The Rev. Dennis W. “Bud” Cameron, a local minister of the United Methodist Church, was honored Sunday afternoon for his 30 years in the ministry.
A reception marking that milestone was hosted by the Franklin Heights and Maple Grove United Methodist churches, where he serves. In addition to church members, a number of Cameron’s fellow clergy in the area participated in the tribute event.
It was held at Franklin Heights, which Cameron — who grew up in the Sandhills of North Carolina — began attending in 1969 after moving to Mount Airy at age 21. He was a senior at Appalachian State University at the time and came to do his student teaching at North Surry High School, where Cameron subsequently accepted a position as a history teacher.
The Rev. Cameron firmly believes that God led him to Surry County for the purpose of making a life while serving Him. Cameron was active in the local church and became a lay speaker in 1970, speaking at other churches as well as his own.
Cameron credits Franklin Heights Methodist Church for helping him warm up to a community where he knew no one — it “took in a stranger, made him welcome and put him to work,” he said.
In the years to come, Cameron would serve as the county’s register of deeds, and in the midst of that career felt God’s call to serve in a pastoral church ministry.
He was approved as a candidate for the ministry by the Franklin Heights UMC Annual Conference in the fall of 1985 and completed Ministerial Candidacy School in May 1986.
Through another educational requirement, Cameron attended a divinity school United Methodist Course of Study School in the summertime and took 20 required courses for the ministry, which allowed him to continue serving as register of deeds. He attended Emory University for six summers and Duke University for two summers, graduating from the Duke Course of Study School in 1998.
Enjoys smaller churches
During the past 30 years, the Rev. Cameron has served in the ministry with eight churches, all in the Mount Airy area.
At one point, he became minister of the Mount Airy-Surry Circuit, a position he held for more than 13 years while also working as register of deeds. Cameron was one of the last circuit rider Methodist ministers in the state, as it took two weeks to travel to all the churches on the circuit.
In addition, around 2002, he launched Christian Hope Ministries, geared toward the home-bound and shut-ins. It was modeled after a ministry of the late Rev. F.J. Burroughs at Flat Rock Pentecostal Holiness Church. In this ministry, Cameron made regular visits to between 10 and 20 people, in their homes and nursing-care facilities.
The longtime minister and former register of deeds says he has enjoyed serving small-membership churches, where worship and Christian fellowship is found, members care about one another and reach out to each other in times of joy and need and where the stranger is welcomed.
In 2015, he began serving his present appointment at the Franklin Heights and Maple Grove churches.
“How strange to be appointed back to the church that gave me my Methodist beginning 46 years ago,” Cameron said of Franklin Heights. His reappointment to those churches for the next year recently was announced.
Cameron was quick to point out that Sunday’s reception by the churches was not to honor him or to celebrate what he has done, but rather what God has called him to do over the past 30 years.
“It has been hard to imagine that 30 years have passed — what wonderful opportunities I have been given.”
Cameron is looking forward for furthering his work in the ministry in the years to come.
“I want to continue to serve God and the churches to which I am appointed, wherever that may be — the word “retire” is not in the Bible,” he said.
“At 69, I want to keep on sharing the Gospel, loving others and helping Christians to grow in the faith.”