Rev. Dexter Nutall (l), here with his wife Tracy, was installed as the new pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Northwest on June 7. Courtesy Photo
The Rev. Dexter Nutall was baptized as a child by Rev. Dr. Walter Fauntroy. Forty years later, Nutall replaced Fauntroy as the lead pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Northwest. The installation service was held June 7.
â€œIt was a long process,â€ said Deacon Kenneth Jones, chair of the Search Committee.
â€œThree [candidates] eventually went before the church one at a time. We then held the vote process that required the person to receive two-thirds of the vote. Rev. Nutall prevailed after the third vote process.â€
When asked what he thought was the prevailing factor, the 20-year member and chair of the Deacon Board said, â€œI believe more than anything he was someone who was familiar to the congregation. He was raised in the church and had close ties to some members.â€
â€œIt is a tremendous honor,â€ said Nutall, 40. â€œIt is very humbling. Many of the people who played significant parts in my life are still here and so to transition and be promoted to a position of spiritual authority of the bodies that has produced me, is a great thrill.â€
Nutall grew up in Southeast in Anacostia and was active in the New Bethel ministry, services, church programs and activities including oratorical contests, attendance at Sunday School, and singing in the childrenâ€™s choir. His first experience with ministry came at the age of four when he memorized and presented James Weldon Johnsonâ€™s â€œCreation,â€ while his sister Fawne dramatized the narration in dance.
It was in 2000 that Nutall acknowledged his call to ministry and preached his trial sermon entitled â€œDonâ€™t Be No Fool.â€ He also delivered a message during a 1980â€™s childrenâ€™s day program at New Bethel entitled, â€œGod, The Superman.â€
Shortly after his trial sermon, the family relocated to Richmond, Va. where Nutall attended the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. During the time, Nutall still traveled to the District to serve in ministry at New Bethel.
Nutall said he had a â€œstrongâ€ inclination that he would pastor New Bethel.
â€œI have always envisioned and God confirmed for me that pastoral ministry would be my destination,â€ he said.
â€œSo while it is a thrill, very exciting, and humbling I canâ€™t say that it comes as a total surprise for me because I accept God at His word and that is the word that was spoken for me and to me multiple years ago.â€
Nutall was ordained in 2005 under the pastorate of Rev. Stephen L. Hewlett at Riverview Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. He earned a Masters of Divinity Degree from Virginia Union in 2007. He also holds a B.S. in Psychology from Mount St. Maryâ€™s College as well as a Law Degree from Howard University School of Law. Just before entering Howard, Nutall met Tracy, who would eventually become his wife.
â€œShe has always known that ministry is part of my destiny,â€ he said. â€œShe has always been my ace, as I call her. She has a very strong personality; is a very intelligent woman, and a very challenging woman but very understanding, supportive, and loving. So as we enter this period of transition, she has been adjusting just as I have.â€
Sheron Patton, who has been with New Bethel for two years, said she is excited about Nutallâ€™s new position as her pastor.
â€œHe is young and full of energy. I am proud to have him as my pastor,â€ she said. Michael Goldring, a New Bethel member, said Nutall is caring and will advocate on behalf of the people and the church.
Fauntroy, now Pastor Emeritus of New Bethel, said he is very excited about the â€œprospect of Dexter Nutall and his generation of young African American pastors becoming the bedrock of the [President Barack] Obama era of world history that we were for the Martin Luther King, Jr. era of world history.â€