Striving to travel God’s road

Laughter, a happy childhood and being raised in regular church attendance all helped in directing Brian Erickson to choose some sort of ministry.

He really never dreamed he would be a preacher, but his love for missions carried him to Zimbabwe, Chili, El Salvador, South Africa, Kenya and even to Calcutta to participate in the work of Mother Teresa.

Many trips to the Appalachian Mountains (probably 15 or so), his love for those people, and the bluegrass music are even more precious mission memories.

Having graduated in 1993 from Vestavia High, he attended Birmingham Southern for his bachelors’ degree then Emory University to become a chaplain. His first assignments were to the Birmingham Southern campus and later the University of Evansville in Indiana.

One can easily understand Erickson’s rapport with college age students. He loved teaching, but a year or so ago, began to think maybe he was “missing something” by not participating in that “whole preacher package.”

“We are called to step out of our “comfort zones” and reach the lost,” Erickson said.

He let it be known he might be ready for a pastorate and several times was called about church openings. Nothing really clicked until February 2009 when he was told Kip Laxson would soon be leaving Alabaster United Methodist.

His wife Mollie’s response was, “When do we move?”

After all, moving back to Alabama meant two sets of adoring grandparents in the Birmingham area.

The couple, along with son Henry, 5, and daughter Svea, 4, have been in Alabaster seven months.

Besides playing the guitar and banjo, Brian loves woodworking. One day he would like to build his home full of “arts and crafts” furniture.

Erickson said the best part of being a minister is having a front row seat to what God is doing.

United Methodist has about 900 members and with the help of Assistant Pastor Denise Mullaney, Erickson preaches, teaches, baptizes, visits, attends meetings and acts as leader of vision, growth and public relations. They have traditional and contemporary services and music. The mission statement (new since Brian came) is Seek God, Love People, Live in Hope.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at bobthames1942@yahoo.com.