The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Visitation pastor isn't the retiring type

Edward Keller retired from the ministry in 1975 — and then he went to work. For the last 25 years, Keller, 92, has spent most of his weekdays visiting hospitals and retirement centers in the Lincoln, Neb., area, praying with and talking to people, most of whom are younger than he is.

Asked how he stays active at his age, Keller, a member of Sheridan Lutheran Church, Lincoln, Neb., repeats one of his favorite jokes: "I like to reverse the numbers of my age and say I am 29. Before I said I was 19 instead of 91."

Keller's visits began in 1975 soon after he and his wife, Anna, moved to Lincoln. His duties take him to nearly two dozen people a week. The list now includes his wife, who lives in a retirement center. "I go and help her eat every day," said Keller, who has continued to drive himself 20 miles to some of his weekly appointments.

Keller said he rarely thinks about his age and has no plans to stop being a visitation pastor, as long as he is healthy.

"I was retired, then I was tired, and now I'm working," he said.


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February issue


Embracing diversity