Bishop Dr. R. C. Hugh Nelson is a man of God committed to a ministry of restoration that reaches beyond the sanctuary, to uplift those most in need. He was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica, the third of five children to the late Rev. Vernon N. Nelson and Eva Nelson. He migrated to London, England as a young adult and pursued undergraduate studies in Theology at the European Bible Seminary in Rudersburg, Germany and Biblical Archaeological studies in Jerusalem, Israel. He later earned a Masters in Divinity degree at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, a Masters degree in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Fordham University, NY, Advanced Certification in Community Service Chaplaincy and Advanced Certification in Clinical Pastoral Education at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Bishop Nelson completed his Doctor in Ministry degree at the New York Theological Seminary.
Prior to pursuing full time ministry, Bishop Nelson was employed as a psychotherapist at the Hiwassee Mental Health Center in Cleveland, Tennessee where he helped develop the Crisis Response Program which focused solely on suicidal patients. Bishop Nelson and family moved to Ottawa, Canada in October 1994 where they served for eight and half years. During this time he served as Senior Pastor of the Ottawa Church of God, District Overseer for the Ottawa District of Churches, Chaplaincy Coordinator for Ontario, Co-chair for the Community and Police Action Committee, President for the Samaritan Support Services of Ottawa-Carleton, Executive board member for Church Of God in Ontario, Executive board member for Church of God in Canada, a guest workshop presenter at the Ontario Police Academy and member of the Church of God International Publication Board.
Bishop Nelson and his family relocated to Brooklyn, New York in 2003 where he presently serves as Senior Pastor for the Church of God of East Flatbush, District Administrative Bishop for District #2, President for Hope Center Development Corporation Inc. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for One Brooklyn Hospital, 2nd. Vice president to the 67th Precinct Clergy Council and Member of the Brooklyn NYPD Taskforce.
Dr. Nelson serves his denomination on a State level as Member of the New York State Church of God Executive Council and Care Ministries Coordinator. He serves on several International Boards such as the Church of God International Division of Care, People For Care & Learning in Cambodia, Freedom Outreach International Ministries and the European Theological Seminary in Kniebis, Germany. Bishop Nelson also provides spiritual covering to the pastors and staff of Set The Captives Free Outreach Center in Windsor Mill, MD.
In recognition of Bishop Nelson’s outstanding contribution to community development and transformation, he received the New York United Hospital Fund Distinguished Trustee Award in 2009, The Brookdale Hospital Medal and Plaque in 2011 and several other community awards. In early December 2020 Dr. Nelson was awarded Alumnus of the year by the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN.
Bishop Nelson is a visionary whose guidance and focus on leadership development enabled the Church of God of East Flatbush to evolve from a single cell church model into a vibrant urban ministry center that is home to more than 1700 members and ministers to over 2500 on a weekly basis. In 2011 Bishop Nelson led his congregation in the purchase of two city blocks for the development of the Ebenezer Plaza which will provide a 40,000 square footage Urban Ministry Center and 530 affordable apartments.
Bishop Nelson has been happily married to Rev. Diana Nelson for 34 years and they are proud of their three children Raphael Nelson Jr., Andrae and Sigourney.