The Rev. Richard L. Hinkle is celebrating his 50th year of ordination at Christ Lutheran Church, Hazleton's, morning Eucharist on Sunday, May 22. Several congregations, including his home parish and others he served, will also be holding celebrations.

Hinkle, who resides in Weatherly, was ordained by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States of the Lutheran Church in America on May 28, 1961 at St. John Lutheran Church, Overbrook, Pa.

He served four parishes in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod: Girardville in Mahanoy City, Nativity in Allentown, St. John in Tamaqua and St. John in Slatington. Hinkle served at Lutheran Welfare Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania as its director of development in 1978, concluding with the agency as its senior vice president in 1988. During his tenure with LWS, he directed a capital funds appeal enabling the agency to secure the funding needed to build St. Luke Pavilion, Hazleton.

"It's a hard to say, 50 years is a long time, but as I reflect back on all the places I've been, one of my proudest moments was conducting the capital funds appeal to build St. Luke Pavilion," said Hinkle

During his ministry, he also served on a wide variety of synodical committees and was a member of the board of directors at Muhlenberg College.

Since their retirement in 1999, the Hinkles have resided in Weatherly. In addition to supplying parishes in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod as needed, Hinkle has served as the interim pastor at Friedens, New Ringgold/Advent Tuscarora, Jerusalem (Schuylkill Haven), Christ (Hazleton) and St. John (Jim Thorpe), where he practiced his favorite thing about being a minister, "working with people to communicate God's love."

The son of the late Wilbur and Margaret Hinkle, Hinkle grew up in Weatherly, graduating from its high school in 1954. He graduated with an A.B. degree from Muhlenberg College in 1958, a master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1961 and a master of science degree from the University of Scranton in 1986.

While a student at the seminary he served as a chapel organist and accompanist for the seminary's concert choir.

Hinkle and Gladys (DeFrain) Titus were married in May 1961 and are the parents of one daughter, Margaret, born in 1962. She is the wife of Michael Geiger and they reside in Slatington.