By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
2:14 PM EDT, June 1, 2013
The Rev. Dr. Alfred A. Vaughn, who had pastored United Methodist churches for nearly 40 years, died May 21 of heart disease at his Cedonia home. He was 90.
"He was clear, insightful and persuasive but not loud. He was gentle. That is the way he was as a man and as a pastor," said the Rev. Dr. Forest C. Stith, a retired bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Methodist Conference.
"He was ... a great family man. I appreciated him very much," said Dr. Stith, who had been Dr. Vaughn's district superintendent.
Alfred Austin Vaughn was born and raised in Sprague, W.Va., and graduated in 1942 from Stratton High School in Beckley, W.Va.
Dr. Vaughn's pastoral career began when he was a teenager and a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beckley, where he was licensed to preach, said his wife of 58 years, the former Martha Butterworth, an educator who retired from the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, where she was a case analyst.
While attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1946, Dr. Vaughn was a classmate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
"He was very proud of that and had a picture on the wall of his home with his college classmates, including Reverend King," said former City Councilman Nicholas D'Adamo, who was a neighbor.
Dr. Vaughn was ordained a Baptist minister in 1944 while at Morehouse. After graduating from college, he taught junior high school in Elberton, Ga.
He enrolled at the Howard University School of Divinity in 1948. While studying there, Dr. Vaughn was assistant pastor at Galbreath African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, both in Washington.
Dr. Vaughn also studied at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J., and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He earned his master's degree in divinity from Howard in 1952. In 1982, Dr. Vaughn earned his doctorate in divinity from Drew University in Madison, N.J.
"Alfred and I started at Howard together, and it was tough making those grades, but we helped each other," said the Rev. Arnor S. Davis, a retired Baptist minister who is a full-time associate at Antioch Baptist Church in Washington.
"Alfred had a very devoted and consecrated heart. He was a very devoted man who cared for his sheep," said Mr. Davis.
Mrs. Vaughn said, "He couldn't find anything in the Baptist Church and was ordained an elder in the Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church."
In the early 1950s, he taught at Florida Memorial College in St. Augustine, which is now Florida Memorial University.
"He was a young man at the time and my instructor, and a very good one," said the Rev. Maxwell Johnson, who later became a Baptist minister and pastored New Life Missionary Baptist Church in Baltimore until retiring in the 1990s.
"He was a very good preacher and was very much like a teacher in his delivery. He informed us, and you could see much of his experience as a teacher coming out in his preaching," said Mr. Johnson.
Dr. Vaughn became pastor of Cherry Hill United Methodist Church in 1954, and from 1960 to 1961 he pastored Union Street United Methodist Church in Westminster.
From 1961 to 1970, he led the congregation of Union United Methodist Church in Aberdeen.
He was pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover from 1970 to 1976, when he was named pastor at Nottingham Myers United Methodist Church in Upper Marlboro.
From 1985 until retiring in 1992, Dr. Vaughn pastored two United Methodist churches in the Huntingtown Charge, one in Patuxent and the other at Plum Point.
"Wherever he went, people followed him to the next church. He was low-key and people liked him. He was not fancy," said Mr. D'Adamo.
In addition to his pastorships, Dr. Vaughn had been an adjunct professor at Morgan State University.
Dr. Vaughn was a longtime member of the Ministerial Alliance, Morgan Christian Center, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
During his lifetime, Dr. Vaughn received many awards for his work, including the Morehouse College Achievement Award, Howard University School of Divinity Alumni Certificate of Appreciation, Calvert County Minister of the Year, and Service Award from the John Wesley United Methodist Church.
Dr. Vaughn was also inducted into the Preachers Hall of Fame at Simpson-Hamline United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. He was an active member in the alumni associations of Morehouse College, Howard University School of Divinity and Drew University Theological School.
He was an avid reader and enjoyed studying the Bible, said Mrs. Vaughn. He was an Orioles fan and liked listening to music of all varieties.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 1440 Dorsey Road, Hanover.
In addition to his wife, Dr. Vaughn is survived by three sons, Philip Vaughn and Charles Vaughn, both of Cedonia, and Benjamin Vaughn Sr. of Kennesaw, Ga.; a daughter, Ellen Vaughn-Chittams of Cedonia; and five grandchildren.
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