Centenary Alumni Returns To University As Its Chaplain

By Elsie Walker

For Panther Valley resident, Timothy Nicinski, Centenary University in Hackettstown is a special place.
In 2003, he graduated from therewith a master’s in instructional leadership. An educator at the time, that degree allowed him to excel in his field, which included being the superintendent of the Stanhope School District. Nicinski retired from the public education field in December 2017 to focus on his second career: the ministry.
In that second career, he is now giving back to the school. Recently, Nicinski, a pastor in the United Methodist Church, was named the new chaplain at Centenary University.
Nicinski shared, “I feel this great sense of gratitude to give back to a school that provided me with a wonderful foundation as a student. The degree I earned at Centenary allowed me to be a better teacher, serve as an educational leader, and craft educational experiences for children that I believe will make the world a better place. Returning to Centenary allows me to give back to a place that has given me so much,” shared Nicinski.
Nicinski retired from public education in December 2017. He cites that one of the reasons for that was to focus on the ministry. He finished his ministry course of study for the United Methodist Church at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (Campus of Northwestern University) in Evanston, Ill. His first pastoral appointment was to Waterloo United Methodist Church in Stanhope. He will continue to serve that church, as well as be chaplain at Centenary.
On a personal note, the pastor is married with a son. His wife is also a retired educator and his son is a student at the County College of Morris.Nicinski enjoys running and reading.
“One of the reasons I retired [from public education] was to focus my attention on ministry,” he said. “The chaplaincy was always a draw for me. I felt it provided a space to minister beyond the local parish, to support people through Christ in their natural setting. Centenary University has provided me, I feel, this opportunity to serve the community that I care about, young people at a college that is important to me. The chaplain position is a meaningful role in the life of the students, faculty, and staff of the university.”
Nicinski said that he is looking forward to learning more about college life so he can offer valuable Christian experiences to those at Centenary.
“I would like to provide worship opportunities that meet the needs of the community,” he said.
Among the things he looks forward to coordinating in support of the spiritual needs of the university community are small groups, Bible studies, conversations and book clubs.
Reflecting further on his new position at Centenary, Nicinski shared, “As a new chaplain and new member of the [university] community, I plan to work diligently with students, faculty, and staff to understand their needs and support them in my role as chaplain. I look forward to learning and growing as a pastor and chaplain and strengthening others on their faith journey.”

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