Suwak ordained as Lutheran minister

WEIRTON – The Rev. Peter M. Suwak of Paris, Pa., was ordained a minister in the Office of Word and Sacrament by the laying-on of hands July 27 at his home church, Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Suwak has accepted a call to pastoral ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and will serve the Accident Lutheran Parish, including Grace Lutheran Church in Friendsville, Md., and St. Paul and St. John Lutheran Churches in Accident, Md.

Bishop Ralph Dunkin presided over the celebration of Holy Communion and Rite of Ordination, and the Rev. Michael Heckathorn, Trinity and Resurrection Lutheran Churches pastor, led the liturgy. Linda Leonard, Resurrection Council president, was the worship assistant. The Rev. Sharon van Dam delivered the sermon and the Rev. Phil van Dam presented Suwak for ordination. The Rev. John Tollner, former Resurrection pastor, and the Rev. Fred Wilkins and Roger Raymond Fischer, former Trinity pastors, participated in the service, along with local clergy, including the Rev. Emile Theobald-Rowlands, the Rev. Chris Suehr, the Rev. Paul Schafer, the Rev. Tormod Svensson, the Rev. Joel Richter and the Rev. Matthew Riegal.

Lucille Wilkins, organist and Nicole Dufalla, guitarist, soloist and Suwak’s niece, provided the music.

A dinner reception at the church immediately followed the service.

Suwak graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., May 2013, receiving master’s degree of divinity.

He spent more than 30 years as a civil rights trial attorney, most recently basing his practice in Washington, Pa. He received a doctorate degree in jurisprudence from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1976 and a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., in 1973

He and his wife June have been members of Resurrection Lutheran Church since 2001 and were previously members of Trinity Lutheran Church.

In its 52-year history, two members of Resurrection served as missionaries and five members became ordained ministers.