A couple of religious organizations are joining together to raise funeral funds for a minister who shaped and led this community for decades.Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance have been working closely together since Dec. 16, the date that the Rev. Mike Nickleson died, to set up the fund to help defray the costs of his funeral, which takes place Wednesday.
Nickleson, 63, was pastor at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church at 3506 Warsaw St., and preached to the congregation the Sunday before he died. He also served on the board of directors at Associated Churches and Timothy L. Johnson Academy and had served as president of the African-American church alliance and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, of which the Rev. Robert Bell is current president.
Nickleson fought for civil rights as well as for the good of the community at large, even fighting, successfully, to keep Harding High School open."He was such a leader in this community in so many ways," said Roger Reece, Associated Churches' executive pastor.
Nickleson had suffered from health issues, including amputation from diabetes in 2008. The community raised funds at that time for him to buy a wheelchair-accessible home.
Nickleson's family was unavailable for comment.
"Associated Churches wants to honor the work and ground he laid," Reece said. "There are battles I'll never have to deal with because of his work, and we're all so thankful for that."
Reece hopes to raise $10,000 for the funeral through the fund drive. "We came together knowing we can make an impact," he said.
"He was a man with a giving heart," Reece said. "He would give at the cost of his own well-being. He was the man who shaped with leadership and gave money to the poor."
Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County is accepting funds for the Rev. Mike Nickleson's funeral. Here are ways to donate:
• At Associated Churches website https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/AssociatedChurches/MikeNicklesonFuneralFund.html
• Send a check to Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County, 602 E. Wayne St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802. Put Rev. Mike Nickleson in the memo line.
• Money may be dropped off 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the above address. Associated Churches will be closed Friday in observance of the New Year's Day holiday.
• Call 422-3528 to make a credit card payment by phone.
Visitation is 4-8 p.m. today at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 3506 Warsaw St., with funeral services at 10 a.m. at the church. Burial takes place at Covington Memorial Gardens.