Wytheville District.  Brian has served as pastor in Telford, and Tyner (Chattanooga), TN; and has been Camp Director at Camp Dickenson in the Wytheville District.  He and DeAnne are parents of three boys and are excited about coming to Pearisburg.
Bradley H. Scott                                                2008-2012
                Brad Scott came to Pearisburg from Jonesborough, Tn. Prior to that pastorate, he had served in Jonesville, Va., North Tazewell, Va., and Belfast, Va.  Brad is married to Tammie, and together they are raising Corion Cornette. Brad is a native of Scott County, Virginia.  He and Tammie celebrated 20 years of marriage just before their departure from our church.
Randolph R. “Ronnie” Mutter     2006-2008
                Ronnie retired from active ministry shortly before being assigned to Pearisburg. He and his wife Patsy came here from Big Stone Gap Trinity UMC. They brought their grandson Dru Kerr with them. Ronnie served for two years and loved to greet the congregation with the words “Good morning saints! Good morning sinners!” Ronnie was known to play Santa Claus and enjoyed visiting the Sunday School classes and driving a four-wheeler in the Christmas Parade. After returning to their home in Big Stone Gap, Ronnie took a two-point charge in the Lafollette, TN area, and is presently serving as pastor of a Church of God in Big Stone Gap, Va.   Under Ronnie’s leadership the Preschool was invited to operate at the church, and the congregation began enjoying "fellowship time" during worship.
Dale S. Wyrick                                    2005-2006
                Dale serves Spring City-Reeds Chapel in Spring City, TN. Dale is a native of Bland County, VA.  Prior to his pastorate here, Dale served churches at Gate City Va., Johnson City TN, and Wytheville VA, among others.  Dale has been active on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. 
W. Anthony Collins                          2003-2005
                After serving Pearisburg, Tony Collins became pastor in Loudon, Tn.  He has since become pastor in Sweetwater, Tn.   He holds the position of head teller of the annual conference. Prior to service here, Tony was pastor in Rural Retreat, Radford, Lebanon and Bristol in Virginia, and Gatlinburg and Knoxville in Tennessee.  He was transferred from the South Georgia Annual Conference to Holston in 1985. 
Charles W. Lockerby                       1998-2003                            Associate: Fred L. Austin              1998-2004
                Charles Lockerby had served the Abingdon District as Superintendent prior to coming to Pearisburg in 1998. Under his leadership Fred Austin was hired as associate minister. Charles also led the congregation in a visioning process, culminating in several capital improvements, including placing an elevator in the educational wing. After leaving Pearisburg, Charles served Central in Radford. He retired in 2006 and now lives in Vinton, Va. 
Frederick Long                                  1994-1998                            Associate: Judith Walker Long   1995-1998
                The Longs now live in Texas, and have retired from active service. Judith Anna was the first female minister in Pearisburg’s history, and the first Associate Pastor as well. After leaving Pearisburg, the couple served Colonial Heights in Kingsport, Tn., and Newport First UMC, in Newport, TN. 
Robert Warren Stewart                 1990-1994
                Now retired and living in Mountain, City, Tn., Warren has also served as pastor in Richlands, Weber City, Norton, and Radford in Virginia, and Mountain City, Chattanooga, and Bluff City in Tennessee. 
John Wesley Wikle                          1987-1990
                John Wesley Wikle was born May 15, 1926 in Princeton, West Virginia, the youngest of three sons of Reverend A. E. Wikle and Glenna Breen Wikle. He received a local preacher’s license in 1938 while attending High School in Wise, Virginia. He attended Emory & Henry College, and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He married Wanda Kemp, of Shawmut, Alabama in June of 1950. He served churches in Tellico Plains, Townsend-Walland, Louisville, Trinity Chattanooga, Rockwood, Wesley Memorial Chattanooga, St. Andrews Chattanooga, Second Church Knoxville, First Dayton, all in Tennessee, and Pearisburg in Virginia, retiring at the end of his pastorate here in 1990. John died on July 18, 1997 while serving as pastor of Campground Church in Townsend, Tn., as a retired pastor. 
