Rev. Dr. Stephen P. Fritz

Pastor Steve was born into a Salvation Army family that eventually moved over to the Reformed tradition.  He was a practicing Christian from a young age, but turned his life over to Jesus Christ on a camping retreat as a teenager to begin his personal relationship with the Lord.

Steve married his high school sweetheart, Meg (Margaret Culbertson) in 1989, and together raised three children -- Sarah (New Orleans), Brian (U.S. Army, married to Nicole), and Andrew (Richards Energy Group, father of grandson Eli).  Steve and Meg built a home in West Hempfield, PA with Steve’s parents Howie and Marion in 2002 for mutual support and long term care.

Valuing both head and heart in his personal life and pastoral ministry, education has always been important to Steve toward helping others.  His academic career includes attending Haddon Heights High School in southern New Jersey (Class of 1977), and earning degrees from Rutgers University (B.A. Psychology, 1982), Fairleigh Dickinson University (M.A. Clinical Psychology, 1984), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1989), and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (D.Min., 2014).

Ordained by the Presbytery of West Jersey (PCUSA) in June 1989, Steve served solo pastorates at Providence Presbyterian Church in Burlington (Florence Twp.), New Jersey, and Keyser Presbyterian Church in West Virginia before moving to Lancaster County.  In June 1989 Steve began his tenure as Pastor/Head of Staff of Wayside Presbyterian Church.  The pastor and people took a sabbatical summer in 2008 to discern development of the ministry to reach more people for Christ.  Steve rejoices in the variety of programs now offered at Wayside, and loves preaching in the two styles of traditional and contemporary worship.

Prior to ordination Steve worked in geriatric care, special education, and the court system as a probation officer.  He also drove a school bus and limousines during seminary.  His hobbies include making music with guitar and voice, playing lunchtime basketball at the local gym, and working on his property with Meg, especially tending his small fruit orchard.

Our pastor describes himself as a “liberal conservative,” clear on his own biblical and theological positions, but open to dialogue and mutual ministry with people of diverging opinions.  He is committed to ecumenical relations, and understands the Presbyterian Church to be but one member of the beautifully diverse body of Christ.  He is insistent upon calling people to a personal relationship with Christ, holding them accountable for their choices, and encouraging a journey of life and faith that engenders personal and communal healing, wholeness, and peace (shalom).  Sunday morning worship, he believes, is “the best hour of group therapy” available, and it’s free!