Pastor Mark Brodbeck, and his wife Barbara are emphasizing a four letter word at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Newcomerstown.

They also have a special philosophy on the use of this four letter word! Now before anybody gets the wrong idea, the word is not a bad word, it is a good, and very appropriate four letter word that should be used each and every day. The word, "Love," and the Brodbecks’ philosophy of loving one another, and sharing the love is also most appropriate. It’s the perfect time to share it with everyone, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

The Brodbecks came to St. Paul last year as Pastor Mark responded the church’s dilemma of being without a pastor. The church was in the process of finding a new pastor following the retirement of the former pastor. Pastor Mark had agreed to accepting a position as a supply pastor to the church until just a few months ago when he was installed as the church’s long term supply pastor.

Pastor Mark and his wife said they felt that they were called to the church for a special reason. In these current times, and days of uncertainty, they said that they felt that the church was in need of reassurance, along with some re-direction, and strengthening the practice of loving one another. The Brodbecks said they became aware that the church had suffered not only physical loss, but emotional loss with the arson related fire of the original St. Paul in October, 1999, and during re-building, the church lost members along the way. The church also had several pastoral changes since the re-building, which contributed to the congregation reportedly feeling fragmented, lost and uncertain.

Even with the decreased attendance that all churches are seeing these days, St. Paul has slowly been gaining new members, as well as regaining some previous members. St. Paul is also still refurbishing some of the items that had been in storage that had survived the devastating fire. Recently a church member had brought in the original offering trays that had been a part of St. Paul for many years, having been in storage since the fire. With some minor restoration the trays will now hopefully be able to be utilized in the services once again.

Pastor Mark and his wife have several ideas to help offer some strengthening and solidarity to the congregation of St. Paul. One new idea to improve communication, and offer some continuity to dispersing information to the congregation, and community, was the design of the church’s new website (splutherannct.org). Barbara Brodbeck, who has a talent and background with computer designing, is now the church’s first Discipleship and Webmaster Director. The website will also feature inspirational, and family nurturing, spiritual feeding, and daily devotions to offer additional support, and share the Brodbeck’s message of sharing and strengthening the love at St. Paul, and throughout the community.

Brodbeck and his wife both originate from western Ohio. They have known each other since elementary school, and were married at the Zion Lutheran Church in St. Mary’s in 1979.

Brodbeck, who has been in the parish ministry for over 30 years, earned a Doctorate degree from the Winebrenner Theological Seminary. He is also employed as full-time chaplain at Signature Healthcare in Coshocton, and is a member of the Coshocton Ministerial Association. The Brodbeck’s son, Joshua is a professional organist, and will be featured at a special concert at St. Paul in March of this year. Their daughter in-law is also a Methodist minister at Powell, Ohio.