Dave Dials comes to Newberg after three years in secluded Cordova, Alaska

It’s not too often that someone moves to Oregon or the Pacific Northwest and finds the amount of rain to be a step down.

That was the case, however, for Dave Dial, who took over as pastor at Newberg Church of Nazarene in December after spending three years in Cordova, Alaska, which averages more than twice the rain (90-plus inches annually) than Newberg does.

Due to its extreme isolation, Dial said he and his wife, Wendy, refer to their time in Cordova as their “mission stop,” as the small town is accessible only by ferry or airplane.New to Newberg - Dave, Abby and Wendy Dial have come to join the flock at Newberg Church of the Nazarene after spending three and a half years in Cordova, Alaska. Dave is taking over for longtime pastor Ed Nichols, who stepped down last summer after 21 years.

“When you live in a secluded place like Cordova, there are a lot of things here that are exciting,” Dial said of Newberg. “I like to ride motorcycles, so that’s really a lot of fun to have some place that you can go instead of just making circles. I have thousands of miles in any direction that I can travel, where in Cordova I had 52 miles of paved road, so it’s nice.”

Dial is taking over following the departure of longtime pastor Ed Nichols, who spent 21 years at Newberg Church of the Nazarene before stepping down last summer. Nichols and his wife, Carrie, are currently pursuing ministry work in the Caribbean island of Domenica.

Retired Washington pastor John Beadles served as interim pastor for six months, as the church board worked with its denomination’s district superintendent for about six months to find a replacement. The board chose Dial from a pool of four candidates that, by the end, was cut to two as a pair took themselves out of the running.

As a denomination, the Church of the Nazarene has a formal process in which both the individual church board and prospective pastors fill out a survey listing their top priorities. Only those candidates that share enough top priorities with a prospective church are considered.

Board member Sam Smith said leadership was at the top of the church leadership’s list and being the first time he had participated in a search, was worried that the congregation’s priorities might differ from the board’s. He was told by the district superintendent that he would likely be surprised by the results.

“It was almost identical one through 12, with maybe one or two flopped” Smith said. “Prayer is a powerful thing for everybody to get on the same thought wave. It’s really amazing to see.”

Smith, it seems, feels similarly about choosing Dial to become pastor.

“We love them and they seem to be a good fit in the community,” he said. “He’s already proven himself to be a real leader and has got the board doing some leadership reading. I think we’re already seeing some real positives. I’ve heard people talk about that spark and enthusiasm that’s been missing for a while. It’s really encouraging to hear that kind of thing from the congregation.”

Smith said Dial has already taken the initiative in leading the church into more of a community role, as this year’s mission trip will be replaced with a service effort here in Newberg.

“I’ve had a number of people wanting more of God and more of a relationship, building a team mentality and a fellowship in the church,” Dial added. “I know that we have an element in the church of family as far as there are extended families in the church, but there is a sense that we need to get to know each other better. I really appreciate that.”

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