“He was a pastor's pastor,” said Dave Beelen, pastor of Madison Square Church, where Chris Schroeder served and worshiped. “His gentle way and easy transparency about his own burdens as a pastor invited pastors in need to share with him.” Schroeder died on January 19, six years following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 74.
Schroeder’s first career was serving his country as an engineer with the CIA at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. There he gave his life to Jesus Christ and decided to study at Boston’s Gordon Conwell Seminary.
After pastoring United Methodist congregations in Alden, Mich., and Sunfield, Mich., the Schroeders went to Eastern Europe in 1992 where he taught pastors and church leaders in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He then served at Grace Ministries in Budapest, Hungary. Schroeder deeply loved this time of teaching and discipling and the adventure of being undercover again in these communist regions.
Returning to Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2003, Schroeder eventually found fulfillment using his pastoral gifts at Madison Square Church and was ordained in the CRC in 2006. He and his wife led retreats for hurting pastors and spouses with PastorCare and Shepherd's Heart Ministries. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2013.
Schroeder made a decision every day to thank God for his goodness and faithfulness. Proactive and faithful in fighting the disease through exercise and diet, he was even willing to try a ballet class. He attended several Parkinson's support groups and was encouraged and strengthened in his faith and trust in God, although he lamented that his ministry had to end so soon. He moved to Vista Springs Assisted Living in May 2018 without complaints.
He will be lovingly remembered by Carolyn, his wife of 51 years, and by four children and eight grandchildren.