Rev. Nichols receives Brite Divinity award
Editor’s note: The following story appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram about Rev. Clyde Nichols, a retired minister who writes a weekly column for several newspapers, including The Telegram and The Reporter.
FORT WORTH— It was a “Brite” moment in a shining career for the Rev. Clyde Nichols of Temple on Tuesday.
Nichols, who served as senior minister at the First Christian Church of Temple for 23 years, received the Distinguished Minister Award for Pastoral Ministry from the Brite Divinity School.
Clyde’s son, Rev. Dr. Greg Nichols of Rockdale, made the introduction for the award to the group of about 250 attending the luncheon on the Texas Christian University campus.
Greg noted his father graduated TCU in 1942 with a bachelor’s degree and in 1946 he “saved Brite from failing to have a single graduate.”
His son pointed out, “Clyde is well known to thousands of individuals in Central Texas, most of whom he has never met, who for over four decades have found God near, through his weekly religious column in the Temple Daily Telegram, ‘Lift Up Your Eyes.’ His book by that title was published in 2011.”
With similar humor as his father, Greg noted that after “retiring,” Clyde served the La Porte Community Church as an associate minister for 10 years and then, after his second “retirement,” went with his wife, Marianne, to First Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, where he served as an adjunct minister.
Accepting the award, Clyde Nichols read from a poem, “I Am Debtor,” and said, “That’s my feeling.” The 91-year-old said that he was indebted to so many people, including his family and friends, to the staff at TCU and the Br ite Divinity School, and other people through t he years.
TCU and Brite gave him a foundation on which to build on a very naive faith, he said.
He remembered a professor on his first day of class reading the first chapter of Genesis and saying that was the most beautiful poetry he had ever heard. Nichols described himself as being in shock, drawing laughs when he said, “I knew … that I’d come to the wrong school.”
As he came to a deeper understanding, all of that changed. He served seven churches before retiring at age 65, he said, and was called to all seven “because of my friends.”
Greg told a story of how a Timothy of the Temple church told his mother he was resigning from his church and leaving the ministry. The mother came to the church to talk to Clyde about it. Through her tears she said, “Clyde, you have never thought of leaving the ministry, have you?” Greg recounted how Clyde paused and replied, “My dear, I think about it just about every Monday morning.”
Later, however, when he was telling Greg about it, Clyde said he was kept in the ministry “from watching men and women, boys and girls, step out of their pew, come down to the front of the sanctuary, make their confession of faith to their Savior, and dedicate their lives to God and his service.”