Pastoral Counselor

Pastoral Counselor

Chelsea Community Church (CCC) is lay-led, but we do have a pastoral counselor — a clergyperson or seminarian — to work with us. Our pastoral counselor attends Sunday worship services and the hospitality hour which follows, is available for pastoral counseling and visiting the sick or shut-ins as needed, performs sacramental services — baptisms, weddings, funerals and memorial services, home blessings, etc. — as needed, preaches for us every six to eight weeks, and attends our Board of Trustees meetings upon request. Sometimes other functions are developed depending on the gifts and interests of the individual pastoral counselor. Previous pastoral counselors include Rev. Jerry Fargo (twice), Minister Valerie Eley, Rev. Fran Sherwood, Rev. Dr. Karen Ziegler and, most recently, Rev. John Magisano.

Rev. Joseph J. Nicholson To Be New Pastoral Counselor, April 2019

The Rev. Joseph J. Nicholson has accepted our invitation to be our next pastoral counselor. Rev. Nicholson is a chaplain with the EMS division of the New York City Fire Department. He began this work in 2014 in an internship during his studies at Union Theological Seminary. His supervisor in the internship was Rev. Stephen Harding, who was then the rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Chelsea. After completion of the internship, Rev. Nicholson stayed on as a chaplain in the EMS division. “This kind of chaplaincy differs from hospital or hospice chaplaincy, the type most people are familiar with, in that my primary role is ‘ministry by presence,’” Rev. Nicholson explains. “I often describe it to the people I work with as ‘I am here to represent God, whatever God you may believe in, on scene and to provide moral and spiritual support in any way that I am able.”

He received his Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 2016 and is currently enrolled in the Master of Sacred Theology program there. He expects to receive that degree in 2020. Ordained by the American Fellowship Church, a nondenominational Protestant church in 2017. Rev. Nicholson’s faith tradition is Episcopal. He was a licensed lay Eucharistic minister in the Episcopal diocese of New York and regularly led the Evening Prayer service at St. Peter’s from 2014 until the service was suspended.

Prior to beginning his seminary studies, Rev. Nicholson was an entrepreneur. He developed several financial services enterprises and created an apparel company that sold the products it designed and manufactured via the Internet.


Rev. Beth Perry Resigns as Pastoral Counselor, February 2019

Rev. Elizabeth A. Perry, our pastoral counselor, has submitted her resignation because her workload at, another of her activities, has increased greatly. offers online courses and workshops to church leaders and laity. Rev. Beth has been our pastoral counselor since September 2015. She has generously counseled many in our congregation and visited those who have been hospitalized. She was particularly attentive to Hugo Saurny in his last months and helped plan his funeral. She has also led several coffee hour discussions and energized some in the congregation to participate in a protest against an undocumented immigrant’s deportation. In addition to her work at Chelsea Community Church and, Rev. Beth teaches two religion courses at the College of New Rochelle and isa church consultant on reducing the risk of child abuse in the church. She is also on the faculty of the University of Phoenix’s Jersey City campus where she was honored as part of the “faculty of the year” last September. A wife, mother and grandmother as well, she is a very busy person. Our best wishes go with her as she leaves us to serve the wider world.

Rev. Elizabeth A. (Beth) Perry (2015-2019)


Our new pastoral counselor, Rev. Elizabeth A. (Beth) Perry,  has more than 20 years in pastoral experience in small and mid-size congregations, including counseling and spiritual direction. More recently, she has also been an educator, writer, consultant and public speaker. Ordained in the United Methodist Church, she now has Privilege of Call in the United Church of Christ. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and is now a Safe Sanctuary consultant working to protect children from abuse. Ready to join us on September13, Beth says “I am glad for this opportunity to become a part of Chelsea Community Church! I’m looking forward to getting to know you all individually as well as to finding ways we can work together corporately to be the church in the community!” You can contact her at



Rev. John Magisano
Pastoral Counselor, 2004 – July 2015