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Northport church mourns loss of pastor who died suddenly

NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT)-A Northport church congregation is grieving the sudden death of their pastor Dr James Nichols just days before Easter.  Many hearts are heavy at Chapel Hill Baptist church including administrator Rob Livingston.

"Today we are in mourning because we lost the leader of our church.  But we also rejoice because we know he is with his heavenly father" Livingston said.

Livingston says everyone at church called his pastor Dr. J.  Church daycare worker Tracie Durant is also saddened to lose her pastor.

"I saw him in the hallways and he always made my day better by greeting me in the hallway.  There was just a warmth and I knew he loved the people in Northport.  He would just make me smile and with his friendliness and warmth.  I was glad to see him and I knew he cared about everyone that worked at the church" Durant said.

Dr. J passed away early Tuesday morning at a local hospital after being sick for several weeks.  His family and friends thought he was only suffering from allergies.  But it turned out to be a virus that paralyzed one side of the pastors vocal chords.

Rob Livingston says his pastor will be missed.

"He said what he meant and meant what he said.  He loved to have a good time and he was a jokester
and not everyone got to see that.  But when he preaced the word of God he preached with all his heart
and his heart wanted to see people saved and to have that relationship with Jesus no matter where we were".

Pastor Nichols served nine years at Chapel Hill Baptist church. Funeral services will he held Thursday
at Chapel Hill with visitation from 10 until noon with the funeral to follow.


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