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Welcome Back, Rev. Nelson – A half century later, St. John’s celebrates the anniversary of the arrival of pastor who served the church for 30 years

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By Mark E. Vogler


St. John’s Episcopal Church invites parishioners and others in the community to its worship service and a special reception on Sunday, Sept. 17, as it welcomes back The Rev. Roger Nelson to mark the 50th anniversary of his arrival at the church. The Rev. Nelson, 83, now retired and living in New York with family, was called to St. John’s in 1973 and served as priest and pastor for 30 years until his retirement in 2003. The worship service is set for 10 a.m., followed by a reception in Ashworth Hall at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 8 Prospect Street, Saugus.

During his three decades at St. John’s, Rev. Nelson focused on the youth of the parish, led the Episcopal Youth Community (EYC) for many years and was very active in ecumenical and outreach ministries that extended beyond the church. He maintained the parish’s ecumenical engagement with other clergy in the community as a member of the former Saugus Council of Churches (which evolved into the Saugus Clergy Association). For several years, Rev. Nelson sponsored a young man from South Sudan who later graduated from Tufts University and became a U.S. citizen.

After leaving St. John’s in April of 2003, Rev. Roger was called to a youth ministry role as a part-time priest at The Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Mass. In 2017, he retired and moved to New York City to be closer to his family.

To honor his long-term commitment to St. John’s, the church continues a scholarship fund named for the reverend and his late wife (Dotsie), to benefit parishioners who are graduating students. She died in 2012.

Priest-in-charge Rev. John Beach issued an announcement this week, advising members of the church and community that they are “warmly invited to join us in welcoming The Rev. Roger Nelson on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his arrival as priest and pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church.” For more information call 781-233-1242 or email StJohnsSaugus@gmail.com

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