Chesla T. Nickelson was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia where she led and participated in a multitude of church, community and school activities. In 2005 Chesla received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Religion from Spelman College. As a college student, Chesla played an integral role in HIP 4 HOP (Happiness In Praise 4 His Overflowing Presence), a campus ministry that worked with local churches and other organizations to develop youth and young adult ministries as well as ministry with people who have never been associated with a faith community and people who have been hurt by and thus disassociated from faith communities.
In 2013 Chesla received both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Chesla has worked as a mentor and tutor for the YMCA, volunteered as a Chaplain for spirituality groups for homeless veterans, and continues to facilitate workshops and therapy groups concerning young adult Christians, marital preparation, sexuality and spirituality, social justice and clergy self care among others.
Chesla became a Disciple when she joined Ray of Hope Christian Church (Atlanta, GA) in 2001. Since that time, Chesla has been immersed in various aspects of the Christian Church. She has served with the Executive Committee of the Disciples Peace Fellowship and the Disciples Leadership Institute and has been an intern for Global Ministries (Division of Overseas Ministries) and Reconciliation Ministry. Most recently, Chesla was the Minister of Leader Development for Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation. Currently, Chesla serves as the Co-President of the Young Adult Fellowship of the National Convocation.
As a member of Light of the World Christian Church (Indianapolis, IN), Chesla has served as the Assistant Youth Minister and serves with the Young Adult Ministry. She is a fan of the Justice League, loves roller coasters and is the reigning Game Night Champion of Taboo.
As Chesla strives to live out her purpose and calling in a way that pleases God, she lives by a two word command; Love unconditionally.