50 years doing ‘God’s work’

Published 5:37 pm Monday, June 26, 2023

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Fifty years ago, the Rev. Paul Kritsch entered into the ministry of the Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod. He reportedly never looked back. Kritsch heard the call in second grade when he realized that, someday, he would like to be a missionary. The call continued through his studies at Concordia College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The strong urging never abated as he entered Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1969.

The young man answered the call that led him to the Concordia Seminary where he earned his Divinity Degree in 1973.

He credits much of his contented longevity within the church to his wife of 53 years.

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“Over the past five decades, my wife Dorothy has been my right-hand person. In addition to being my loving wife, mother of our three children and grandmother of our eight grandchildren, she has been with me every step of the way. We met in Lutheran school kindergarten and recently celebrated the 53rd anniversary of our marriage. I cannot imagine what life would have been like without her.”

Members of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Sharps Chapel came together in celebration of their pastor’s 50th anniversary of his ordination into the ministry. Noted individuals within the Lutheran Church were in attendance. The Rev. Michael Miller, area Vice-President of the Mid-South District, LCMS served as the preacher. The Rev. David Graves, who is the Knoxville Circuit Visitor, served as liturgist with assistance from Larry Keim, a member of the congregation who will begin his internship in September toward becoming a pastor.

The ladies of the congregation served a luncheon following the worship service.

Kritsch says that, within the Lutheran faith, a man is called into the holy ministry by God through His Church.

The Lutheran Church values an educated clergy who are under the authority of and responsible to the larger church, he said.

“As a focus for my ministry I have adopted a saying from Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who served in World War II – ‘Christ leads the way. Stay close to Him.’”

In 50 years of ministry, Kritsch has served four congregations – Christ Lutheran in Aurora, Ontario, Canada from 1973 to 1977; St. Paul Lutheran Church in Westport, Connecticut from 1977 to 1988; Redeemer Lutheran Church in Westfield, New Jersey from1988 to 2013 and The Chapel of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church from 2015 to the present, where he is the founding pastor.

He has also served the larger church as Circuit Counselor and Vice-President as well as on numerous district committees.