Robert A. Hayes                                               1982-1987
                Bob came to be pastor here in 1982. He was a great lover of the natural beauty of the area, and enjoyed hiking Angel’s Rest and the Cascades. Occasionally during his pastorate, the congegation was able to enjoy his musical skills as he was an accomplished organist. He retired from active ministry and now lives in Maryville, TN. 
Fred L. Austin                                    1973-1982
                Fred was pastor here longer than anyone else in the history of the congregation. While he was here, the church constructed the fellowship hall and office complex, and bell tower. Fred also served as pastor of First Marion (Va.), Mountain View (Kingsport, TN), and White Oak (Chattanooga) and was superintendent of the Wytheville District. After retirement in 1996, Fred and Vivian moved back to Pearisburg to be near their family. Under the pastorate of Charles W. Lockerby, Fred was invited to serve as Associate Minister where he worked faithfully in visitation and care of several of our families and enjoyed preaching and leading worship. He resigned that work in 2004 and was called to take the pastorate at Castle Rock Baptist Church in Pembroke, until 2010. Since retirement from that position, Fred and Vivian have enjoyed being involved at First UMC in Pembroke, VA. Under Fred’s leadership the Men’s Prayer Breakfast was started in 1975, and remains an active part of the church’s life.
Roger E. Hilton                                  1971-1973
                Roger came to Pearisburg not long after active service as a US Marine. He later served Colonial Heights in Kingsport, TN, and was on the Cabinet of the Annual Conference. He lives in Maryville, TN. Educated at Duke Divinity School, his service included Broad Street in Kingsport Tennessee, Lookout Mtn in Chattanooga, and Alcoa Tennessee before transferring to Bluefield First (Va).  After service here, Roge was pastor at State Street in Bristol, Colonial Heights in Kingsport, and First UMC Morristown, Tn.  He retired in 1993. 
John W. Duck, Jr.                              1968-1971
                John William Duck, Jr., was born April 2, 1916 in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of John W. and Mary Moore Duck. He quit school during the Great Depression at age 14 to help his family. A member of Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Lynchburg, he felt the call to preach at the altar of that church and entered High School at age 21. He worked his way through Emory & Henry College and Candler School of Theology, and was admitted on trial in Holston Annual Conference in 1948. He married Alma Joyce Dailey, of Atlanta, Georgia in 1946. He served the following churches: Pound (Va.), Bearden (Knoxville), Central (Lenoir City), Beaver Ridge (Knoxville), First Bristol TN, First Pearisburg (Va), Gate City-Hales Chapel (Va), Saint Elmo Chattanooga, and Vermont (Kingsport TN). He died after complications from a stroke in August, 1978. He was buried at Fort Hill Memorial Park, Lynchburg, VA. A favorite verse of his was: “To love someone more dearly every day, to guide a wandering child upon his way, to ponder o’er a noble thought, and pray, and smile when evening comes, this is my task.” 
James E. Hankins                                              1961-1968
                James E. Hankins was born to Gurney Smith and Oda Pearl Wilhoit Hankins on July 7, 1920 in Greeneville, Tennessee. He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Union Theological Seminary in New York. He began ministry in 1940 while a student. He was deeply dedicated to small membership churches in town and country areas. He began service in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Greene County. Later, influenced by Dr. Clyde Lundy, he made a choice to enter into the Methodist ministry. In October, 1947, he was assigned to Dungannon Circuit in Scott County, Virginia. This included churches at Ft. Blackmore, Slant, and Dungannon. He was married to the former Miss Mary Virginia Tompkins, of Duffield, VA. Together they served churches at Piney Flats, Tn;, Rogersville, TN; Pearisburg, Va.; Cleveland District (TN) as District Superintendent; Pulaski, Va.; Bearden, Tn.; and Immanuel at Mentor, TN. He retired in 1984, but served his last appointment in retirement for over a decade. Jim was involved in national organizations that served the rural church, writing, editing, and organizing the work in rural settings. While at Pearisburg, he led the local Lord’s Acre/Lord’s Hour program, which at that time included over two dozen churches, and incorporated a parade through Pearisburg. Jim was pastor here when the decision was made to relocate the congregation from Main Street to the corner of Hale St., and Valleyview Drive. He was one of the founders of the Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union, and was named the Rural Minister of the year by the state of Tennessee in 1952. He died in 2002.
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