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KENTUCKY: St. Andrew's pastor feels called to Versailles

St. Andrew's pastor feels called to Kentucky

By Frank E. Lockwood

VERSAILLES - As an associate minister at one of the nation's largest
Episcopal churches, the Rev. David Brannen had a secure job in a
conservative western Pennsylvania diocese. But he gave it all up to lead
a congregation with no building, no budget, no history and no guarantees.

It's a decision he and his wife have struggled with. "Claire has asked
me a million times, 'Are you sure you're getting this right?'" he told
his new congregation yesterday. "I have told her time and time again,
'Yes, this is the Lord.'"

Brannen, the new rector of St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Versailles,
said he has felt called by God before, in 1990.

At the time, Brannen had a job as communications director for the
Muscogee County School District in Georgia, but he gave it up and
enrolled at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa.

That is where he believed God wanted him to be, so that is where he went.

He got a job as communications director at St. Stephen's Episcopal
Church in Sewickley, Pa., and, after four years, became its evangelism

In 1996, he became associate rector, earned a master's of divinity
degree and was ordained Dec. 29 that year.

This is the first time Brannen, 48, has led a congregation, but leaders
at his new church said he has the temperament, theology and passion for
evangelism that they were hoping for.

"Upon meeting David, the sense that this was the Lord's choice for our
church was overwhelming," said search committee member Judge Wilson. "It
was immediate, it was clear, and it was unanimous."

Another committee member, John Edwards, said he was struck by Brannen's
warmth and his emphasis on the Bible.

"David preached the word," he said, "and there was no compromise, no
wiggle room."

As pastor of a new church, Brannen said, "things feel risky. There are a
lot of uncertainties."

But his resolve has not weakened. "I am certain of this," he said. "I am
called to the community of Versailles."


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