James Ullian, my Facebook page says that I am “a sinner being saved by God’s grace and a servant called to follow Jesus.”
Growing up on Long Island, NY, my family was not religious. In fact, church and faith was foreign to me. I enlisted in the US Coast Guard out of high school. After basic training, into the USCG reserve, I went off to Marshall University. While a student at Marshall University where I completed my undergraduate degree in Journalism and Speech, I came into a relationship with Christ. About a year later, I felt God calling me into ministry and through the mentoring of a caring pastor chose to attend Asbury Theological Seminary.
While in seminary, I received a reserve commission as a line officer in the Coast Guard. I remained in the reserves until I retired as a Commander in 1998. After serving churches for 11 years in the West Virginia Conference and 22 years in the Virginia Conference, I retired from full time ministry in 2009.
I also worked towards an Ed. D. in Counseling Psychology at West Virginia University, although I stopped short of completing the degree. While still in the US Coast Guard Reserve, I attended and graduated from the US Naval War College, College of Command and Staff, Newport, Rhode Island.
In 2009, I took on a retirement career and after graduating from the VB Sheriff’s Office academy, served as a deputy sheriff in VB. After just, over 5 years, I decided I to retire and find some diversions.
Throughout the years, I considered volunteering in my community a way to move out of the four walls of the church and contribute to the community and bear witness to my faith. I have been a volunteer firefighter, a soccer coach, home room father for my children’s elementary school, and an organizer for a high school swim team. In one community, I served as chaplain for a regional hospice.
After retiring from the Coast Guard, I got involved as a chaplain with the VB police department, chaplain for the Secret Service, and for the past 18 years or so I have served as a chaplain with Law Enforcement United, an organization dedicated to remembering the lives of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and supporting their families. Since 2015, I have been serving as a chaplain with the FBI, Norfolk Field Office.
Maureen and I have been married for 47 years. Our son, David and his wife, Karleigh, our daughter Leah and our grandchildren, Nash and Eden all live in Virginia Beach. When I am not watching my grandkids, I enjoy woodworking, boating, and photography.
I have been called to serve as an interim pastor at several different churches in the Elizabeth River District. I look forward to the opportunity to be with the CUMC family during this time of transition.