Out Of Retirement, To Where God Leads


Gary Spraker retired in June of this year after 47 years with the Methodist ministry.


His family roots go back five generations of Methodists. He led Methodist parishes in California, Chicago and when he retired, in Oriskany Falls and Bouckville.


When he stepped away from the pulpit six months ago at age 70, Spraker opened his mind and heart to what God had next in mind for him. “This was kind of a surprise,’’ he admitted.


Spraker leads the Lebanon Federated Church, established in 1920 in the Baptist faith. To better walk the walk with his congregation, Spraker was baptized into the Baptist faith this summer.


“God has led me here,’’ he said. “I’ve given up the idea of traditional retirement. Well, I’ll do 35 years here as I did in the Methodist faith and retire at 105, I suppose.’’


Spraker said he was a Boy Scout when he began thinking of the ministry as a calling. The Oneida native was ordained into the Methodist ministry June 30, 1975, earning a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University. From there, he attended law school in California before starting his professional career outside of the ministry.


“When I was in California I had a part-time role with a church,’’ he said.


Reconciling his two career paths came easy, Spraker said. “American law is based in Judeo-Christian law,’’ he said. “I saw a lot of similarity.’’


He worked in Chicago for quite a while and then felt the tug to return to this area. He was eventually assigned to the Methodist churches in Oriskany Falls and Bouckville, where he said he enjoyed the…



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