Brennan Loveless is the pastor of New Life Christian Church’s Chantilly campus. And contrary to his last name, he is indeed loved – and not just by his family. On April 8, congregation members got into some three dozen cars and drove to his home to let him know it.
They were also celebrating an important victory in his fight against cancer. So they made signs and decorated their cars with streamers, balloons and encouraging messages. Then they met in a commuter lot and drove together in a caravan, honking their horns and waving to him when they reached his house.
“Brennan uses his gift from God to lead us in worship on Sundays, and his heart for people is huge,” said church member Dale Spaulding. “Although he’s been battling cancer, the first thing he always asks is, ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘How can I pray for you?’ He’s an inspiration to us all.”
LOVELESS, 34, is married and has three children under age 7. But in October 2019, he was diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer. He underwent weeks of chemotherapy and radiation and will have surgery in a few months. Doctors said his tumor has shrunk, and April 8 was his last treatment – so his New Life congregation decided it was time for a celebration.
“Car after car passed by his house as he and his wife Natalie, daughter Peyton and sons Landon and Greyson stood next to him, waving and smiling, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and kindness,” said church member Elinor Kinnier. “Neighbors, hearing the honking horns and cheers of excitement, came outside to take part in the celebration,” she continued. “And Brennan was thrilled that others were able to experience all this care from his church family.”
Since his diagnosis, Loveless has used this health challenge to share his faith via social media, with his doctors and nurses, and with other cancer patients needing hope. He also learned some things, himself.
“This journey is about nine months long, so I’ve had to be patient with how my body has handled chemo and radiation,” he said. “I’m also remaining joyful. I certainly didn’t ask for this, but it’s now part of my story. My resolve has been to be content with everything God has blessed me with and share some of that hope and joy with others.”
Loveless is also certain that his faith and hope in God has seen him through the toughest of times. And he does his best to have a positive attitude while acknowledging that “every day isn’t all sunshine and roses.” He also wants people to know that his church family “has been a rock for me. They’ve loved and supported me and my family through a myriad of ways, and others, too, can find true community like that at New Life.”
He said prayer and reading his Bible have been key to keeping down his stress and anxiety. In addition, he’s made two, separate, to-do lists nearly every day. One is for things he’d like to accomplish, such as work or a project. The other is for when he’s having a bad day, but can still accomplish simple things such as taking a long shower or playing his guitar and singing
TO OTHERS going through their own battles with COVID-19 or staying home, Loveless advises them to “Control what you can and let go of the rest; surrender your fear and anxiety. We may not be able to control what’s going on in the world, but we can control how we love each other and our families through whatever crisis may come our way. Finishing radiation and chemotherapy was a huge relief. Then being surprised by my church family was a joyful celebration.”
“Because Brennan’s so generous with his smile, heart and laughter, he quickly made a way into the hearts of our whole family,” said New Life member Julie Longmire. “So when he grieves, we grieve; but as he celebrates, we want to celebrate alongside him. We know how hard it is for him to be away from his friends right now and are excited to remind him we’re still here for him, even if we can’t give him the hugs we desperately want to.”
“Brennan took prayer requests from others so he could pray for them during his chemotherapy treatments,” said member Jamie Osterhaus. “He constantly puts others first. He’s more than a friend – he’s family – and we’re grateful he’s nearly finished this battle.”
Allison Williams praised Loveless’s “amazing, positive attitude and perseverance.” And Christine Heath said he and his family showed “grace, strength and closeness to God” throughout his cancer fight.
“Brennan has been there for so many people, even while going through his treatments,” added Tom Hamberger. “It’s been inspirational seeing his faith and knowing God is still working miracles.”
– Elinor Kinnier contributed to this story