ELCA pastor C. Thomas Spitz Jr., 86, died Nov. 2 in Manhasset, Long Island, N.Y.
In 1967, Spitz became the first general secretary of the Lutheran Council in the USA, a cooperative effort of the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America (ELCA predecessors), the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. Through the council, the churches developed joint programs of social service, missions, public relations, service to military personnel, service to students, overseas aid and ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
Ordained an LCMS pastor in 1944, Spitz served a variety of calls, including as director of broadcasting for Lutheran Hour Ministries, a worldwide LCMS radio ministry. He served as executive associate for Evangelical Lutherans in Mission and as president of the Lutheran Church in Mission, two groups that helped form the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, an ELCA predecessor.
Robert E. A. Lee, who directed Lutheran Film Associates, a unit of LCUSA, said Spitz “was known within pan-Lutheranism for his stature” and “used his political talents and ecumenical global experience in serving as a key member of the committee to form our new church—the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”
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