A respected pastor, urban missionary, professor, author, and world-renowned speaker and consultant, Manny Ortiz had a tremendous ability to love everyone with whom he became acquainted and to challenge them to become more than they thought they could be. Most of all, he loved the Lord and worked tirelessly to assist others to do the same. Considered one of the premier leaders for church planting in the Christian Reformed Church and the church at large, Ortiz died in Philadelphia on February 8, at age 78, of complications of influenza.
Ortiz liked to tell people he was conceived in Puerto Rico but born in New York City. He grew up in Harlem; after high school he served his country for three years as a Marine. Ortiz was working for a loan company and was 30 years old when he met and accepted the Lord as his Savior.
After obtaining a Bachelor's degree from Philadelphia’s (Pa.) College of Bible in 1972, Ortiz and his wife moved to Chicago, Ill., where he earned a Master's degree from Wheaton. In Chicago, Ortiz was involved in founding five urban congregations, two elementary schools, and an extension school for theological education. Returning to Philadelphia in 1987, he completed a doctorate at Westminster Theological Seminary. He then became professor of ministry and urban missions there. He was also the founding and senior pastor of Spirit and Truth Fellowship (Christian Reformed Church), a position he held at the time of his sudden passing.
As co-director of the CRC (Home Missions) Philadelphia Initiative for Church Planting, Ortiz was involved in planting nine churches in Philadelphia, an elementary school, and numerous other ministries. After he retired from Westminster Theological Seminary in 2008, Ortiz began working with Biblical Theological Seminary, assisting them in developing their urban program. He retired from there in 2016.
Among those grieving the death of Ortiz are Blanca, his wife of 54 years; their four children Deb, Joe, Liz, and Stephen; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.