St. John’s Episcopal Church welcomes its new priest

ABERDEEN – No matter what angle it’s analyzed, the similarities between priest and teacher are striking. After molding minds in the ways of math and science in McComb and Natchez, the Rev. Brandt Dick recently assumed the role of priest at St. John’s Episcopalian Church to mold communicants’ spirituality.
“I see a lot of my job as trying to bridge the gap between religion and science by reaching out to those who may have fallen away from God because of scientific beliefs and pulling them back,” Dick said.
A 1990 graduate of Mississippi College, Dick taught physics, chemistry and calculus in the McComb School District for 10 years. After meeting his wife, Erica, and seeing the potential of marriage, he joined the Episcopalian faith, in which she was raised.
The two participated in an educational outreach program, where people began asking Dick if he’d ever considered becoming a priest.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNALTEACHER TO PRIEST – The Rev. Brandt Dick took the role of priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in December. The former teacher has spent the past seven years at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
TEACHER TO PRIEST – The Rev. Brandt Dick took the role of priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church in December. The former teacher has spent the past seven years at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez.

“If enough people ask you about becoming a priest, you actually start thinking about it,” Dick said.
After graduating from seminary in 2005, he doubled as a teacher and a priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez and its affiliate, Trinity Episcopal Day School.
“My roles morphed throughout the seven years I was there. I served as a part-time school chaplain and a part-time curator of the church, serving pastoral duties and writing sermons. I worked under Rev. Chip Davis and I was very fortunate to be nurtured. He told me to preach during Holy Week while he performed the service and vice versa the next year so it was nice easing into it unlike so many new priests just out of seminary,” Dick said.
He also served as interim headmaster during his last year at Trinity Episcopal Day School.
In his teaching role at Trinity, Dick found it favorable being able to be a quantum physics instructor while wearing his priest collar. The same appeal applies to spending his adult life talking about the subjects he enjoys the most – religion, the Bible, math and science.
Upon assuming the role at St. John’s left by the Rev. Sylvia Czarnetzky, Dick’s goals revolve around making people feel partially bigger than themselves.
“Sure, I want to see the church grow, but growth is about more than just numbers. I want to see people grow in spirituality and grow more in their relationships with God. At the same time, I want the church to be a place where people feel welcomed and a part of,” Dick said.
Dick will be splitting his pastoral duties between St. John’s and St. Michael’s Episcopalian Church in Fayette, Ala., while residing in Aberdeen with his wife, 12-year-old son, Zachary and 6-year-old daughter, Lucy.
“We love it here. After growing up in McComb, we lived in Magnolia and Aberdeen reminds us a lot of there. It has everything you need and you can spend the rest of your life here, but still can easily get to interesting places,” Dick said.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.