Greece Baptist Church, 1230 Long Pond Road, Rochester, will celebrate the Rev. Steven Gretz’s 10 years of service with a reception after its worship service at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 29.
Gretz became the church’s senior pastor in 2007 after serving The American Baptist Churches in Massachusetts for 20 years.
“It was a kind of homecoming for me,” said Gretz, who was born in Canandaigua and graduated from Bloomfield Central School.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University in California, and Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. In addition to his normal pastoral duties, Gretz directs Greece Baptist’s music program.
“We offer a variety of musical styles both traditional and contemporary to enrich worship,” he said.
Gretz put together a series of free community concerts, and hosts the monthly Old Time Music Night with his wife, Leslie Lee. These programs are offered to the community with no cost for admission.
Gretz has lived on both coasts and in Europe, but chose to return to his home in the Rochester area.
“I’m excited to be here to help shepherd Greece Baptist Church into the 21st century,” he said. “This is a great place to live. Folks are down-to-earth and caring. We are living in a time when many mainline churches are declining, but we have a strong bond of faith and are looking ahead to a bright future.”
Gretz sees his role as pastor being primarily to encourage members to grow spiritually in their individual faith journeys, and to grow together as they share their experience of God’s love. Through preaching, teaching and counseling, he tries to help people understand different faith traditions, and apply those understandings to their daily lives.
Gretz tries to articulate a positive message and be a voice for progressive Christians.
“We badly need to hear this message today,” he said. “We live in a time of bitter partisan divisions. It seems like we’ve forgotten how to discuss important issues with honesty and respect. Many people view churches today as divisive forces and part of our society’s problem, but I believe we can be a unifying force for good.
“All too often people of faith get bogged down in disputes and fights about points of doctrine or particular social causes, and forget that, despite our disagreements, we are called to love each other and be united in the love of God. I believe we need to listen to each other, to be tolerant and loving toward those who disagree with us and to strive to follow the teaching and example of Jesus in all we do.”
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