Merlin Kretschmar, Pastor, Evangelist, Dies at 76

f God is telling you to do something for Him, do it with all your heart!” challenged Merlin Kretschmar at the end of his last sermon given on December 1, 2007, in the Key Largo, Florida, Seventh-day Adventist Church. Four days later, he died of a massive heart attack at age 76.

[Photo: Larry Blackmer/AR]
Kretschmar’s life was dedicated to Christian service, whether in the jungles of South America, the concrete “jungle” of New  York City, or the party atmosphere of Key West. He spent forty-two years in denominational service in pastoral, evangelistic, and administrative positions, including 16 years as president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Greater New York Conference, where he and his wife launched an innovative “Van Ministry” to reach the community.

On retiring in 1994, Merlin and Juanita, his wife, felt led to the Florida Keys, where he pastored churches on two occasions. In 1996, the Kretschmars began a faith-based tourist attraction ministry in Key West with creation as the theme of the A Key Encounter nature theater located a few hundred yards from cruise ship docks. In 2003, in honor of George, their deceased pastor son, a planetarium was added with the Ultimate Encounter portraying the second coming of Christ.

“We retired from our work at the conference, “ he stated in an interview with Adventist Review in 2007, “but we never plan to retire from doing God’s work.”

"[Pastor] Kretschmar was viewed as a spiritual hero by those who worked with him,” says Michael Cauley, Florida Conference President. “I was so deeply inspired by his dedication and complete commitment to doing God's will. The memory of his life serves as an inspiration to all who want to be known as faithful followers of Jesus."

Survivors include Juanita; a son, Joseph; a daughter, Suzanne Land; a brother, Norman; a sister, Joyce Reiswig; and seven grandchildren.
                                                                                       — Florida Conference Communication Department.


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