Chaplain Nick Meyer
Chaplain Nick Meyer is the chaplain to Coffeewood Correctional Center. While new to GraceInside in 2017, he isn’t new to Coffeewood. Chaplain Meyer performed part of his Clinical Pastoral Education experience under Chaplain Robby Burke at Coffeewood in 2014. When offered the opportunity to return, he decided he felt God’s nudge to bring him back.
“I had good memories of my time there three years earlier. The vitality of the church here [at CCC] spoke to me. I really wanted to serve as their pastor.” And, now, he does. Through worship, classes and the privileges afforded to a Level 2 security facility, Chaplain Meyer has enjoyed working with the 1000 men housed there.
“Recognizing that all of these men will be returning to our communities in the next 3 years,” Chaplain Meyer focuses on their “spiritual growth and wellbeing, healing, nurturing and reconciliation.” He is committed to the role of advocate for their religious and basic human rights. In a co-pastoral role for Early Church, a Mennonite church in Harrisonburg, Chaplain Meyer earned his street smarts through 8 – 10 years of working with the men in the community center which housed the young church. This background exposed him to the homelessness, alcoholism and poverty that so often plague the prison population – both before and after release. It is there he learned the value of consistency and the importance of treating everyone as individuals with grace – and learning his own limits.
One of the highlights of his ministry at Coffeewood was serving communion to 100 men not long after beginning with GraceInside. Communion has always been “an important ritual of unity, kind of levels the playing field sharing one common loaf of bread. It was beautiful. One hundred of us all together proclaiming the headship of Christ. All from different backgrounds, from all over… there was something transcendent, something more going on here than what we are physically doing.”
A graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and Eastern Mennonite Seminary (where he served full-time as a grounds specialist for the college and while in seminary), Chaplain Meyer comes to us with a heart for growing and shaping things. When not shaping people, he loves to landscape, work in the yard, chop firewood (seriously!), bicycle and visit coffee shops. He and his wife, Sylvia, have been married since 2006 and enjoy the great outdoors, hiking and walking together.
It seems Chaplain Meyer and his wife both have a heart for those behind bars. Sylvia served for more than a year as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher at Shenandoah Juvenile Detention Center. Currently, she teaches in middle school and is supportive of Chaplain Meyers call to the prison ministry.
We are delighted to have Chaplain Nick Meyer join our GraceInside family as a chaplain so he can continue his shaping and growing of people! Welcome, Chaplain Meyer!