October 30, 2009 – A minister who on Thursday received the Jefferson Award for Cumberland County for extraordinary public service sees himself as more of a matchmaker than a hero.
The Rev. Randy Barr of Hampden Twp., pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Dauphin for the past decade, said that he was “very surprised and honored” to receive the award sponsored by the United Way, WGAL and PSECU. The Jefferson Awards were presented at a banquet at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel.
The Jefferson Award for Public Service honors people for outstanding service to their communities.
Barr, a minister for 35 years, said he simply “tells stories and opens doors. People hear my stories. Some are empowered and encouraged by them.”
Barr retired from his Lutheran ministry and pursued other interests for five years.
“It became clear to me that my heart was into service,” he said. “God gave me the inspiration. So I went to the Lutheran bishop and said ‘I want back in.’ He offered to send me to the suburbs, but I wanted either Allison Hill or the boonies. So he offered me Dauphin. They looked me over and decided I was the right fit for them.”
Lucretia Y. Crum, a member of his congregation, called Barr an inspiration who has led the church into a service ministry.
“Under his direction, many initiatives and missions have become the primary focus of our church life with Christ,” she said. “Like the phoenix, we have risen from the ashes of a dying church to a vibrant and growing mission congregation.”
This month, the congregation honored Barr with a church service, a celebration of his ministry and a luncheon. They gave him a memorial brick in his honor at the Lutheran World Relief Headquarters in Baltimore. His wife, Anne Reeves, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Red Lion, and their children also honored him….