ONEONTA – Clarence Norman “Norm” Moran, 85, former pastor of Main Street Baptist Church and founding president of what is now the Oneonta Christian Academy in Otego, passed away on Sept. 12, 2020.
He was born in Chester, Pa., on Christmas Day in 1934, the son of Clarence Wesley Moran and Anna Pusey Moran. At his mother’s encouragement, he enrolled at Philadelphia College of the Bible, then Elim Bible Institute, in Lima, Livingston County, graduating in 1957. That year he married his partner in ministry for life, Nancy. He then furthered his education at Roberts Wesleyan College, Alfred University, and Wheaton School of Theology in Illinois.
Norm actually began as assistant pastor to Lima Baptist Church while still in college, and upon graduating he began ministry as pastor of La Grange Baptist Church in La Grange, in Western New York, then felt called of God to begin a church in Geneseo.
The church in Geneseo started as a “storefront” church in the second floor of a downtown building. In 1966, he moved his family of four to Geneseo, and built a church congregation that served in the heart of the community including a fruitful outreach ministry to college students attending there.
While in Geneseo, Norm saw the value of strength in numbers, and helped begin an evangelical association of local pastors. He was also instrumental in bringing Youth For Christ Ministries to Geneseo, and also served a stint as New York Chapter President of Christian Endeavor.
In 1979, Norm felt the call to a new ministry yet again. He packed up and moved his family of now five to Central New York to Main Street Baptist Church, Oneonta. Ministry programs and opportunities for local and community outreach were constantly at the forefront of Norm’s agenda: Susquehanna Valley Association of Evangelicals, Mothers of Preschoolers, Youth For Christ, and the Oneonta Community Christian School, all began under the leadership and vision of Norm.
One of his greatest God-given gifts was that of being a counselor. He spent many fruitful hours listening, praying with, and helping both congregation and community alike. Oneonta Community Christian School, of which he was the first school board president, was begun at Main Street Baptist and has grown from three other locations to now a fourth and final location, operating in the former Otego Elementary School as Oneonta Christian Academy.
Norm and his wife, Nancy, thrived in the Oneonta community, raising three children. Nancy served as a Mothers of Preschoolers Teacher-Leader, was a musician and frequent vocalist, served on various boards throughout all their time in ministry together at all locations and was truly a beloved and tireless hospitality expert. For Norm, the word “rest” was not in his vocabulary.
During his 13 years at Main Street,Norm was a visionary who acted out thoughts and plans to executed success: The Bill Glass Crusade was one such event which brought a pro football player to town who filled the stands of Damaschke Field, bringing an evangelical message and outreach opportunity for all those who attended this multi-day crusade.
Norm also became significantly involved with the Conservative Baptist Movement, serving in various positions. One of many fruitful ministries that Norm helped kick off was one nearest to his heart: He served as chair of the committee that developed the vision and worked tirelessly and successfully to place a general surgical and treatment hospital to the best traveled crossroads of Guinea, Africa. By partnering with the Mayo Clinic and others, Compassion Evangelical Hospital has placed donated machines, medicines, and volunteer staff rotationally to this hospital which now serves hundreds daily.
He was also key visionary and board member of a group who started a “seminary without walls,” a concept that sparked the “Seminary of the East” theological training school, where you have the ability to work a job to support yourself, and at the same time have the flexibility to attend classes, be mentored, and connect with church ministries as you earn your theological degree. This thriving training school is located in the Philadelphia area.
Norm left Main Street Baptist in 1993, and was called to serve as a pastor to missionaries for Conservative Baptist International. Norm had a 13 state territory and served 600 supporting churches as pastor and fundraiser to missionaries who served overseas. This expansive mission vision was ideal for Norm and he thrived in his service to others in this ever growing support role. He and his wife Nancy had a chance to travel the country to serve and connect with pastors and missionaries, helping to create sustainable opportunities in the mission field, with the sole goal to bring the word of God and the saving knowledge of his son Jesus to all who would hear and accept this free gift. Norm served as East Area Director for 10 years.
Upon his retirement from CBI, he then went on immediately to successive interim pastor roles, helping to evaluate, provide input and guidance, and prepare the hearts of those members of congregations who were waiting for new leadership in their respective churches. Norm provided this key ministry to Cassville, Morris and Cobleskill.
The “Unsung Local Heroes Portraiture” inaugural class of 2015 voted him in for his prolific body of work, which must speak for itself, because he would not. Glory was given to God. How does a man like Norm ever retire? He never did.
At St, James Manor, his beloved home he moved to after his wife of 58 years passed, he started a well-attended bible study which tackled the Book of Revelations.
Norm was always eager to share God’s word and the promises of eternal life through Jesus. He was never placed in an ER, hospital room, or ICU where he was not convinced that God had a reason for him to be there to share with doctors, nurses and attendants, as well as roommates. Norm’s last home here on earth was Fox Nursing Home, and yes, if you were a resident, you could go to the all-purpose room on Sunday morning and with several other residents be a part of a service carefully prayed over, studied for, and performed by “Pastor Moran.”
He is survived by his brother, Bruce Moran and wife, Patricia of Magnolia, Del.; and was predeceased by lovely daughter, Valerie Ruth Moran-Meyers in 2014; by his beloved wife Nancy in 2015; and is survived by his daughter, Beth Anne Hawn, who lives with husband, Douglas in Rochester, and Rodger Moran, who lives with wife Karen in Oneonta; along with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Because of COVID-19, only the immediate local family will attend a graveside service for Norm.
Contributions in Norm’s honor, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Central New York Youth For Christ, P.O. Box 362, Oneonta, NY 13820, 607-432-0594, firstname.lastname@example.org or Compassion Evangelical Hospital, P.O. Box 870, Southfield, MI 48037, email
To light a candle or send an online condolence, visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.