The Rev. Dr. Roger Nicholson

The Rev. Dr. Roger Nicholson

Passed on Saturday, 28 May 2022
The Rev. Roger S. Nicholson, who had roots in the historic Massachusetts Conference and who served in a variety of roles in the historic Connecticut Conference, including as Interim Conference Minister, died May 28, 2022 in Verona, PA. 

He is survived by his daughters Karen Nicholson of Stratford, NJ, Alison Francis (David) of Pittsburgh, PA, and sons Mark Nicholson (Dinorha Medina) of Belgrade, ME and Jason Arth (Meredith Allen) of San Rafael, CA, a brother, William, of Danvers, MA, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.   Roger was predeceased by his first wife, Rosemarie Kissling of Salem, MA, and his second wife, Anne Walkama of Portland, OR, as well as two sisters, Phyllis Gifford (Topsfield, MA), Jean Geary (Beverly, MA), and a brother, David (Springfield, MA).

Born in Salem, MA, he was the second child of Harold Forbes and Anne (Stewart) Nicholson, and a 1945 graduate of Salem Classical and High School. He grew up active in scouting and achieved the Eagle rank. He served as a staff member of the North Shore Council Camp Norshoco, rising to assistant director. He graduated from Tufts University in 1949 and entered Yale University Divinity School, receiving the Master of Divinity Degree in 1952. Upon receiving a call to serve as assistant pastor at The Park Church in Elmira, NY, he was ordained by the Essex South Association of the Congregational-Christian Church of America in 1952. The ordination was held at his home church, Tabernacle Congregational Church of Salem, MA. The Rev. Dr. Roland H. Bainton, Professor of Church History at Yale Divinity School and renowned Reformation Scholar, officiated. In 1954, Roger became minister to young adults at Asbury First Methodist Church in Rochester, NY.  In 1957 he received a call to be Senior Pastor of South Congregational Church in East Hartford, CT, where he served for 21 years. An active member of the historic Connecticut Conference, Uhe served as its Moderator in 1976 and also chaired the Board of Directors. In 1979 he pioneered the role of Minister-at-Large under the Raymond Fund of the Congregational Church of New Canaan, serving Connecticut churches in transition between ministers, ultimately serving 22 different congregations. (See a related 1994 Hartford Courant article) He led the development of the historic Connecticut Conference Interim Ministry program and served as Interim Conference Minister during its search for a new executive in the late 90s. He received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Hartford Seminary in 1983 and was cited by the Seminary for distinction in parish ministry in 1990.

A member of the Interim Ministry Network and a faculty member in its training program, Roger edited the seminal book about interim ministry, Temporary Shepherds, under the Alban Institute.  A 51-year member of Rotary International, he was a past president of the East Hartford, CT Rotary Club and a Paul Harris fellow. He served as Coordinator of Volunteers for Heifer International in Connecticut from 1983 to 2003 and became Western Pennsylvania Volunteer Coordinator in 2004. While coordinator in Connecticut he co-chaired the development task force for Overlook Farms in Rutland, MA, Heifer International's Northeast Regional Center. 

A fervent Red Sox fan, Roger adored his grandchildren, a good cup of hot coffee, a corny pun, strawberry ice cream, and his newspaper. His gentle spirit, abundant compassion, and human kindness touched many people, and he enriched the lives of all who knew him. Services will be private. Arrangement by Schellhaas Funeral Home, Bakerstown, PA. 

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