1000 Bethune Drive, Orlando, FL 32805 Holy Eucharist: Sundays - 7:30 AM & 10:00 AM

Rev. Nelson W. Pinder to Celebrate 60th Ordination Anniversary


Rev. Nelson W. Pinder to Celebrate 60th Ordination Anniversary

I Said Yes to Jesus!

On January 15, 1960,  Nelson Wardell Pinder was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests in The Episcopal Church.  The public is invited to join in the service on January 4. 2020 in celebration of his 60 years of service to God in his church.  The service will be held at The Cathedral Church of St. Luke in downtown Orlando.  The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church will preach and celebrate Eucharist for this momentous occasion.

 “Fr. Pinder has long been a pillar of the Church and the community.  He has lived a life of service worthy of celebrating,” said Rev. Fr. Charles T. Myers, who is current Rector of The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist which was led by Fr. Pinder for several decades. “We at St. John the Baptist are honored to play a part in this day.”

Tickets are free and required for entrance into the service. You may register HERE.


The Reverend Canon Nelson Wardell Pinder, D.D.


He is known as the “street priest, ” the hoodlum‘s priest, ‘ community leader, a caring person, a loving person, and your “priest and friend.” He is devoted to God, his fellowmen, his wife Marian, family, his church, community, and organizations, Alma Maters and Orlando, Orange County, Florida. Canon Pinder was born in Miami (Overtown), Florida on July 27, 1932. he grew up in the Liberty City Housing Project, commonly called “The Government Condos.”

Following his family’s tradition, Canon Pinder enrolled in Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida. While at Bethune-Cookman College, he was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Bethune-Cookman where he became very active in student government and other campus groups. He graduated in 1956, with a degree in philosophy. Canon Pinder then enrolled at Nashotah House Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin to study and prepare himself for priesthood in the Episcopal Church. In 1959, he was ordained into the ministry and assigned to The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Orlando.  He married his college sweetheart, Marian Elizabeth Grant on August 15th.


Canon Pinder never stopped using educational opportunities for advancement. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education and studied at Simon the Cyrenian Institute in London, England. He completed short courses in Adult Education at Purdue University and the Urban Training Center in Chicago, Illinois. He also studied under one of the world’s greatest community organizers, Dr. Saul Alinsky.

While serving in the United States Army, he met some young clergy in Montgomery and Tuskegee Alabama, who were fighting for freedom. These young people gave him great hope and invited him to become a freedom fighter. Canon Pinder’s ministry has been greatly diverse; from a poor mission congregation to the rector of a parish church and a canon in The Central Florida Episcopal Diocese, working with and for the bishop. He has also worked with the Awareness Center, a Downtown Orlando ministry, and been a missionary to Jamaica, West Indies, Honduras, Central America, London, England.  He was honored to be Chaplain of the Day for the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.

At the national church level, he has been vice chairperson of the Joint Commission on the Church in the small community, vice chairperson of the National Commission on Social and Specialized Ministries, a member of the Joint Commission on N2ominations and Selections to National Officers, and has served on interim committees between General Conventions. He worked his way up from a member of a local chapter of The Union of Black Episcopalians(UBE) to the president of that chapter; he was the Southern Regional Director, Vice President of the National Board, chairperson of the Finance Committee and is a life member. In 2003, he was elected as the 15th national president of the UBE and served one term. Beginning in 2010, he served five years as Chaplain to The Order of the Daughters of the King in the Central Florida diocese.  He currently serves as The Order’s Assistant Chaplain in Province IV.


Canon Pinder is a life member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In his local chapter he has served as chaplain, president, vice president, and as chairperson of many of its committees. He also has memberships in the Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Delta Kappa Fraternities.

Community Organizations

He has served as a director of the Pan American Bank in Orlando, Florida, The Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida, the American Red Cross,  the Orlando Mayor’s Biracial Commission, and was a member of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominations Commission. He has also served as president of the Orange County Community Action Program, Orlando Ministerial Alliance, vice chair of the Orange County Public Schools Superintendent’s Search, chair for the Orange County Public Schools Superintendent African American Advisory Committee, Orlando Chamber of Public Affairs Committee, President of Guardian Care Nursing Home in Orlando, Florida and a member of the American Veterans Post 39.

Awards and Honors

Reverend Pinder has received nearly two hundred awards and honors including: Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, Virginia Theological Seminary; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Voorhees College; Preachers Hall of Fame, Morehouse College; First Class to the Florida Religious Hall of Fame; First Class P.A.S.T. Hall of Fame; National Association for the Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; Life Time Achiever Award, Onyx Magazine of Florida and has a street named in his honor.  “Pinder’s Kids” a locally written and produced play, told the story of Fr. Pinder’s role in leading and mentoring young people during the lunch counter sit-ins in 1960’s Orlando.  In 2009, The City of Orlando, Florida with cooperation from the Florida Senate, erected a statue recognizing Fr. Pinder for his work in furthering the goal of civil and equal rights for all peoples in this community. In 2015, the Orange County Regional History Center presented him the Donald A. Cheney Award.  The History Center annually recognizes individuals in the Central Florida community who have followed Cheney’s mission of historic preservation and community service.  Nashotah House Seminary presented its very first Bishop Kemper Award in May 2016 to Fr. Pinder for his commitment and service to the broader church.  In June 2018, he was named Honorary Lifetime Chaplain for The Order of the Daughters of the King® – Province IV.

He has been recognized for his achievements and service by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando – Knights of Columbus, St. Mark’s A.M. E. Church, Bethune Cookman College Alumni, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Drum Major, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Theta Minerva, Central Florida Y.M.C.A. Lifetime Achievement, Orlando Real Most Influential, United Negro College Fund, City of Orlando and Orange County Commissions,  Proclaimed Pinder’s Day, Orange County Classroom Teachers’ Association, Jones High School, Black Community Awards, listed in Who’s Who in Black America, City of Orlando Human Relations Award, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, City of Orlando Civil Rights Award.  In 2018, he was honored by the Union of Black Episcopalians as a past President during its National Business meeting and by Guardian Care Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for his service as a past member of the Board.

He is the recipient of several honorary titles.  He is an Honorary Canon for The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, an Honorary Architect, and an Honorary Deputy Sherriff in Orlando, Orange County, Florida. He is Rector Emeritus of The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist which is located in Orlando’s historic Washington Shores neighborhood.

Ministries Overseas

He has ministered around the world in Finland, Sweden, Russia, England, Honduras, Jamaica, and the West Indies.