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MEET OUR HUB STAFF
At Hunt Memorial, we work in cooperation with our sister churches, Reynolds Memorial UMC, John Wesley UMC and Trinity UMC to bring Hope, Unity, and Blessings to our HUB community. As part of this multi-church partnership, we get to hear from each of the pastors within our HUB as they rotate each week and lead us in our Sunday morning worship. You may see any one of them on Sunday morning. Get to know each of them better below.
Rev. Robert Kariuki
Robert Kariuki, a son of Mr. Fredrick and Mrs. Nancy Nyaga, migrated from Kenya to United States in 1999 after 3 years in ministry with Full Gospel Churches of Kenya. He became a member of Watauga Point United Methodist Church located in Elizabethton, TN in the year 2000. One year later, he started the candidacy process of becoming an elder within United Methodist Church.
In the year August 2002, Robert married to Agnes W. Kariuki. Since then God has blessed them with three children: Myra, Tori, and Alex.He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Education from Beulah Heights University in Atlanta, GA, a Master of Divinity from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, KY, and a Doctorate degree from North Greeneville University in Greenville, SC. Robert was ordained as Elder in the Holston Conference in 2009 and has served within the Holston Conference since 2005. He feels humbled to serve in the Bristol Parish (HUB).Robert's favorite Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 15:10 “It is by the Grace of God that I am whom I am.” He is here for such a time as this: to let the world know that God is still in the business of saving and redeeming the world. Robert is a living testimony of what the Lord can do to those who wait upon Him. Robert has experienced God’s grace working in his life and ministry since he gave his life to Christ in the year 1992.The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, has helped Robert to understand his purpose in life. Serving God is far better and greater than his own personal fulfillment. Robert's peace of mind, his happiness, and his ambitions are to do the will of the One who called him. He has realized that if he wants to know his purpose on earth, he must begin with God.Robert prays that the Lord give us peace as we journey together to our destiny in Christ Jesus.
John Graves, Pastor
John Graves was born in Nashville, Tennessee and grew up in the hills of Kentucky where he enjoyed a carefree childhood surrounded by the beauty of nature and a large, loving extended family.
He is a 1976 graduate of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. His undergraduate major was in anthropology and his goal was to become an archaeologist, but his life took other twists and
turns. He became a Christian shortly after graduating from college and married his wife Lucy soon thereafter. In 1978 he enlisted in the US Air Force and served four years, primarily in south Texas. His military training was in electronics with a specialty in aircraft navigation systems. Upon his discharge from the USAF he returned to Kentucky and began working as a field service engineer in the medical technology industry.
John and Lucy moved to Bristol in 1990 where he continued his tech career until retiring in 2016. They raised three children in this wonderful community which they consider to be their permanent home. They also have five grandchildren.
In early 2014 John felt the call to church ministry and received his local pastor license from Holston Conference the following year. He served at two rural congregations in Sullivan County TN from 2014 to 2020 when he decided to take a year off. He was re-licensed in 2021 and is delighted to serve the churches of the Bristol, Virginia HUB alongside Robert, Caroline and Scott.
In his spare time John still studies archaeology, especially anything related to the Biblical era. He also enjoys gardening, landscaping, live music, nature trekking, and tinkering with electronic gizmos. He and Lucy have a passion for genealogy and history-related travel and hope to visit the Holy Land someday soon.
Rev. Scott Spence
Scott Spence was born in Saltville VA. He is the youngest of six kids. He grew up on a family farm that has blessed his family for six generations. The farm taught Scott the value of team work, shared responsibility, and overcoming adversity. Many of the lessons learned on the farm have been beneficial in life.
Scott is an Ordained Elder in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. Before arriving at Reynolds Memorial UMC, Scott served four years, as
pastor, at Beech Grove UMC in Bristol, VA. During his tenure the church experienced growth in average worship attendance, finances, and facility improvements. Prior to this appointment, he served as pastor of North Keywood Circuit, which is a two-point charge, consisting of Blackwell Chapel UMC and Mahanaim UMC. During that time North Keywood experienced unprecedented growth in numbers, unity, and finances. This combination, along with a passion for cooperative ministry, allowed North Keywood to grow from a struggling part time appointment to a full-time appointment and vital congregations. The start of July, 2020, Scott was appointed pastor of Reynolds Memorial UMC.
Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory & Henry College, majoring in Religion with a History minor. He received his Master of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary. Upon graduation at Hood, Scott received The George Clayton Tharrington Memorial Honor, which is given to the student that best exemplifies outstanding preaching qualities.
Scott’s call and faith have been forged through the trails of life. In 1993 Scott was injured in an industrial accident where he received second- and third-degree burns, and was given a 5% chance of survival. However, by God’s grace, Scott has overcome this event in his life and now uses it as a bold witness of faith. Serving as pastor is not an occupation for Scott, but is a calling from God.
Scott is devoted to family. He and his wife, Diane, celebrate thirty-one years of marriage. They have two daughters Autumn and Dianna Spence. Scott’s hobbies are growing vegetables, spending time on the family farm, and watching sports.
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