Pastors of the Silver Run Parish

Rev. Roland A. Ries





The following articles were given to St. Mary's, June 2005, by Mrs. Ilona Ries.

Article from The Carroll County Times, Pastor of the Week column, by Gerald Fischman, Staff Writer, 1984.

Although the son of a Lutheran Minister who emigrated from Denmark, the Rev. Roland A. Ries of St. Mary's Lutheran Parish tried to go his own way as a young man.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins with a major in business economics, he did accounting work for American Oil Co. and National Lead Co. and worked part-time five years for the Gallup Poll.

Still, "sometimes I was not happy with working behind a desk, he said. He sometimes went to services at three or four different churches on Sundays and, when he went for counseling, was told, "you have an uncommonly high religious interest.' So, at about age 25, he went back to school in preparation for the ministry. For the past 21 years, Ries has been pastor of St. Mary's Lutheran Parish, which consists of the 222-year-old congregation of St. Mary's Lutheran Church at Silver Run and the 105-year-old congregation at St. Matthew's in Pleasant Valley, a union church shared with a Reformed congregation.

In that time, he is especially proud of the members' commitment to their congregations, evidenced by such things a the formation of long-standing Bible study groups. "The fellowship and the digging into Scripture is extremely important," he said.

Another accomplishment Ries noted was of a different nature: St. Mary's completed a $70,000 improvement program for its 89 year-old church building three years ago.

St. Mary's congregation has about 250 members; St. Matthew's about 150. "Over half of all the churches in the United States have under 200 (in their congregations), which says something about what smaller churches offer - the fellowship," Ries said.

Ries' father was one of a group of Lutheran clergymen who came to America in answer to an advertisement for young ministers. He wound up in Atchison, Kan.; Ries was born in Chicago and brought up in Nebraska and Maryland.

After deciding to go into the ministry, Ries got a masters degree in counseling from Johns Hopkins, studied at Gettysburg (Pa.) Seminary and did graduate work in education at the University of Maryland. He pastored Zion Lutheran Church in Baltimore, then served as director of parish education and youth work for the Lutheran synod of Maryland - a job in which he visited more than 100 churches.

One of his proudest accomplishments from those years was being one of the founders and the first director of Mar-Lu Ridge, a facility in the Catoctin mountains of Frederick County that now accepts thousands of campers from church groups and schools each year.

Dean of the Western District of the Lutheran Church in Maryland for six years, Ries serves on the Maryland Synod's world mission committee and stewardship council.

Married, Ries lives in Silver Run. He has three grown children - two sons and a daughter - and two grandchildren.

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Article from The Baltimore Sun, Obituaries, Monday, July 12, 1993. By Fred Rasmussen, Contributing Writer.

The Rev. Roland A. Ries, a retired Lutheran minster who had been the pastor of several Carroll County churches, died Thursday of renal failure at York Hospital in York, Pa. He was 76.

He retired in 1985 after 22 years as pastor of the former Silver Run Lutheran parish churches of St. Matthew's and St. Mary's, both in Pleasant Valley near Westminster.

Mr. Ries began his pastoral career in 1945 at the old Zion Lutheran Church in Hamilton, which he desegregated in 1955. He left the church in 1958, and it closed in 1990.

He was the director of parish education and youth work for the former Maryland Lutheran Synod from 1958 to 1963 and was the director of its summer school, conducted at Hood College. In 1959 he became the first director of the Camp and Conference Center at Mar-Lu Ridge in the Frederick County community of Jefferson.

He also was the Protestant chaplain on the hospital ship Hope in 1968.

After his retirement, he performed volunteer work for the library of the Lutheran Theological College in Makumira, Tanzania, from 1985 to 1987. He also was an administrative assistant at the University of Nations, Kailua-Ko-na, Hawaii, and participated in the University Outreach Program in the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan from 1988 to 1989.

He was born in Chicago and came to Baltimore in 1929 when his father bcame pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church on East Monument Street. He was a 1934 graduate of City College and received his bachelor's degree in political science and economics in 1937 from Johns Hopkins University.

His wife, the form Ilona Reichl whom he married in 1943, said her husband was an avid reader who maintained an interest in world affairs. At the time of his death, he had satisfied the credit requirements for a doctoral degree in human development.

He was fond of saying, "I go to the library like some folks go tot he saloon," Mrs. Ries said.

Mr. Ries was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Westminster and was a former member of the Maryland Mountain Club. He also served on the board and was a founder of the Carroll Lutheran Village, a retirement home and health center built in 1980.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Grace Lutheran Church, 21 Carroll St., Westminster.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Lawrence E. Ries of Rockville and Daniel R. Ries of Belmont, Mass.; a daughter, Helen C. Ries of Charleston, W.Va.; a brother, Eugene D. Ries of Geneva, Switzerland; and four grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the York Hospital Dialysis Center, 410 Pine Grove Commons, York, Pa. 17403.