2016 Faithful Servant Award

The Rev. Dennis Stylski was presented with Chaplain Partnership’s 2nd Annual Faithful Servant Award at their 8th Annual Brew Fest held October 13, 2016 at Market Garden Brewery.

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The Rev. Dennis Stylski and his wife Gerry

The Faithful Servant Award has a long tradition of recognizing distinguished service to the people of northeast Ohio through Lutheran-affiliated endeavors, whether they are based in congregations, social ministry agencies, schools or other organizations that serve our area. Previously, the award was presented by Lutheran Agencies Organized in Service (LAOS), a confederation of Lutheran social service agencies, but the decision was made by its board two years ago to permit each member agency the opportunity to present its own award recognizing individuals who have made northeast Ohio a better place to live.

Rev. Stylski began his career as a pastor at Ashtabula’s Faith Lutheran Church, where he quickly became active in community service, including serving as president of the board of a local Family Service Agency and in 1975 he received Ashtabula County’s “Man of the Year Award”. After leading Faith Lutheran Church for six years, he and his family arrived at Bethesda-on-the-Bay Lutheran Church in Bay Village in December 1977 where he served as pastor for the next 38 years until his retirement last year.

In addition to his service as pastor of his church, he served 12 years on the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Board, 35 years on the Knickerbocker Senior Citizens Board, several years on the Bay Village Foundation and was co-chair of the levy committee to build the new Bay Middle School. This levy succeeded, as did a second levy to continue support for the school system.

Rev. Stylski also helped to instill a strong mission of community service at Bethesda-on-the-Bay, which currently sponsors nine Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups, Thanksgiving and Christmas programs for inner city youth, and has reached in its ministry as far as a school for Haitian children and provided funding for five water systems in a Guatemalan village. The Bethesda Child Care Center also serves the community by helping children with schoolwork before and after school.

During his tenure as pastor at Bethesda, the congregation voted to do something extraordinary during each 10-year anniversary of the church. This included committing 10% of its annual budget to benevolence to support the worldwide work of the church, a commitment that has been faithfully made for 35 consecutive years. Other projects included the renovation of the sanctuary with new stained glass windows and a Casavant pipe organ, the addition of a steeple, bell tower and boat garden in the yard, new roof and windows for the facility, as well as a renovated kitchen, church lounge, and the addition of a youth playground. Bethesda also has faithfully supported special hunger and other worldwide concerns through Lutheran World Relief.

Rev. Stylski’s final services at Bethesda were a testament to the respect and love for this man and his many years of service. His final service on Sept. 27, 2015, was attended by more than 360 past and present parishioners and friends, including the Rev. Karl Bierman, Assistant to the Bishop of the Northeast Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

One week earlier, he and Bishop Abraham Allende, Bishop of the Northeast Ohio Synod of the ELCA, celebrated the confirmation of its youth members. Also attending the service was a surprise visitor – the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding Bishop of the ELCA and its 10,000 churches in North America, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In retirement, Rev. Stylski fills in for friends in the pulpit and leads a Bible study group. He and his wife, Gerry, have four grown children and seven grandchildren.

Congratulations, Rev. Stylski, and best wishes for continued success!

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URL: https://chaplainpartnership.org/4260/2016-faithful-servant-award/