Bethel Baptist Church pastor retiring

Photo by Jess Mancini From the left, Associate Pastor Kevin Brosius, retiring Pastor Randy Kochersperger and secretary Susie Vaughan of the Bethel Baptist Church pose for a photo on the occasion of Kochersperger’s retirement after 32 years at the church. His first sermon at the church was March 2, 1986, and his last as pastor will be Sunday, March 4.

PARKERSBURG — The pastor at the Bethel Baptist Church is retiring.

Pastor Randy Kochersperger has been the lead pastor at Bethel since 1986 and will preach his last sermon on Sunday.

“I’ll just be kind of reminiscing,” Kochersperger said about the sermon.

He has been cleaning out his office at the church where the shelves Thursday remained filled with books.

Associate Pastor Kevin Brosius has been with Kochersperger for more than four years.

“Scripture and prayer to conform to the image of Christ,” Brosius said. “That’s been his motto here.”

Kochersperger was raised in Philadelphia, Pa., and received his license to be a minister in 1969.

He graduated from Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia where he received a bachelor’s of arts in humanities with an emphasis in religion and philosophy.

During his undergraduate years at Alderson Broaddus, Kochersperger was the minister at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Beverly, W.Va. It was on the job training for all aspects of the ministry, he said.

“While I was in college,” he said.

After he graduated from Alderson Broaddus in 1973, he attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Ky., where he received a Master’s of Divinity in 1975. Kochersperger received his Doctor of Ministry in 1982 from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

He received a degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

From Jan. 1, 1976, to Dec. 31, 1977, Kochersperger was the associate pastor of the First Baptist Church in Saginaw, Mich.

After Saginaw, he was pastor at the Bethesda Baptist Church in Barrackville, W.Va., from 1978 to 1986.

His first sermon at Bethel was March 2, 1986.

Kochersperger also retired after 31 years as a chaplain in the West Virginia Army National Guard, achieving the rank of general and overseeing pastors in the guard. He served in Desert Storm with the 201st Field Artillery of the West Virginia Army National Guard.

With his wife Zoann, they have two children, Hans and Yohanna, and three grandchildren.

Kochersperger plans to keep his hand in the ministry upon retirement. He has applied to be a part-time minister at Camden Clark Medical Center and may be involved in the Veterans Administration hospital at Clarksburg, too.

“I’d like to stay involved in ministry,” Kochersperger said. “You always serve the Lord.”