The Rev. Mark Welch Jr., former pastor at the former Horace Bushnell Congregational Church in Hartford, died at his home in Andover, Mass., on New Year's Day. He was 70.
Welch, a former Hartford resident, was born in Burlington, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1964. He was ordained a minister in the United Church of Christ in 1972.
During his 16 years as pastor at Horace Bushnell Congregational Church, many prominent people spoke from his pulpit, including Gov. Ella T. Grasso, Coretta Scott King, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Welch championed racial, social and economic justice, especially for the poor and oppressed.
He also served in Hartford as director of the Christian Activities Council Metropolitan Training Institute.
In addition, Welch served in various ministerial capacities at Faith Congregational Church and Warburton Community Congregational Church in Hartford and at several churches in Massachusetts. He was senior minister of West Parish Congregational Church in Andover, Mass.
The former Horace Bushnell Congregational Church on Vine Street in Hartford's North End is now the Liberty Christian Center International.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at South Church in Andover, Mass. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Museum of African American History, 14 Beacon St., Suite 719, Boston, MA 02108.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at