By Donna Parker
Nina Nichols, who majored in both music and religion at Trinity, loves urban ministry and finds herself in just the right position as senior pastor of Christ Church United Methodist in Troy, N.Y., which is located near Albany, the capital of New York. After graduating from Trinity, Nina obtained her master’s degree in divinity from the University of Chicago and was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church. She has since served Methodist churches in a number of locations, both in Texas and Illinois. Her latest appointment at Christ Church involves ministry to a diverse and urban community in upstate New York.
“Urban ministry involves me in political and cultural interfacing in cities which I love. In response to the diversity of urban life, our congregation adopted a statement affirming our welcome of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, marital status, race, ethnic background, economic condition, and physical or mental ability as full participants in our community of faith,” says Nina. “We have a downtown population with diverse needs and we do our best to respond to those needs. The city environment wrought with poverty and hunger means that I’m able to make a difference as a Christian. The homeless often walk through our church doors.”
Nina, who preaches at one worship service on Sunday mornings, frequently uses multi-media such as movie clips to set up her service.
Nina and her husband, Andrew Torres ’94, also volunteer with Joseph’s House and Inn from the Cold, two Troy programs established to meet the needs of the homeless.
Nina, who loves to run and read novels for breaks from her church life, has three children with Andrew: Micah, 10; Moses, 8; and Joseph, 6.
“I’m blessed to have a supportive husband. I come into church very early on Sunday and Andrew gets the kids ready for Sunday school. The children also serve as acolytes during service.”
The couple met while Trinity students during an alternative spring break trip, getting engaged a short two months later. Both enjoyed their college years and Nina fondly recalls her advisor, Paula Cooey, department of religion.
“She is still a huge influence today. Her class was my first ‘B,’ and at first I was devastated, but it challenged me to improve,” laughs Nina.
“When I studied abroad my junior semester in London, I was looking into Christian theology, but Paula encouraged me to expand my horizons and study Islamic mysticism and African religion.”
Nina is looking ahead after serving at Christ Church for the last 4 years. “You know, this is the longest I’ve served a church and it follows a period of family leave during which I spent time at home with my kids. That made me re-examine how I live my life, so instead of being so driven to climb the church career ladder, I’m very focused on making things right here.”
After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions. We are looking for suggestions in these four categories: 1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator