Boys Home is delighted to welcome Pete Nunnally to campus this summer. He is working on his field education internship from Virginia Theological Seminary. Pete brings a unique history to his service, as his father, Mike Nunnally, was a resident at Boys Home and currently the basketball coach. Pete also brings a wealth of experience as a teacher, mission director, and youth minister prior to going to seminary.
Pete brought his guitar along to a recent campfire, offering singing and story telling along with s’mores. During chapel over the last school year, he led the boys in singing “Wade in the Water” and told the story of his own faith journey. More recently, he has engaged the boys in making and praying with Anglican prayer beads. During the summer evenings, he is offering a sunset compline service. Pete brings a keen listening heart, eager engagement, and deep faith to his service at Boys Home.
A biography from Pete Nunnally:
I was born and raised in Sterling, Virginia, and grew up hearing stories of Boys Home from my father Mike, who lived at Boys Home from 1956-1963. After graduating from Bridgewater College in 2001, I taught middle school physical education for 6 years before moving to New Orleans in 2008 to rebuild houses with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. While in New Orleans, I became the volunteer coordinator for the Rebuild Program and later, Program Director for Living With Purpose, an Episcopal Service Corps program. Upon returning to Virginia in 2014, I became Director of Spiritual Formation and Youth Ministries for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond until enrolling at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2017. I am passionate about God’s dream for our lives, good music, people, reconciliation, social justice, and building true community that shimmers with the hope of the Kingdom of God. My experience at St. George’s Camp at Shrine Mont taught me that all God’s children are part of the Body of Christ and worthy of dignity and love, while my time in New Orleans instilled in me a passion for racial reconciliation and systemic change. I am a cradle Episcopalian and am deeply thankful for the richness of our tradition and its commitment to a sacramental corporate prayer life and a textured individual spiritual journey in which we search daily for the sacred in places expected and unexpected.
An entry from Pete Nunnally:
I remember wishing as a kid that I could grow up at Boys Home. The stories Dad told about Boys Home and its residents and staff were so alive and electric, as though somehow life here was just…more. I have been at Boys Home as a chaplain for two and a half weeks. I have also been at Boys Home since 1956, when, after becoming a ward of the state and a brief stint in foster care, my father was brought here. These two realities are slowly weaving into one narrative about dislocation, struggle, hope, and redemption.
On the evening of my first day here, after prayer time with Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Sarratt and Mrs. Gordon, chapel time with the boys, and discipleship groups with each cottage, we had dinner. Eating dinner in the dining hall, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was sharing the space with my 14-year old father, a skinny kid with a bright smile and big dreams. I remembered the story he told about when they used to turn out the lights to sing happy birthday during meals. When the lights came back on someone’s head had spaghetti dripping all over it. Today this would garner a whole bunch of demerits.
Dusk spread over my first evening and I sat under the trees by the field and watched boys run and play. Laughter and shouts drifted across the field and through time. Thousands of boys have romped in this field as evenings fell, pale skies slowly darkening to deep mountain blue, like a friend who doesn’t want to go home. Star after star began to twinkle their nighttime hello, the same stars that have shined over so many lives and so many boys. This wasn’t just a beautiful summer mountain night. It was something…more.
In the days since my first evening, I’ve spent time with all the boys and met most of the staff. Things have changed since the 50s and 60s, and even since the 90s and 2000s, and they are also the same. The boys that are here have lived lives of disruption. The individual levels of disruption may vary, but this much is clear: Boys Home is, and always will be, a place where boys find stability, consistency, and love. A place where former Boys Home boys come back to work, and where the staff pour out themselves, their love, and comfort like the Spirit spreading over the watery chaos of creation. Indeed, something new is being created here. Boys Home seems to me at this early stage in my time here as a wellspring of hope for boys who may not have any. A place of healing for those carrying deep wounds. And a place where God’s presence twinkles over the mountains, ripples through the bends of Dunlap Creek, and sparkles across the field in muffled shouts as evening descends, waiting for the new day God has promised.
Chaplain Intern Pete Nunnally
Alumnus and Basketball Coach, Mike Nunnally with son, Pete Nunnally