Benediction echoes theme of Christie address

The Rev. Wayne Zschech speaks with Gov. Christie's father, Bill, and his wife, Fran, before the address.
The Rev. Wayne Zschech speaks with Gov. Christie's father, Bill, and his wife, Fran, before the address. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 16, 2014

When it was time to give the benediction at Gov. Christie's State of the State address Tuesday, the Rev. Wayne Zschech could have been at his Haddonfield church.

As soon as Christie concluded his highly anticipated, 46-minute speech to a packed Statehouse, the audience of lawmakers and dignitaries began chatting.

Zschech, senior pastor at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, said his congregation often responds in a similar manner after the closing hymn, packing up and preparing to leave.

So he quickly used a loud voice to rein in the audience and deliver the brief benediction, which lasted about 30 seconds by his estimation.

"They were very respectful and attentive to the word that I had to share," Zschech said. "It was a good day."

Christie again apologized for a political scandal involving lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Zschech gave Christie high marks and said the governor conveyed "a genuine sense of concern and care."

Zschech echoed a theme shared by Christie in a call for prosperity for New Jersey. The pastor expressed hope for a "spirit of cooperation and reconciliation" among leaders.

"May the gracious and loving God of all creation guide us in realizing that liberty and prosperity are not merely the words of our state motto but what is desired for all those who call New Jersey their home," Zschech said.

"Keep us ever mindful that we have been blessed to be a blessing, and may we be generous in sharing with those in need from the abundance the Lord has first provided us in all aspects of life."

Zschech (pronounced "check") was recommended to give the benediction by a church member who works for Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald (D., Camden).

Friends from around the country sent well-wishes and posted messages on his Facebook page. "I know your Mom would have been beaming with pride," one wrote.

Zschech, 50, grew up in Cinnaminson and was ordained in 1992 at St. John's in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia.


mburney@phillynews.com

856-779-3814 @mlburney

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