Pastor's Paragraph

“Hi Dr. Robert!” “Why Hello, Bob Baker!” I don’t know how many times over the years in various locations inside and outside of our church that I have heard those “greetings” emanating from the smiling face and joyful voice of one of the mostcaring and enthusiastic Christians that I have ever known. That smiling, joyful, enthusiastic “constantly- caring-about- others- including- his- pastor” Christian was Louie Stotz.

Louie died unexpectedly at his home last Friday morning (January 8). His sudden death has caused a wave of congregational grief to wash over our church family. We already miss him immensely. Because of his life and his Christian witness, there is so much to miss.

In many and various ways, Louie was constantly sharing the love of Christ with others: 1) while chaperoning our college students on mission trips; 2)while accompanying our youth group to beach camp; 3)while working with and encouraging our children during Children’s Bible Drill; 4) while teaching youth and college Sunday School; 5)whileministering to the homeless each Sunday night through “Room in the Inn”;  5)while singing in the sanctuary choir; 6)while participating in Bible Study Fellowship; 7)whiletaking time for those (young and not-so-young alike) who needed someone to just “listen” to them and to “be there” for them; 8) while conversing with and drinking McDonald’s coffee with his pastor – which provided that pastor (me) with encouragement, support, and a much needed “dose” of laughter and good cheer; and 9) while doing what- according to his wife and children - brought him the most joy and happiness in this life which was to always be ready to help others “at the drop of a hat.”

Robin Prichard, our Minister to College Students, told me that Louie would always try to be available to help out college students whether that help meant teaching a Bible study, setting up for a student worship service, serving as a “grandfather” figure to them as they adjusted to being away from home, or taking them to the airport (even when they had a 6:00 am flight). And often when Robin or someone else in the church asked Louie what he had been doing or what he was planning to do, his response would most always be the same: “ Working for the Kingdom,” he would answer with his contagious smile.

As our church family starts to move through the grief process of continuing the work of the church without the physical presence of Louie Stotz, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Christians at Philippi  - words which serve to express something of how we (both individually and congregationally) feel about our friend Louie Stotz:

We thank our God every time we remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of our prayers for you {and your family} because of your “partnership” in the gospel from the first day (that we met you) until now.

Thanks, Louie, for your “partnership” in the gospel. Thanks for the joyful and enthusiastic way that you served Christ. Thanks for “working in the Kingdom.” THANKS.

 

A grateful pastor,

Bob (aka “Dr.  Robert!)