About the Pastor

Nick Connolly

Nick was born in Newark, N.J. At about the age of four, he had a powerful experience of gratitude to God for his existence. Raised in a home where spirituality and love of God were foremost, he early developed sensitivity to the things of God. He studied piano, organ and guitar, later awakened in a desire to praise God through sacred music.

After graduating from Xavier High School in Manhattan, Nick entered the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order of priests and brothers. There followed twelve years of preparation for ordination through novitiate, college and graduate school, a period of teaching high school from 1967 to 1969 at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. Then came theology studies, culminating at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He was ordained in 1972.

The next twelve years found him serving in a variety of ministries, first as a hospital chaplain in Kenmore, N.Y., then as campus minister at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. As part of a six-month period of spiritual renewal, Nick was a prison chaplain in Portland, Oregon. For four months during that time he lived in anonymity on Skid Row with another Jesuit. This experience resulted in a deeper surrender and trust in the providence of God and compassion for God’s little ones. He studied Spanish in Cochabamba, Bolivia, followed by ministry in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Colegio and Parish of San Ignacio. Later, Nick became pastor of The Church of the Nativity on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

A change in the direction of his life came when he married Georgina Pando in 1984. While working in the field of counseling God’s grace led them to The United Methodist Church. In 1987 his ordination was recognized and he was welcomed as an elder, serving in various churches in New Jersey. Since 2019 he has been pastor of The Matawan United Methodist Church in Aberdeen, NJ. A ventriloquist, Nick has offered ┬ápresentations to grammar schools on drug prevention with his sidekicks, “Frankie” the camel (not to be confused with “Joe Camel!”) and a retired pastor, Arthur Ritis!

In March, 2007, he published The Bible Through the Seasons: a Three Year Journey with the Bible. This is a unique approach to daily Bible reading with a pace both relaxed and varied. Each day of the week is dedicated to its own part of the Bible. One single passage is the focus for each day, introduced by a “Firestarter,” a one-minute message to help ignite the creative imagination of the reader. 

In August, 2007 Gina and Nick had an extraordinary experience of being part of a global mission team to Uganda through Watoto Child Care Ministries. They helped build a home for a teacher in one of the three villages where the children of that blessed ministry reside. They had the opportunity to visit at length with Bishop Daniel Wandabula, whose Episcopal area is the largest in our denomination, comprising the countries of Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and more recently added, Ethiopia. Their meeting was filled with the Spirit. They returned in February, 2012. 

Nick and Gina are blessed with four children, seven grandchildren and two “adopted” sons, Gilbert and Jackson from Uganda.