Saturday, January 14, 2012

This Week in Texas Methodist History, January 15

Texas Conference Meets in Special Session, W. A. Pounds Honored for Fifty Years as Conference Treasurer, January 17, 1972

There are some years in which Methodist annual conferences have so much business that they cannot wait a whole year to meet.  In such years it is possible to have a special session of the “annual” conference.  One such special session of the Texas Conference was held at Marvin UMC in Tyler, Texas, on January 17, 1972.  Bishop Kenneth Copeland presided over the special session which had been called to take stock of a change in accounting.  1971 was the first full year in which the Texas Conference fiscal year coincided with the calendar year. 

Emmitt Barrow, Chair of the Commission on World Service and Finance, presented a series of recommendations concerning fiscal matters.  Those recommendations were adopted with little debate.

The brief  (10:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. including lunch break) annual conference session also passed resolutions presented by the Conference Trustees concerning abandoned church properties.  It granted superannuation and sabbatical leaves as requested and heard from distinguished guests.  Those guests included two visiting bishops, three college presidents, and other denominational leaders.

The first visiting bishop was the conference preacher, Paul V. Galloway of Arkansas who preached on the 23rd Psalm.  Bishop Galloway retired the following summer but was called back to the Texas Conference after the death of Bishop Copeland.

Bishop Ralph Alton of the Wisconsin Episcopal Area also attended.  He was in Tyler because the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was meeting in Tyler.  He addressed the conference about the relief work of the church. 

Three college presidents also addressed the conference.  Cecil Peeples, of Lon Morris College, introduced a student musical group.  Robert Hayes, Sr., of Wiley and Durwood Fleming of Southwestern, both addressed the conference about centennial observances that would be occurring in 1973.  Bill Copeland (brother of Bishop Copeland) reported as director of the Methodist Home in Waco, and Wallace, “Wally” Chappell spoke in his capacity as Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Campus Ministry. 

A truly remarkable lay man was recognized at this special session was no visitor.  That honor went to a member of the host church, W. A. “Abe” Pounds, who was recognized for his fifty years of service as Texas Conference Treasurer (1922-1972).

It is difficult to imagine a greater record of volunteer service than that of W. A. Pounds.  One measure of his uniqueness is that on January 17, 1972, there were only two preachers (Joe Wells and Bruce O. Power)  at Marvin who had been conference members in 1922. 

Pounds had been born into a parsonage family in Center in 1894.  He became a banker, first in Lavon (Collin Co.), but in 1914 he moved to Tyler to a position at the Guaranty State Bank.  He advanced from the ranks of stenographer and cashier and eventually to the presidency of the Tyler Bank and Trust Company. 

He married Isabelle Windham of Shelbyville, and they had two sons.  Jack Pounds was killed while training military pilots in the early days of World War II.  The municipal airport at Tyler, Pounds Field, is named in his honor.  W. A.  Pounds, Jr. also became a banker. 

Abe Pounds was involved in too many civic, professional, and religious volunteer activities to mention.  Of special interest to followers of Methodist history was his practice of loaning money to preachers for moving expenses.  He said many times that he never lost a cent when he loaned money to Methodist preachers.

In February 1972 Pounds was formally honored for his fifty years as Texas Conference Treasurer.  At that tribute dinner on speaker said, “Abe Pounds was the best friend a Methodist preacher ever had.”

He died in Tyler in July 1974 at the age of 80.  


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