Retiring Grace Fellowship’s pastor: ‘I’ll miss the people’
Larry Katz, pastor of Grace Fellowship church in North Codorus Township, is pastor of one of York County’s largest churches. He plans to retire but has yet to determine a date. His church is an indicator of the suburbanization of the county. Background posts: Christ Lutheran is oldest York church – but how old? and Sandpaper Sisters rubs readers right way.
Larry Katz, retiring pastor of Grace Fellowship and one of York’s best known ministers, has led two historic York County churches.
He was pastor of the Gospel Center in the late 1980s. That Leader Heights church was one of the first – perhaps the first large suburban non-denominational church – in the York area… .
Under the Rev. Ralph Boyer’s pastorship, it grew from humble beginnings on Pine Street in post World War II York to a sprawling campus in York Township. The Gospel Center went through several pastors in the 1990s, re-formed and is known today as Bridgeway.
Katz left the Gospel Center to found the non-denominational Grace Fellowship, a church that swells York New Salem’s population each Sunday.
Its complex covers 100,000 square feet. With York Township’s Living Word Community Church and Manchester Township’s Stillmeadow Nazarene, it regularly attracts audiences of more than 1,000 each Sunday.
The growth of such churches are a sign of the times in York County. They originated in or near the city of York, re-located to the suburbs where people have moved in increasing numbers and have developed a variety of services – almost like small cities.
Their ministries are extensive and their preaching so winsome that they’ve stressed smaller, traditional denominations in nearby towns.
Stillmeadow, in particular, has extended ministries and services back into the city.
Now, Katz says he’ll leave when his successor is picked.
God, his family and the church have been the greatest gifts in his life, he said in a York Daily Record/Sunday News story (1/3/08).
“I don’t know that a pastor could have been treated more lovingly than I have been treated,” he said.
“I’ll miss the people.”
(The Rev. Ed Short succeeded Katz in May 2008.)