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Pastor gives zeal to Tribe of Judah Ministries

December 27, 2001

Pastor gives zeal to Tribe of Judah Ministries



By MARLO BARNHART
marlob@herald-mail.com


While the Tribe of Judah Word Ministries may sound like a synagogue, Pastor Don Kretzer said it is a Christian congregation whose name simply means "Family of Praisers" in Hebrew.

But that doesn't mean the little church on San Mar Road isn't strongly tied to the Jewish faith or, more accurately, the faith of Messianic Jews - Jews who believe in Jesus.

"We worship the God of the Jews," Kretzer said. "And for him, we owe the Jews a debt of gratitude."

Kretzer describes his church as a vital, healthy ministry.

"Our services are quite lively with tambourines and guitars ... it's a real celebration," Kretzer said.

The church is affiliated with the American Evangelical Christian Church. When Kretzer and his wife, Barbara, came to the church in 1992, it was the Mt. Lena Evangelical Christian Church.

"We were in between ministries when we found this little church," Kretzer said. "There were seven people meeting in a building that was falling down."

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Still Kretzer felt God had a plan for him.

"He spoke to my heart and I knew I belonged here," Kretzer said.

Kretzer met with the leaders of the church and together they began to build. A bathroom was added first, replacing first the outhouse and then a sanipot.

Next the basement was finished, and the walls and roof of the 30-by-60-foot former warehouse building were improved.

"It's a beautiful little church now," Kretzer said.

But the building isn't what makes the church - it's the people and the mission.

"We number 70 people now but we are no longer the people we were," Kretzer said.

The zeal and fervor shared by the congregation bring Kretzer to tears when he tries to tell others why they might want to join the little group.

On its own, the small congregation supports seven missionaries around the world, one each in Israel, the Philippines, India, Africa, Mexico and two in the United States. Kretzer said the membership is very proud of that number of missionaries, considering the size of the church.

Each Sunday at 10 a.m., the scriptures are taught as they are in many other Christian churches. Visitors are welcome to the church, located next to Greenbrier Elementary School at 21226 San Mar Road.

For more information on the congregation, call Kretzer at 301-797-6317.

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