The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Brother John: The man behind the voice

Photo by Photo by Tenoch Aztecatl

Many students have become accustomed to the sights and sounds of Brother John’s sermons as he delivers them about 14 times per week at Rudder Plaza. Brother John preaches nearly 14 times a week on the Texas A&M campus.

Students walking through Rudder Plaza on a regular class day have probably seen a man standing next to a sign reading “Save the Chapel,” passionately preaching his sermon as hundreds of students walk by to and from class.
That man is John Ellison, Class of 1982, or more commonly Brother John.
Since 2012, Ellison has spent nearly everyday of the semester preaching to a mobile crowd of students as they walk past his sermon.
At the sound of the bell tower’s gong at 5 a.m., 12 p.m. and 7 p.m., Ellison begins the message that he delivers nearly 14 times a week. On his time away from the stage in Rudder Plaza, Ellison also works two shifts a day as an elementary school bus driver.
Having originally preached at College Station’s All Faiths Chapel, since early 2009, Ellison eventually made the location switch to Rudder Plaza after realizing the chapel doors were locked one morning.
“I came up one morning and the chapel was locked,” Ellison said. “And I sensed a prompting to come out here, so I’ve been here for about five years.”
While he delivers his sermon several times a day, Ellison said that in his five years preaching on the plaza, he has yet to attract much of audience.
“I have never drawn a crowd,” Ellison said. “I had four or five young people gather [at Rudder Plaza] one time and we got into a discussion, but that was as many people as I’ve ever talked to at one time.”
Although it may appear as if students are constantly ignoring his presence, Ellison has caught the eyes and ears of many Aggies walking by. Communication junior Kyra Rodriguez, said she admires Ellison’s dedication and the amount of dedication it demonstrates.
“He’s so perseverant,” Rodriguez said. “And he’s one of the few who actually has a heart for the people. It takes a lot of character.”
Standing and delivering his sermon for hours every day catches the attention from many passersby, like communication sophomore Steven Anderson.
“I feel like he’s passionate,” Anderson said. “He’s passionate about what he has to say and he knows [there are] people calling him crazy, but he’s still pushing the agenda for what he believes in.”
Ellison said that it is words of encouragement by various students that give him much of the endurance needed to deliver his message at such demanding hours. He said that encouragement sometimes comes when he needs it most.
“It’s very interesting that people will come up to me and make those kind of comments,” Ellison said. “And often right when you need to hear them. If I’m feeling really discouraged, then they’ll come up.”
Although his schedule is quite busy, Ellison said he plans to continue preaching on Rudder Plaza “as long as the Lord needs” and invites students to speak with him regardless of their religious beliefs.

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