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On the 19th day of Women's History Month 2023, Rev. Dr. Nichole R. Drakeford was called to become the eight and first female Senior Pastor in the 117-year history of the First Baptist Church of Vauxhall.  Affectionately known as Rev. Nikki within the church community, her love for First Baptist Church grew quickly when she arrived to complete a unit of supervised ministry with a concentration in preaching and worship under the tutelage of her spiritual father, the late Rev. Dr. Marion J. Franklin, Jr. After much prayer and counsel, she joined First Baptist Church on July 25, 2010. Pastor Franklin and the First Baptist Church summoned an Ordaining Council which ordained her on January 22, 2012.


Prior to joing First Baptist, Reve Nikki was a member of Sharon Baptist Church in New Brunswick, NJ. Shew was very actively involved in the church since the age of seven and continued as she matured in the Lord. Her desire a passion to lead people to Christ is evident as she started the young adult ministry (YAM), praise and worship team (Anointed Praise) and taught Commitment Classes, a contemporary bible study. On January 28, 2007, the Sharon Baptist Church licensed her to ministry.

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In May 2016, Rev. Nikki earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Union University where her dissertation was entitled, "Change without Chaos: Beginning Conversations and Transitions for Pastoral Succession in the African American Baptist Church." Dr. Nikki obtained the Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary where she was awarded the Rev James Eelman Award for excellence in preaching. She also attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Information Systems an Sciences.

While at Morgan State, she was a member of the Bear Battalion, ROTC program which commissioned her into the US Army in May, 2000. Lieutenant Colonel Drakeford retired with 22 years of service in the fall of 2022 to honor the promise she made to God. LTC Drakeford is presently in charge of the JROTC program at Hillside High School in NJ.

Humbled that God would call her to do HIs ministry she takes great comfort in Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Dr Nikki remains excited about preaching God's Word, loving & pastoring the people of God and waits in great anticipation of what is yet to come.

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