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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Update: Groce marks 90 years

Her age got Louisa Groce headlines in 1999 when—at 80—she graduated from the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, the oldest candidate ever to receive approval for ordination in the ELCA ("'God gets all the credit,'" May 1999).

Louisa Groce
Louisa Groce

Several months later—at 81—she was, in fact, called as pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Jersey City, N.J., the oldest new ordinand in the history of the ELCA or its predecessors ("Update: Louisa Groce appreciates ‘little miracles'," December 1999).

Groce celebrates her 90th birthday June 10 and nearly nine years of serving the congregation. And she’s really too caught up in the life of Redeemer to pay much heed to age. “If you ask me how old I am, I have to say, ‘Wait, wait, let me do the math,’ ” she said. “I’ve got lots of energy ... that’s God’s gift.”

Groce recalls a question she was asked when she started at Redeemer: “How long to do think you’ll be here?” Her answer then was the same at it is today: “As long as God tells me to stay here.”


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