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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Nelson Richards, a true disciple

    June 28, 2021 / By Mary Johnson Pastor, Bowen’s Corner Church

    Each member of the congregation has an inspiring story, but for this time around, it is Nelson Richards inspiring story that I choose to highlight. Nelson has been a member of Bowens Corners UMC for 29 years and has been an inspiration to many people throughout his life because of how dedicated he is to caring for others.
    Until February of 2020, Nelson cared for his wife Joyce of 59 years, in any way he could, right up to her final breath. His dedication to her was out of love, and was done without ever complaining.The Cody Volunteer Fire Department, that he has been a member of for 18 years, has been blessed by his dedication as he served them and the community as a fireman, as well as fire police. In his later years, he left those tasks up to the younger generations and now assists with their chicken barbeques.

    Nelson has been a dedicated gardener for many years. He spent many hours tending to his corn, tomatoes, squash and zucchini. And the abundance of his dedication never went to waste. He shares his abundance with family, friends, his church family, neighbors, and strangers too. The Cpl. Kyle R. Schneider Foundation has received squash for their food baskets and many people have benefited from special home deliveries.

    One of Nelson’s most recent dedication to caring for others, has to do with potholders. In one of Nelson’s trips to the local farmers’ market, he met a man whose mother-in-law made potholders. Not only did she make potholders, but she could pretty much make any theme you wanted, as long as she could get the material. He kept this woman busy, as Nelson ordered hundreds of potholders for birthday and just because gifts. He bought potholders for The Cpl. Kyle R. Schneider Foundation food baskets, as Christmas gifts for each member of the congregation, along with family, friends and neighbors.

    The potholders weren’t just any ole potholders. The ones that went in the food baskets were made for the different branches of the military. The ones gifted to family, friends, neighbors and the church family were all loving thought out for each person, based on who they are or what their interests and likes are.

    But the dedication Nelson has for mission work, is probably the most inspiring of all. Week after week Nelson supports the various missions at church whether it be with a jar of peanut butter, a can of soup, a box of cereal, some spare change, or his time. Along with help from some others, hours are spent collecting, clipping, sorting, totaling, packaging, and mailing the several thousands of dollars’ worth of coupons collected for Troopons, which help military families oversea to stretch the American dollar.

    Nelson has been very dedicated for several years to the E. J. Thomas Men’s Group, especially with the ramp program. He has designed, bought materials, as well as helped to build and install multiple ramps in Oswego and Onondaga counties. When the Conference Center opened, he was able to build them in his garage and then bring them to be stored, for upcoming ramp projects.

    For years Nelson has gone to donut shops and local grocery stores collecting five-gallon buckets, that to them were trash, but to Nelson, once he cleaned them all up, they became the buckets for the clean-up buckets. They too are now stored at the Conference Center, so they are available when needed.

    These are just a few ways Nelson’s dedication of caring for others, has been an inspiration. Perhaps the next time you see him, you can tell him you saw the article written about him and ask him to share some others with you. I’m sure he would enjoy the conversation.

    Nelson is a fine example of what a true disciple looks like, in all areas and aspects of his life and this is why he was chosen to represent Bowen’s Corners UMC in “Celebrating Who We Are.”

    TAGGED / Connectional Ministries


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."