The Bland United Methodist Circuit has a new pastor. Darlene Marshall preached her first sermon Sunday.

She replaces Pastor Kevin Richardson, who was promoted to the St. Paul/Fort Gibson charge in Wise County after serving the Bland Circuit for five years. Richardson’s wife, Samantha, recently completed the requirements for a nurse practitioner degree.

The Bland United Methodist Circuit is made of Bland United Methodist Church, Central United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Marshall has been in the ministry for 22 years. Her first appointment was in Pulaski and lasted eight years. Next, she served in Radford for the New River Circuit for seven years, and most recently she was in the Floyd Circuit for seven years.

In Pulaski, she was pastor of two churches. In Radford and Floyd circuits both have three churches, as does Bland.

Marshall and her husband, Greg, moved into the church parsonage on June 19. This week, they are busy making some improvements and painting. The couple has two children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.

“I love Bland,” she said. “I can usually go with the flow, but I’m a country girl, and this area is beautiful. And the people are just wonderful.”

The pastor is a graduate of Fries High School and completed a course of study at Duke University. She is a licensed local pastor.

“I’m excited to be here,” she said. “I really am looking forward to meeting the people, and getting out and visiting and finding out different things. I don’t know much about the area yet, other than I just really like it here.”

Marshall said she doesn’t mind traveling to and from three churches.

“I’m used to traveling between churches,” she said. “My previous commute was bigger; from the parsonage, it was 41 miles total. Here, it’s not that far. I don’t mind the travel. I just want to do whatever God has called me to do wherever he has called me to do it.”

To reach Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 35, or email

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