‘No other job’
Published 9:30 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Wesley Chapel pastor settles in
Brandon Nichols is the newest pastor in one of Chuckatuck’s oldest churches, Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, a 19th-century building on Kings Highway.
“There is no other job I could possibly do,” Nichols said. He knew of his calling by the age of 14. “Well, Grandma, I think I want to be a preacher,” he recalls telling his grandmother after she asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.
His response filled his grandmother with joy, but it came as a surprise to him, since he had ignored the call he had felt when a pastor at a youth retreat not long before had asked those who felt they were meant to devote their life to God to stand up and go to the back of the room, he said.
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It soon became apparent to the young Nichols that he could not run from the calling any more than the biblical Jonah had been able escape God’s calling.
Having grown up as a member of a Methodist church in Chesapeake, Nichols pursued a degree in religious studies from Virginia Wesleyan College. This year, he graduated with his Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, he said. Just a few months later, he began working at the church in Chuckatuck.
“The people are very sweet, very welcoming,” Nichols said of the congregation. One thing he has noticed since arriving is the mutual respect members of the congregation have for each other. He also praised the church’s “amazingly talented” choir.
As pastor, he hopes to continue to bring a deeper knowledge of the Bible and its stories to his congregation. He also wants to encourage them to share their faith stories more frequently, he said.
“I love preaching,” he said. It’s not common for people to give their attention to someone else for a whole 20 minutes each week, he said. He finds it humbling.
He also feels honored to speak with those who are sick, dying or going through difficult times in their lives.
“It is a powerful thing, and an honor to be invited into spaces of vulnerability,” he said.
The church is involved in a variety of ministries, from supporting missionaries in Sierra Leone to sending out church bulletins to members who are unable to attend weekly services, Nichols said.
The church will host a Trunk-or-Treat for the community on Halloween and hopes to coordinate with a similar activity taking place at Oakland Christian United Church of Christ that same day, he said.