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The Rev. Henry Gerard KNOCHE


1942 - 2016 Notice Condolences
The Rev.  Henry Gerard KNOCHE Notice


The Rev. Henry Gerard Knoche, Bishop Emeritus of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, known fondly as "Jerry," died early today, May 5, 2016. Bishop Knoche was born on October 30, 1942, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was baptized at Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Baltimore during his first year of life, and confirmed on Palm Sunday in 1956 at Christ Lutheran Church in Catonsville. After graduating first in his class at Baltimore's Milford Mill High School, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Harvard College in 1964. Three years later, he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree, cum laude, from Yale Divinity School, having spent time doing Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. He earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 1973. Following his ordination by the Maryland Synod, Lutheran Church in America, on June 9, 1967, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Baltimore (now Journey of Faith Lutheran Church), Bishop Knoche began his career as assistant pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster, Maryland (a "town and country" parish of 1,700 members). In 1969, he took a new position as assistant chaplain at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he was promoted to associate chaplain in 1971. He continued his work on college campuses when he moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he became campus pastor with Lutheran Campus Ministry in 1974. In 1984, he was promoted to director of that program. During that time, he received both the award for Outstanding Campus Pastor in the United States and the Joseph A. Sittler Award. Bishop Knoche came home to Maryland in 1991, accepting a call to be pastor of New Hope Lutheran Church, a young mission congregation in Columbia. When he arrived, the congregation of 250 people was worshiping in a local elementary school cafeteria. During his nine-year tenure, he brought the congregation through two building programs and saw the membership grow to almost 1,100. The congregation was about to undertake a major capital fund drive when he was elected the third bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod on June 17, 2000, at the annual Synod Assembly in Westminster, Maryland. He was re-elected to a second term on June 3, 2006, at the Synod Assembly in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On October 31, 2009, he retired mid-term for health reasons. Most recently, he was a member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, and was serving as the co-chair of our synod's capital campaign, Forward in Faith. In his time as Bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, he was known for speaking about moving the church "from maintenance to mission," and for his dedication to ecumenical relationships, particularly with the Catholic Church, as he was close with then-Cardinal William Henry Keeler. His installation as Bishop took place at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen. He also strengthened the synod's commitment to racial justice ministry, and helped to create the Lutheran Community Consortium, now the Lutheran Development Alliance, which brought the synod its first Regional Gift Planner. He was one of 52 accomplished statewide leaders selected for the Leadership Maryland Class of 2002, an eight-month program designed to inform top-level executives from the public and private sectors about the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing the state of Maryland and its regions. Bishop Knoche was the author of two books: The Creative Task: Writing the Sermon, published by Concordia in 1977, and The Gift of the Gospel, published by Augsburg Fortress in 1984. Bishop Knoche is survived by his son, Nathan, and wife, Pamela, who live in Wisconsin, and his daughter, Nina, who lives in Randallstown and is the mother of Jerry's only grandchild, Nelson Gerard and by sister, Elizabeth Wilhelm of Randallstown and brother, Tom Knoche of Westmont, NJ. The family will hold visitation on Wednesday, May 11 from 6-9 p.m. at Haight Funeral Home (6416 Sykesville Road, Eldersburg, MD 21784). A funeral will be held on Thursday, May 12 at Christ Lutheran Church (701 S Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21230) at 11 a.m., to be followed by interment of ashes in the church's columbarium. Rostered leaders are invited to vest and process; the color of the day is white. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Delaware-Maryland Synod (575 S Charles Street, Suite 202, Baltimore. MD 21201) to be designated for campus ministry in our synod.
Published in Baltimore Sun on May 7, 2016
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