The Rev. Erwin E. Boettcher led the Holy Communion service at Lancaster Moravian Church in celebration of the John Hus Festival on Sunday, July 8th. The date was also a celebration of another sort, as it was exactly 60 years and two days after his ordination as a pastor!
Rev. Boettcher was ordained July 6, 1952 at Camp Van-Es, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Camp Van-Es is significant to Rev. Boettcher because, in his teens, he helped to build the camp and spent several summers camping there. These experiences accompanied by the prayers of his very devout Moravian mother, greatly influenced his spiritual journey.
Born in Bruderheim, Alberta, he is the son of the late Emil and Martha Boettcher. Following graduation from Walker High School in Bruderheim, Rev. Boettcher spent three years at the University of Alberta pursuing an Engineering degree before recognizing God’s call to the ministry and transferring to Moravian College. After receiving his B.A., he went on to Moravian Theological Seminary for his M.Div. (Master of Divinity) degree.
Starting as a “church planter” in Edmonton, Erwin went on to serve other Moravian churches in St. Charles, Minn.; Freedom, Wis.; Northfield, Minn. (along with two smaller United Methodist congregations); and Madison, Wis. before being called to Lancaster County, Pa. in 1981 to serve as Chaplain at Moravian Manor in Lititz. He retired July 1, 1992 after serving as pastor for the United Methodist Church in Brunnerville, Pa.
Reflecting on his ministry, Rev. Boettcher realized that during his early years in the pastorate he was very active with youth and camping and then in his later years, became drawn to caring for the elderly. “Now,” he says, “I am elderly!” Yet he remains an active member at Lancaster Moravian and represents the church at Lancaster County Council of Churches and at Brethren Village where he currently resides and leads a Bible study group.
Rev. Boettcher was married to (the late) Dorothy Mae Wright in March 1951. They raised three daughters Wendy Hardiman married to Bill; Jill Bruckart married to Rev. Richard Bruckart (now pastor at First Moravian Church in Riverside, N.J.); and Rebecca Jones married to Kelly and have three grandchildren.
A celebration of Rev. Boettcher’s 60 years as a pastor was held following the service at Lancaster Moravian Church.
Priscilla Weidman is a member of Lancaster Moravian Church in Lancaster, Pa.
From the September 2012 Moravian Magazine