‘It’s my calling’

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B-CU senior heading next to Duke, then into the ministry

Brayan Wilcox
Bryant Wilcox plans to be a pastor, but
not in the traditional sense.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Bryant Wilcox wants to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Wilcox is a religion major at Bethune-Cookman University with a 3.6 grade average. He’s set to receive his bachelor’s degree in May from the university.

He was recently accepted into the Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, with a full scholarship. There, he will pursue his master’s degree in religion.

The Divinity School has over 600 students, but the makeup is less than 20 percent African American. According to its website, the  university’s acceptance rate in 2019 for minority applicants was 32 percent.

“It feels great. My first reaction was shock. I just couldn’t believe that I was going to get in. It’s an honor. I am proud and humbled,” Wilcox told the Daytona Times about being accepted into the school.

Ministry Outlook

Wilcox is ready for any challenges that he could face.

“It’s just a matter of transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school. There will also be an increase in workload. I am also far away from home. I have never been this far away from home,’’ said Wilcox, who is from Jacksonville.

He has a non-traditional outlook on his ministry goals.

“I want to be in the ministry but not in the traditional sense. I want to be a pastor, but I don’t want to be just limited to the church. I want to get out in the community and help the community,” he explained.

“I can see myself being a pastor but also working for a non-profit organization that works on improving the community whether through community involvement, community development, etc.”

Religious Upbringing

For as long as he can remember, Wilcox has been attracted to the ministry.

“It’s my calling. My call is with my interest in the people. I am concerned about the well-being of humanity. I want to not just make people feel good but make them want to do better,” expressed Wilcox.

Wilcox was raised in Jacksonville by a religious family.

His father, Howard Wilcox, is a deacon, and his mother, Pamela Wilcox, is the mother of the church at Summerville Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville. His maternal grandfather was a pastor there. His maternal family started the church.

“My upbringing is very instrumental in my current and future success. My family is very spiritual and religious. They instilled in me strong values and principles,” said Wilcox.

Youngest of Five

Wilcox, 22, is the youngest of five siblings; his siblings are much older than him ranging from ages 33 to 47.

“My parents are older. They are religious but they never forced anything upon me. They have always been supportive. I am thankful and appreciative of them. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.”

Life at B-CU

Wilcox calls his time at B-CU influential and rewarding.

“My experiences at Bethune-Cookman – I wouldn’t change for anything in the world. There have been some challenges, but I wouldn’t change them,’’ he noted.

“B-CU has helped transform me into the person that I am today. It has really influenced me spiritually and allowed me to grow and progress as a person.’’

The student also has held down a job as a paid intern with the New Birth Corporation, which oversees activities, programs and the preservation of the historic Howard Thurman Home in Daytona Beach.

Experience in Daytona

Wilcox’s time working at the Thurman home also has helped him grow.

“Working there has helped me grow and develop professionally as BCU has spiritually,” Wilcox related.

“For the past two years, I have helped with events and programs. I have helped teach students how to read, write and learn formats such as MLA and Chicago style. I feel that I can go out and do that anywhere,” he added.

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