By Carolyn Warnemuende
Rev. Richard Pacheco’s history is one of challenge, and growth. Born and raised in New York City, he now lives in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania. Richard lived and worked in the city when 911 occurred. “My office was only seven blocks from the attacks,” he said. That event and the experience of a friend losing his life, were catalysts for him to begin looking deeply at his personal growth and how beliefs affect one’s life.
Richard shared that as a youth, he was always heavyset. By the time he was in his early 30s, he had reached 625 pounds. He made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery. As the result of a problem with one of the staples, he became septic and nearly made his transition. Through experiencing the trauma of illness, he discovered that getting well and remaining healthy required being mentally and spiritually ready. Up until that time, he had considered himself an agnostic. Now he longed for a spiritual path that he could believe in and commit to.
While listening to Randy Gage’s book Prosperity Mind, Richard heard the words, “It’s a sin to be poor,” and he began to understand how prosperity works in one’s life. The prosperity concepts resonated strongly with him, and he learned that Randy’s’ spiritual community was Unity. He Googled “Unity” and discovered that Unity of NEPA in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was just a few minutes from where he lived. Unity became Richard’s path, and over the past 12 years, he has served his church as a speaker, webmaster, social media master, sound technician, and program planner.
Several years ago, Rev. Diane Sickler told Richard he would make a good minister. He took a year to decide about beginning the journey. Being a bit confused about the process, Rev. Ogun Holder introduced him to Unity Urban Ministerial School. Shortly thereafter, he spoke with Rev. Catherine Thomas and his desire to begin at UUMS. She said, “Are you ready to start today?” And he enrolled! The path was not easy, and some administrative challenges required that his ordination be postponed by a few years. Rev. Sandra Campbell told him to stay the course; that his test would be his testimony. He rose to the challenge and not only became ordained in 2021 but has worked with Rev. Sandra to refine the program so that no other students would have the same setback that he had.
Richard has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and served many roles including martial arts instructor and educational specialist. He holds three black belts in martial arts. Personal growth is a passion, and he knows that whatever happens in life, “…you need to put your own responsibility on top of it.”
As well as working professionally as a technology expert in a call center, being married and the father to four children, and serving as the UUMS webmaster, Richard works tirelessly to assist his church which needed to close during the pandemic. It is reopening as a study group. “I love everything I do, and I have a lot on my plate,” he shares.
Richard is currently prayerfully reflecting on what direction his ministry will take. “Right now, I’m considering three options,” he says. “Perhaps I will plant a church, aspire to become a senior minister at another church, or stay where I am.” Whatever Richard’s future holds, he will continue to be the blessing that he is.