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Rev. Nelson R. Murphy

Bridge Pastor Nelson R. Murphy
Bridge Pastor

Nelson was born in Silver City, New Mexico, on July 4th, 1946. He graduated from high school in Tucson, Arizona (1964), and Hope College, Holland, Michigan (1968). He worked as a mutual fund salesman until 1969, but soon realized that making a lot of money was not going to create the meaningful career that he desired. Attending McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago seemed more promising and a student internship at Grand Avenue UCC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, confirmed his calling to ministry.

When his M.Div. requirements were completed in 1973, Nelson returned to become the Interim Pastor at Grand Ave. Six months later, he was called to be the next settled pastor. Needing some time and distance to consider this promising possibility, he accepted a temporary assignment with the Southwest Conference to research the prospects for starting a new UCC church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (just outside of Albuquerque).  

Soon, the prospects for success looked good, and unexpectedly, the Southwest Conference called Nelson to become the Organizing Pastor of what became, St. Paul’s UCC (1974). Next, he become the Pastor of Redeemer United Church of Christ in Sussex, Wisconsin (1979). Then Nelson joined the national staff of the Reformed Church in America in New York City (1981); accepted a similar position with the National Council of the Churches (1991); and was employed by United Church Funds in 2001. (United Church Funds manages DUC’s endowment assets. Thank you for using the UCC’s socially responsible investment program!)

While at the NCC, Nelson also served two times as a part-time Interim of a Reformed Church in Mahwah, NJ. While working for United Church Funds, he also served one summer (2006) as the stated supply preacher at First Congregational UCC in Harwich Center. Then, after flunking retirement in 2015, he became the Interim at a UCC in Baltimore, MD

Although Nelson and his wife Sandie, like living in Baltimore, they have worshipped at DUC during summer vacations for over 10 years. They were married in the First Congregational UCC in Albuquerque in 1975. Their son Austin (b. 1977) works for the Space Telescope Science Institute (think Hubble Space Telescope). He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and three of the Murphy’s grandchildren, ages 10, 6, and 1-1/2 years. Austin’s wife, Dr. Jennifer Orthmann-Murphy, MD, PhD, is an emerging leader in Multiple-Sclerosis research at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Murphy’s daughters, Meegan and Allison, were born in Albuquerque (1979) and New Jersey (1982) respectively. Meegan is a middle school vice-principal in New Brunswick, NJ, where she lives with her husband and two more of the Murphy’s grandchildren, ages 7 and 5. Meegan’s husband, Samuel Adames, hails from the Dominican Republic, and runs a growing construction business. Daughter Allison lives in Roselle Park, NJ, and is a hedge-fund analyst at BNY/Mellon in New York City.

During this Bridge Ministry, the Murphy’s will reside at their vacation condominium in Brewster.