MARION — John Seitz, the lead pastor at Antioch Christian Church in Marion, died Thursday morning.
Seitz, 51, became ill in March 2018 with “significant, even at times, incapacitating pain,” according to a message to the congregation at the time, though he was doing better more recently, an elder told The Gazette. He had not been preaching regularly, per the recommendation of doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, but did on and off, including on Easter, the elder said.
Seitz had been a part of the church since 2000.
“We, as elders and staff, are ministering to the family and ask for your prayers during this tough time,” the staff and elders wrote in a note to church members on Thursday. “Our church has suffered a tremendous loss. It is a time to mourn for the Seitz family and our extended family at Antioch.”
Elder Joel Grandon, speaking on behalf of the elders, said via text message that Seitz “served Christ with a passion and had a heart to help people.”
“John Seitz was a man who loved Jesus, his family and his church. He knew his purpose was to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and he worked every day to accomplish his purpose,” Grandon said. “... He was a preacher, friend and encourager to those at Antioch and in the community. ... He was a gifted preacher who would make you feel like his message was meant just for you, and he always had time to listen and pray with you. I am confident he has heard those words every Christian strives to hear: ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.’”
The church held an informal service — like a “family gathering” — on Friday evening to mourn the loss of Seitz. Funeral arrangements have not be announced but are being handled by Murdoch Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Marion.
Antioch provided a link for people to help Seitz’s family with meals on its website.
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Antioch Christian Church has a congregation of several thousand, Grandon said, and the church plans to open a second location in Oelwein in the fall.
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