Rev. Harold Grant Stoltzfus 77, Mennonite minister, author, retired from LEFC

By on April 2, 2014
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Reverend Stoltzfus, 517 N. Water St., Lititz, is now in Heaven in the arms of Jesus, March 29, 2014.

Born in Morgantown, he was the son of the late Job and Mary (Glick) Stoltzfus. He was married to Sylvia Stoltzfus, who survives. Their 55th wedding anniversary would have been on April 18.

He graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1954. (His yearbook described him as having a catching smile.) After graduation, Harold completed a two year 1-W term of service at Boy’s Village in Ohio. He learned the skills of commercial sign painting and returned to Morgantown, to establish “Harold’s Signs.”

After several years of sign painting, he received his call to ministry and returned to school. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Mennonite College (1968). After graduation, he pastored Springdale Mennonite Church, Waynesboro, Va. and Stoner Heights Mennonite Church, Louisville, Ohio; where he was ordained as a Mennonite Minister in 1971.

He returned to school to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 1976. Subsequent pastorates included Martins Creek Mennonite Church, Millersburg, Ohio and Chaplain at Tel Hai Retirement Community, Honey Brook. Reverend Stoltzfus recently retired from Pastoral Care, Counseling and Shepherd’s ministry at the Lancaster Evangelical Free Church in Lititz.

Continuing education included certifications in Studies in Clinical Pastoral Education from PhilhavenHospital in 1990; Life Underwriter Training Counsel Fellow in Pennsylvania in 1995; and Facilitator International from Life Skills in Colorado in 2004.

Other ministry venues included serving with Dr. George R. Brunk Evangelistic Association as counselor and song leader (1972-75), president of ministerial boards; and a member of Wayne-Holmes Mental Health Board (1978-81). Reverend Stoltzfus also worked as a traveling evangelist and Bible teacher, which took him to eight different states. Together, he and Sylvia led seven tours (1973-92) traveling to the HolyLands and six countries: Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Netherlands, France and Germany; including the Oberammergau Passion Play.

In 1981, Harold founded the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio. The focal point of the Heritage Center is a 10’ high and 265’ wide mural displayed in a circular building called “Behalt” (which means “to keep” or “to remember”). The artist was Heines Gaugel, from Germany, whom Harold connected with the Center.

Using his gift for fund-raising, he helped with about 10 “church plants.” His largest project was Greendale Avenue Worship Center in a suburb of Boston. Costing 1.5 million dollars, he raised nearly 50 percent of the budget. The center housed three groups, a Mennonite church, a Messianic congregation and offices for the Southern Baptist Evangelistic Association. Reverend Stoltzfus worked with the two pastors: Dr. Art McPhee (friend and fellow seminarian) and Messianic Rabbi, Rich Nichols.

In May of 2010, Reverend Stoltzfus completed and published his autobiography, “Resolved to Finish Strong.” He leaves an unfinished manuscript: “A Lifetime of Visiting the Flock.”

Surviving are three daughters: Yvonne Monea (Tim) Massillon, Ohio; Crystal Troxell (Mike) Wooster, Ohio; Victoria Miller (Gary) Orrville, Ohio; and one son, Stuart Stoltzfus (Jennifer Sollenberger), Loganville; ten grandchildren: are Jacqlyn Riposo (David), Ryan Witmer (Jen), Michelle, Scott and Gwen Miller, Dustin and Brandon Troxell, Ian and Ethan Fleming and Quinn Stoltzfus; siblings: Merle (Esther) Stoltzfus of Elverson; Melvin (Nancy) Stoltzfus of Alberta, Canada; Barbara (John Benner) of Elizabethtown; and sister-in-law: Marian Stoltzfus (Nathan) Lititz.

A sister: Faith; and two brothers: Wayne and Nathan, have also gone before him to be with Jesus.

Services were held April 2 at Grace Church, Lititz. Pastor Tony Hunt (Lead Pastor of LEFC), Music Director, Ken Martin (LEFC) and Pastor Ivanildo Trindade (Lead Pastor of Grace Church, Lititz) will lead the service. Interment followed at Witness Park, located at Lancaster Evangelical Free Church (LEFC).

There will be a meal of comfort at 5 p.m. on April 2 at Grace Church. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to “Servant’s Fund” in care of Lancaster Evangelical Free Church, 419 Pierson Rd., Lititz, PA17543.

To send the family online condolences, visit groffeckenroth.com. Arrangements by Groff-High Funeral Home, New Holland.

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