By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
Pastor Donald Batz, 78, of Clinton, was 17 years old when he was called to be a minister.
Growing up in Peoria, Ill., Donald had planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and go to work for Caterpillar Inc. However he was very active in his Methodist church and kept thinking about working in the church.
“I kept feeling inside that I wanted someday to be a minister,” Donald said. “I certainly did not feel that I was worthy of such a call.”
Donald tried to deny the calling, but could not. He remembers talking about it with his mother one day when she was sitting at a dressing room table, brushing her hair. He asked her if he told her something, would she promise not to laugh. Then he told her he felt like he should be a minister.
“And she turned around and she looked at me. And she said, ‘I think that’s wonderful. I think you’ll be a fine minister,” Donald said.
After speaking with the pastors from his home church, he started the process of getting his license to preach. This year, Donald celebrates 60 years of being a licensed preacher.
Throughout the years, Donald has worked at several churches in Illinois, including the church he grew up in. He received his master’s of divinity degree, as well as his doctorate in social ethics. Donald was retired and living in Bettendorf when he was called to preach for one year at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Camanche.
“I fell in love with the people and they seemed to like me and that one year has turned out to be seven,” Donald said.
Two years ago he was also asked to serve the First Congregational Church in Clinton as well. He currently works part time in both congregations.
A Jubilee Celebration will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28 in the St. Mark’s fellowship hall. Donald is honored and humbled by the work his congregation has done to honor him. His wife and his four children, Lisa Rogers, Donnelle Pressburger, Matthew Batz and Cassondra Batz, are very proud of him.
Donald is content at the two churches. He feels he has been fortunate to be in the ministry for so many years.
“I can honestly say to you that there has never been one day of regret,” Donald said.