History of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church


This period began with the continued ministry of Rev. John LeGault. There was a sense of real fellowship in the church, which began to extend to outreach programs. The music ministry flourished under the dynamic leadership of Bob Capen. "Sunday Afternoons at Mount Vernon" remained a vital part of church programming as did other choir and handbell participation in worship. The United Methodist Women were very strong and maintained their many projects, including support for Henry Fork Service Center.

Following Reverend LeGault's time at Mount Vernon, a series of short ministerial tenures made any continuity of programming difficult. He was succeeded in 1977 by Rev. Jay Ashby, whose tenure lasted only two years because of illness.

Mount Vernon was fortunate, however, in having an outstanding interim minister from January until June 2000. The bishop appointed Rev. Douglas Pillow, a retired minister, to Mount Vernon. In no way was Reverend Pillow just an interim. He provided challenging leadership and initiated many outstanding ministries, including the Lenten season Stations of the Cross. This Maundy Thursday event involved scores of Mount Vernon members and was a ministry to both the church and the community.

In June of 2000 the fourth minister in a three-year period was appointed to Mount Vernon: Rev. Jonathan Bennett. Under his leadership many outreach programs were begun. Extensive sessions on church planning were held in 2002. Few  of these plans were implemented, however, because of another change in ministers in 2003. Rev. Robert Friend was appointed to Mount Vernon, and remained for three years.

With the addition of Beth Bauman as director of youth ministries in 2001, not only did our youth ministry expand dramatically but there was a change in the direction of Christian outreach. The annual Appalachian Service Project trips began and have drawn many Mount Vernon youth and adults, as well as youth from other churches, to work for a summer week in construction projects in southwest Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Locally, the Carpenter's Project, a spin-off from the Appalachian Service Project, sends teams of members to repair Danville homes; other church members participate with monetary gifts and prayers, and provide meals and snacks for the workers. This ministry continues to make home repairs for those in need and to assist with The Rev. Barry S. Foster, Mount Vernon UMC community projects such as renovations in Danville's homeless shelter, House of Hope, and at the Methodist thrift store, Helping Hands, which uses its profits to help people in need.

Following the two-year ministry of Rev. David Palmer, Rev. Barry S. Foster came to us in July of 2008. After the two-year tenure of Brett Maguire as organist and director of music ministries, and the interim ministry of Robert Sutter as music director, today the music program is in the capable hands of Tim Navis. And Beth Bauman brings her incomparable energy to creating top-notch programs for children and youth. A revived mission for Christ seems evident among many members.

In January 2016 Rev. Bart A. Fletcher came to Mount Vernon as interim pastor, and in July 2016 he was appointed. Bart and his wife, Claudia, and several of their twelve adopted children (most of whom are now young adults) moved to Virginia from Minnesota, where he has pastored rural, small city, and urban congregations.


Since 2009, Mount Vernon has built a new playground and refurbished the nurseries and Children's House classrooms, purchased a new 15-passenger bus, and developed the outstanding Godly Play program for our children's Sunday school in three refurbished Godly Play rooms. The fellowship hall has been redecorated, with new paint, chairs, window treatments, and floor, and the church office and pastor's office have been redecorated. The Winn Chapel has been reconfigured, and now is one of the most-used spaces in the facility, serving as a much-needed main-level Sunday school classroom and meeting space -- as well as a lovely chapel. A rehab project has begun in the lower level (October 2016) to create a large classroom for our growing Young Adult Sunday school class and for use by other groups such as Boy Scout Troop 300 and AA.

Our long-time Mount Vernon members now are joined by many young families and their children, worshipping and working together to bring Christ's kingdom of love, peace, forgiveness, and justice to a reality for our community.

Special thanks and appreciation to Suzanne and Kenneth Miller
for compiling these articles on the history of Mount Vernon Church.


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October 2016