Roger William Spencer


Roger William Spencer

May 4, 1947-May 23, 2017


Roger was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated in 1969 from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He attended Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, receiving his Master of Divinity Degree in May of l973. He served his internship at First Lutheran Church in Clifton, New Jersey. In May of 1995 he received his Doctorate of Ministry from The Graduate Theological Foundation in Donaldson, Indiana, writing as his project a Textbook Companion on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

Pastor Spencer was ordained at his home church, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Merrick, Long Island on June 16, 1973 by the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Lutheran Church of America.

He served 10 years as Pastor of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Edison, New Jersey, where he always said they taught him to be a Pastor. He accepted the call in 1983 to be Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glen Rock. He retired in 2016 after 33 years. During his pastorate at Good Shepherd, Pastor Spencer supervised 21 students in their internship year.

Pastor Spencer has served on the Church Vocations and Examining Committee in the LCA, as well as the Division for Professional Ministry of the NJ Synod. He Served as Dean and Cluster Counselor for the Districts and Clusters of the LCA and ELCA. Pastor Spencer served as Secretary of the NJ Synod for 14 years and was a voting member of the ELCA at six National Assemblies.

In his community, Pastor Spencer served as Glen Rock Police Chaplain

He served on the Glen Rock Emergency Task Force and was one of the founding members of the Glen Rock Arts Council, co-chairing the site committee for the town’s centennial celebration.

He also served on the Valley Hospital Chaplaincy Advisory Board and the Clinical Pastoral Education Board at Valley Hospital.

Roger was the beloved husband of Patricia (nee Heinsohn) his childhood sweetheart since May of 1970. He was the loving father of Cortney and Shayne and his wife, Jessica. He was the dear Pop Pop to Alexander, Emily and Isabelle. Roger wrote a child’s book Alexander’s Quest for his grandchildren explaining faith to a young boy thru Theo, a church mouse.

Above all, Roger was a parish pastor by inclination and gifts. Serving God, his family and his parish were his loves.

The family will receive relatives and friends Thursday, May 25, 2017, 3-8 PM at Vander Plaat-Caggiano Funeral Home, 13-31 Saddle River Road, Fair Lawn, NJ.  A funeral service is planned for Friday, May 26, 2017, 7 PM at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 233 South Highwood Avenue, Glen Rock, NJ 07452, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 12 Pleasant Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837or a donation to an organization of choice would be deeply appreciated.  If considering flowers, perennial plants for a garden would be appreciated.

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Pastor Spencer was a kind caring soul who helped me through my darkest hours as he beautifully handled the memorial service for my son 5 years ago. He hugged me after the service and that it the last time I saw him. I will never forget that and all he has done for me and my children since I joined Good Shepherd Church in 1990. Rest in peace.
Kathy Dwyer
Pastor Spencer was a kind caring soul who helped me through my darkest hours as he handled the memorial service for my son 5 years ago. I will never forget all he has done for me since I joined Good Shepherd Church in 1990. Rest in peace.
Kathy Dwyer
Please accept our condolances. We are so sorry for your loss. We will always remember Rev. Spencer for his kindness and wonderful spirit. Hugs, The Hyatt Family-Jim, Betty and Laura (Meaningful Movements)
Betty Hyatt
Our thoughts and prayers our with the family and friends.Pastor Spencer married us May 1,1976 at St.Stephens. Dana and Cindy Little
Dana V.Little Sr.
I first met Reverend Spencer during my tenure as a Board of Education Trustee , I was immediately impressed by his compassion and understanding of the difficulties teens face. If there was a committee formed to address communication and supports for students, he was there. His demeanor was reserved but his message was always powerful. It is with great sadness that he is gone from our lives but I can attest that he has truly made a difference in the lives of our children. May he rest in peace. My sincerest condolences to Pat and his family. Liz Mulholland- Glen Rock
Liz Mulholland
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