The Interdenominational Church Ushers Association of Virginia was organized in 1950 at the First Baptist Church of Warrenton under the leadership of Brother Horace Sheppard. Brother Sheppard was a member of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Alexandria.
Realizing the need to give better service and to unify the system of ushering in all churches, a meeting was held with Brother Allan A.C. Griffith, President of the District of Columbia chairing the session. Sixteen churches were in attendance. The body readily accepted the idea and elected officers to lead the union. Brother Sheppard was elected to serve as the First President. He served from 1950 to 1958, and was reelected in 1960, to serve once again until 1972. He committed his time and talents to the development of the organization. Brother Sheppard was an outstanding leader and was also instrumental in the organization of the Eastern Region.
In 1958, Brother James H. Boyd was elected President, in Spotsylvania County, VA. It was through Brother Boyd’s inspiration that training of ushers throughout the State began. He wanted to make sure all ushers could acquire a broader knowledge of church ushering as well as a uniform system of ushering. In 1959 at the National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first Senior Drill Team competed. Rev. Boyd continued to work in the organization after the expiration of his term as President.
In 1960, Brother Horace Sheppard was reelected as President in Fredericksburg, VA. The organization increased in number and activities. It was under his second administration that the ICUA Chorus was organized in 1962 by Brother Charles Green. Sister Barbara Barnes served as Directress.
Brother Isaac N. Nelson having served a number of years as an understudy of Brother Sheppard, as First Vice President, was elected President at the 17th Annual Convention in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1972. Brother Nelson brought to the office a wealth of knowledge and experience, having served in many capacities at the State and National level. Under his administration the organization continued to increase, new committees were formed, new departments were organized and many activities added.
In May 1974 the ICUA of Virginia became incorporated.
Brother Nelson’s perseverance and stamina sustained him for 12 years. He traveled extensively within the State of Virginia and much of the United States representing the organization and returning with a wealth of information for our continued growth. Accordingly, the State continued to grow in an upward trend and has expanded to what we have today; 7 Districts.
Under the original District design, District 4 was located in Martinsville and District 7 was located in Berryville.
In May 1984 at the 28th Annual State Convention, at Shiloh Baptist Church, Alexandria, Brother Nelson gave up the gavel, after serving faithfully and dutifully. Later, in 1985, Bro. Nelson was bestowed the title President Emeritus.
For the first time in the history of the organization a woman was elected to lead the organization. Sister Lois T. Torney, embraced the office with experience, having served as Financial Secretary for over 20 years. Sister Torney picked up the torch and continued to carry out the principles set before by the founding pioneers. The extent of Sister Torney’s wisdom was not known due to her untimely death 3/4th of the way through her term. Brother William Wimms, First Vice President assumed the Presidency at her death and completed her presidential term.
In, May 1986 at the 30th Annual State Convention held at the Beulah Baptist Church, Woodfolk, VA. Brother William Wimms was elected President. Brother Wimms had served for a number of years as 3rd, 2nd and 1st Vice Presidents, and President of District No. 1. Later in 1996, Brother Wimms was bestowed the title Honorary President.
In May 1987, Bessie L. Taylor assumed the reigns as State President at the 31st Annual convention held at the New Hope Baptist Church, Chesapeake, VA. During the last year of her administration, she reactivated District No. 4 in Tappahannock. Lines of communication were open through newsletters and other written forms to state and other usher organizations. Sister Taylor was instrumental in hosting the first State Prayer Breakfast.
In May 1990, at the 34th Annual State Convention held at the Union Bell Baptist Church, Falmouth, Virginia, Sister Shirley Smith (McWilliams-Jackson) was elected President. Sister Smith had previously served as State Financial Secretary and Chairman Board of Director. She advanced the State by providing hard copies of the financial Statement to the membership and gave the first fundraiser for funds to build an usher home. It was during her tenure that Virginia hosted the National Convention in Richmond, VA.
In May 1994, Sister Irene J. Washington was elected State President at the 38th Annual Convention held at the First Baptist Church, Warrenton. Sister Washington had previously served as Junior State Supervisor, Ways & Means Chairperson and Vice Chairman, Board of Directors and District Junior Supervisor. During her tenure, new departments (Outreach; Training & Development) were organized and the Usher’s Chorus was reorganized.
In May 1997, Sister Carolyn S. Butler was elected State President at the 41st Annual Convention held at the Queen Street Baptist Church, District 7, Hampton, VA. Sister Butler had previously served as First Vice President, Recording Secretary and Assistant Recording Secretary, and Chairperson for the Education Department; First Vice President of District One and Assistant Recording Secretary for the Eastern Region. During her tenure as President she served as National Nominating Committee member.
In May 2000, Sister Donna Hines at the 44th Annual Convention, Upper Zion Baptist Church, Jeffersonton, VA, became the 10th President. Sis. Hines previously served as State Treasurer, Chairperson of the William H. Davis Club, Chair of the Training & Development Department. As President she worked to improve communication throughout the state, utilizing email and electronic newsletters. During her tenure, the ICUA of Virginia, Inc., website was developed, the Spotlight on Youth Scholarship, the 4-Juniors Only School of Ushering and the First Timers Workshop were established and the Public Relations Department hosted the First Golden Age Luncheon.
In May 2004, at the 48th Annual Convention, Upper Zion Baptist Church, Jeffersonton, VA, the reigns of presidency were returned to the men. Brother Lawrence A. Wright was elected as the 11th President. Brother Wright previously served as Young Adult State President and as Treasurer. Brother Wright continued to use the electronic newsletter and fostered the development of many outreach projects. i.e. Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence, Prostrate Cancer, etc. Brother Wright served a two year term and during that time he initiated the first ICUA of VA Education Cruise. The proceeds greatly benefitted the state scholarship fund. In addition, Bro. Wright intimated the first Mission -Outreach trip the 1st state Founders Day observance and the 1st Junior and Young People Retreat. At the convention before the end of Wright’s tenure, the state of Virginia was awarded the National volunteer award for outstanding community service in Virginia by Governor Warner.
Sister Mary Boney’s dream of serving as State President came true in May 2006 as the delegates of the 50th annual convention elected her to the highest office of the association. Sis. Boney served in many capacities including, Chairman of the state Board of Directors, first, second and third vice president and as an Instructor with the school of ushering. She became well known for having served as the regional condolence chairperson and in March 2003, the Eastern Region honored her for her commitment. Sis. Boney became ill soon into her administration and as a result, her goals for the association were not realized. On January 26, 2007, the Lord called Sis. Boney to eternal rest.
Following the passing of Sis. Boney, Bro. Sheldon Skip Brown, who served as first vice president at the time, stepped into the position of President to complete her term, serving one and half-years. Additionally, he served as the Young Adult Counselor, as alternate of the State’s Drill Team and as the Doorkeeper. During his tenure the Mission’s Department achieved milestones by sponsoring a Prostate Cancer Awareness Day/Basketball Benefit, a National/HIV Aids Awareness Day and Basketball Benefit Event and collaborating w/ Habitat for the Humanities to build homes in Hurricane Katrina affected areas in New Orleans, LA and in the following year in Biloxi, MS.
Sis. Gloria Greenhow serves as the current State President elected in May 2008.
RECALL OF DATES
The dream continues to unfold; our membership has increased over the years. We currently have a membership that includes over 70 church ministries and approximately 900 individual members. As we move toward higher heights, we envision greater things for the ICUA of Virginia, Inc. Each new leader offers a greater fortitude and awareness of social, financial and overall consciousness of the need to advance forward in the 21st century.