Rev. Brannan serves First Baptist
He retired from being a full-time pastor in 2005; however, in October of 2009, he returned to ministry and served as a guest speaker and filled in for pastors who were on leave. After receiving a call from the deacons of the First Baptist Church in Linton, Rev. Brannan believed his prayers had been answered.
“I was bored and lonely and feeling useless,” Rev. Brannan said. “I prayed and asked God for an answer, and I know he has this plan for me and this parish.”
The parish offered an interim pastor position to Rev. Brannan after he conducted a service for them last fall. He served as their interim pastor from October of 2012 through February of 2013. On Feb. 17, 2013, the parish called him to be their full-time pastor.
Brannan was living in Sidney, Mont., prior to moving to Linton. He was working in a convenience store and then as a shipping clerk in a leather factory where they made leather horse equipment. Previous to that, he served as a full-time pastor at two churches in Sidney.
Brannan was born and raised in Phoenixville, Pa., and had two brothers and one sister, all of whom are deceased. After graduating from high school in Phoenixville, he attended Williamson Trade School in Media, Pa., received a brick masonry degree in 1958 and worked as a mason and bricklayer.
In July of 1958, Brannan married Sally Cunningham. She passed away in 2009 from cancer. They had five children —two boys and three girls. Paul, Jr. (PJ) is 53, married to Janet, and they live in Sidney with their two boys. Jeffrey Lee is 51, and lives in Dallas, S.D., with his wife, Lorrie. Penny is 49, married toArdee Tyler, and their family lives in Fairview, Okla., with their two children. Cheryl is 47 and lives with her husband, Walter Knudson in Sidney. They have three children. Robyn is 35 and also lives in Sidney.
In 1963, the Brannans moved their family to Columbia, S.C. Rev. Brannan attended Columbia Bible College and received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Education in 1967. He then served as an interim pastor in Pennsylvania for about two years. In 1969, they moved to Hayes Center, Neb., where he served as a pastor for four years.
Over the years, Brannan has been an interim or full-time pastor in various churches in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. He also was a maintenance worker at Crystal Springs Baptist Bible Camp.
Brannan decided to become a pastor after he became a Christian in 1955.
“I felt led by God to be called into His ministry,” he said. “But, I did not know I was going to be a pastor, I thought I would be a teacher.”
Brannan said he did not attend a seminary, partly because it was too expensive for him. At the time that he thought about entering the seminary, they had four children to support, and the money was not there. He recalls while attending college, they had very little to live on and they had to put their trust in the Lord to provide.
“My wife and I learned how to live by faith while I was in college,” Brannan said. “God had to make up the difference when we needed funds to survive.”
Brannan remembers a time in college when friends and colleagues were praying for them, and their prayers were answered. A teacher helped them and paid their rent, so they could have a home for their family. He has relied on the Lord and believes that is how he survived his heart attack in 1989 when doctors said he only had a year to live. He also survived prostate cancer. At the age of 75, he feels he is blessed with good health.
Rev. Brannan’s goal for the First Baptist Church is to expand on their vision which is to glorify God through the warmth of fellowship, the witness of His word, the worship of our Lord and watching for Christ’s return. He hopes to accomplish this by leading a good Bible-reading church.
“I have been around long enough to know there is a lack of knowledge of God in the Christian church,” Rev. Brannan said. “Many only know a little about God, but do not know who he really is.”
He said he has really loved being in Linton and has felt welcomed.
“The people have opened their arms to me, and I pray that I can help not just people in our parish, but all those in our community.”
That, he believes, is what God wants him to do. That is why he feels he was called to Linton.
Brannan has already enjoyed being a part of the community and getting to events such as high school games. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and golfing, and has experienced some of the lifestyle in the area by joining John Beck on the farm working calves, helping veterinarian Dr. Lyle Kenner and visiting the Derry Pool farm when sheep were being sheared.