PORTSMOUTH — The congregation of First Presbyterian Church (FBC) in Portsmouth has welcomed Bruce Kreutzer as their new pastor. Kreutzer was installed as Pastor of FBC on Jan. 24, 2016.
Pastor Bruce Kreutzer is a native of California, and grew up in the Meadow lands area in New Jersey. Kreutzer said his father was also a Pastor First Presbyterian pastor. The youngest of five children, Kreutzer said he was two years old when his father accepted the call to be a pastor.
“I was officially installed here at First Presbyterian Church on January 24th, and it is quite interesting because on that day we had that big snow storm,” he said. “When my father was installed in New Jersey he was installed during a blizzard in the 1960’s, I find the similar experiences to be remarkable.”
Kreutzer graduated from seminary in 1982, and worked for six years as a director of Christian Education. Next, Kreutzer worked for 12 years as a campus minister, and later went to Vietnam for six years, where he met his wife Marie, after which he came back to the United States with his wife to serve as interim pastor in Texas for a total of 34 years in ministry.
“I have done a lot of ministry, but it has been in many different forms, but this is the first time that I have been the pastor of a church,” he said. “People say to me, ‘You are the senior pastor.’ I say yes, I am the pastor and I am a senior. I lived in Vietnam for six years, and that is where I met my wife Marie. We were in Texas prior to coming here, where I was served for 14 months as an interim pastor outside of west of San Antonio.”
He said he is enjoying his new assignment in ministry as pastor at FBC. His service as pastor will be exclusively to FBC.
“I am really enjoying it, and the church has really welcomed us cordially. They are very loving, and very open to do something to different, and to try new things,” he said. “And they are very compassionate about the needs in our community. They are very excited to have a pastor because the last time that called a full time pastor to this church was in 1967, and that was Evan Fisher who served for many, many years. Then, when he retired, they took the pastor of Second Presbyterian to share both churches, and then when he left they had an interim that served both churches.”
The members of FBC are mission-minded, to reach out to the community, which is aligned with his own passions.
“This church is very mission-minded, wanting to reach out to the community, and also to the world, and that is really my heart and my passion,” he said. “After living in Vietnam for six years, and we did work with lepers, orphans, the blind, a lot of compassion ministries. I also did work in training pastors and helping to build churches, not to help them to get established.
His vision for FBC is to find ways to help those in need in the community to become self sufficient.
“My vision is to help the community, especially to help poor people to be able to become self sufficient. Many times, if you give people things, and you just keep giving people things, they become dependent on it,” he said. “So our vision is to provide ways to help people. but to help people so that they can become self sufficient and to stand on their own, so that’s really our focus that we’re trying to work on now. It comes from the gospel, and it also depends on how we help them. We want to give people a hand-up as opposed to a handout.”
He has already began to get involved with the local community. He is one of the newest members of the Scioto County Ministerial Association (SCMA), a faith-based organization of pastors, chaplain and clergy men and women from the county. Kreutzer will be among the speakers for the annual Holy Week Luncheons sponsored by SCMA, and held at First Christian Church.
FBC service times are Sundays at 10 a.m. with Christian Education for all ages. Morning Worship Service is at 11 a.m.
“With Lent starting on Wednesday, starting Sunday (Feb. 14) we are going to have a short prayer time to prepare our hearts and our community for Lent,” he said.
He said he and the congregation of FBC welcome everyone to come out and worship with them.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.