Pastor’s new assignment is like ‘coming home’
Posted: October 13, 2012
Special to The Winchester Star
Winchester — Moving to Winchester and becoming senior pastor at the Braddock Street United Methodist Church is a lot like “coming home,” according to the Rev. Kirk Nave, who assumed the position at the church in late June.
He had previously been pastor of an area church.
Nave and his wife, Stefanie, moved here from Richmond, where he was pastor at River Road United Methodist Church.
Prior to that, he served as pastor at the Stephens City United Methodist Church from 1996 to 2004.
The ties to this area continue: Stefanie graduated from Shenandoah University as a voice and church music major in 1994. One of her instructors at the time, Judy Connelly, is currently minister of music at the church, and friend and fellow student George Amos is choir director, said Nave.
Also in the Valley is son Gary, who is earning his master’s degree in engineering at Virginia Tech, and daughter Maggie, a sophomore at James Madison University.
It’s those connections, and the many good people in the church and the community, that made the move back here an easy one, he said. “This is such a strong congregation in a community that’s not overwhelming in size,” he said. “We love the Valley, just love it.”
Leading a large, well-organized congregation offers opportunities and challenges, he said. Much of his time these first few months has been spent meeting church members and trying to get beyond a simple “hello” and handshake.
That has proven to be a challenge, as about 500 people attend worship services at the church, 115 Wolfe St., each week, he said.
“There are so many wonderful people here,” he said.
Beyond the daily tasks of serving a large congregation, Nave said he is looking for opportunities to expand existing ministries and find ways to continue to serve the church and the larger community. To that end, he has met with pastors from many of the downtown churches.
Braddock Street is currently involved in supporting many outreach projects — including a Monday night dinner for the less fortunate — Habitat for Humanity, WATTS, Congregational-Community Action Project, Second Chance, Evans Home for Children, Men’s Rescue Mission, and many more.
Nave and church leaders recently completed a new mission statement to guide the church into the future: “Followers of Jesus, loving God, loving others, serving the world.”
That mission statement is important, he said, because Christianity in this country is going through a difficult period. “Many Christians are no longer aligned with a particular church or denomination, and many Americans feel the church isn’t relevant and doesn’t serve the needs of people today.”
Braddock Street United Methodist is working to feed the hungry and follow Jesus’ example in multiple and tangible ways, he said. “This is not your grandfather’s church.”
It’s important for people to be connected to a faith community, he said.
“If it weren’t for the community of faith, I wouldn’t be as good of a person as I am,” Nave said. “If it’s just me, my coffee and my Bible, how would I understand what people in my community need, or how to meet that need.”
Members of Braddock Street recently gleaned apples at Marker-Miller Orchards and gathered about 4,000 pounds of apples in a few hours to be used by food pantries that serve the area’s needy, he said.
“How would you even begin to know how to be part of something like that if you didn’t have a church?” asked Nave.
Traditional Sunday worship services are held at 8:30 and 11 a.m., contemporary worship services at 9:45 a.m., and church school is at 9:45 a.m. For more information, call 540-667-3366 or go to braddockstreetumc.net.