Pastor Paul Messner was born in Floral Park Long Island, July 31, 1950, and was raised in the New York City metropolitan area. Following graduation from high school in Waldwick, New Jersey, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was a member of two Air Force bands, in South Carolina and Virginia, from 1968 to 1972. After being honorably discharged, he began studies at the American University in Washington, DC, graduating in May 1975, Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Political Science.
On June 15, 1974, he married Martha Richtsfeld at Atonement Lutheran Church, Oneonta. Aartha is a "retired" nurse who works in elder care in the Oneonta area. Born and raised on a farm near Delhi, NY Martha did her nurse training at Fox Hospital School of Nursing, Oneonta. Paul and Martha have two children - Joshua and Rebekah, and four grandchildren, Emerson, Ezekiel, Annalies, and Simeon.
Pastor Paul has worked for the Library of Congress, for former Congressman Morris Udall of Arizona, and as a nurse's aide at the Lutheran Home, Gettysburg, PA.
In August, 1977, the Messners moved to Gettysburg, PA where Pastor Paul began studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (one of the oldest Lutheran seminaries still in existence in the western hemisphere - the only older one was Hartwick Seminary). Pastor Paul's Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was at Holy Spirit Hospital, Camp Hall, PA. His seminary vicarage/ student pastorate was served at Immanual Lutheran, Jamestown, NY> He completed his seminary studies in January, 1982 and graduated in May of that year. He was ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament on March 13, 1982 at the chapel of the Abiding Presence, Gettysburg Seminary. Beginning in 1982, he was Associate Pastor of Luther Memorial, North Syracuse. From July, 1987 to July, 1997, he served as pastor of Zion, Seward, St. John's, Sharon Springs, and St. Paul's, Richmondville. In mid-1997. Zion and St. John's formally merged to become Zion St. John's Lutheran Church of Seward and Sharon Springs. Pastor Paul was called to serve as their pastor, and also as pastor of Evangelical Church, Hartwick Seminary. On October 1, 2003, he became the called pastor of St. Matthew and Atonement, with Evangelical. Starting in 2004, St. John, West Burlington joined to created the four congregation Otsego County Lutheran Parish, where he continues to serve.
Pastor Paul was elected Dean of the Foothills Conference in April, 1996. He serves as Administrator of the Hartwick Seminary Institute of Theology, at Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY, a week long adult education program. He is also a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity (S.T.S.), a pan-Lutheran order of clergy for study and prayer.
In his spare time, Pastor Paul enjoys reading, writing, music, composing hymns, travel, physical exercise, and being with family and friends.