By Darrell Todd Maurina
On Sunday, Clovis resident and retired state police Capt. Alan Brockmeier exchanged his police uniform to become a man of the cloth with a different color — the black cassock and white collar of an ordained Episcopal priest.
Raised in a small German denomination that merged with the United Methodists in 1968, Brockmeier said he became an Episcopalian about 10 years ago out of love for the rituals and high-church liturgy of the Anglican tradition. Brockmeier’s wife Suzanne had been raised as an Episcopalian and brought him to St. James Episcopal Church in Clovis while they were dating.
“She said, ‘You’re not going for me, are you?’ and I said, ‘No, I loved it.’”
Brockmeier had been active as a lay leader in his former church affiliations and soon became a eucharistic minister in St. James, bringing communion to sick people who could not attend church. Eventually, he came to believe God wanted him to enter full-time ministry.
“The Lord kept calling and I kept saying ‘no,’” Brockmeier said. “I just didn’t think I was worthy. That went on about six months until I went out to help my father at Fort Sumner, and they were having an evangelist come to preach a revival. All of a sudden I felt a hand on my shoulder, and (the evangelist) told me, ‘I don’t know anything about you, but the Lord is telling me there is a man here called to ministry and he is saying no and I need to tell you that.’”
After that experience, Brockmeier said he spoke with the Rev. John Rollinson, pastor of St. James, who began the process to send Brockmeier to a special Episcopal training program designed for older men called to ministry who don’t have seminary training.
“It’s about a 78-step process with a lot of boards, committees, interviews, and psychological testing,” Brockmeier said. “I had an associate’s degree, but I had to have a bachelor’s degree so I went back to ENMU. Once I completed that, I had some other steps and they sent me to seminary to study for a year.”
Brockmeier finished 33 graduate hours, about a third of the standard three-year seminary program, through a branch campus in New Mexico of an Episcopal seminary based on the east coast. Now that he’s fully ordained, he will serve a four-parish charge with congregations in Clovis, Fort Sumner, Portales, and Tucumcari. Brockmeier said he will usually be preaching and administering the sacraments at two small Episcopal congregations in Portales and Fort Sumner, each with less than a dozen people attending.
After three decades in the New Mexico State Police, Brockmeier said his pension makes it possible to serve the small churches without a salary.
“They don’t have enough members or resident income to support a rector or a vicar,” Brockmeier said. “The Lord has blessed us so we can serve other people. They are excited to have us come and be with them.”
While some wonder how a state policeman could become a pastor, Brockmeier said he didn’t see the two roles as contradictory.
“To me, they are not so much different,” Brockmeier said. “Basically, the Lord created laws to be observed by everyone. What we have done as a society is adopted from the biblical codes more explicit codes so we can co-exist together with freedom and security.”
“When you are a good law enforcement officer, you realize you serve the public,” Brockmeier said. “You become very good at reading people and learning from them.”
Rollinson said Brockmeier will make a good priest.
“Alan is already widely known and widely respected in our community,” Rollinson said. “The man obviously has been gifted by God for this expanding ministry.”
“I’m also encouraged by the fact that two other young men, encouraged by Alan’s example, are going through the school for ministry,” Rollinson said.