Louis Zbinden, pastor of First Church, San Antonio, announces retirement effective June 1

Recently, the First Presbyterian Church Foundation, acting on behalf of the congregation, demonstrated its appreciation for his guidance and their hope for a new generation of church leaders by raising $1.2 million to endow the Louis H. and Katherine S. Zbinden Chair of Pastoral Ministry and Leadership at Austin Seminary. The chair will provide funding to call, for one-to-five-year terms, distinguished and experienced pastors to teach in the broad area of ministry, including: church administration, stewardship, worship, preaching, Christian education, pastoral care and church programming.

In accepting the gift, the seminary’s board of trustees voted to elect Zbinden as the first holder of the chair following his retirement from First church.

“Perhaps the two things that have most clearly defined Louis Zbinden’s years in San Antonio have been a renewed pledge to evangelism and a continuing increase in the church’s historical involvement with outreach programs that proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond the walls of the church. Zbinden has involved himself in San Antonio community concerns, including notable commitment to some 16 ministries and projects in the past 25 years at First Presbyterian Church,” said the church’s communication director, Judson Taylor.

Zbinden is a graduate of Southwestern University at Memphis (now Rhodes College) and Union Seminary in Virginia, with a Master of Theology degree from Princeton Seminary. Prior to serving First church, San Antonio, he was pastor at the oldest Presbyterian church in Virginia, Augusta Stone church in Fort Defiance, and First church in Lenoir, N.C. He and his spouse, Kip, are the parents of four children: Anne Sherrill Zbinden, Dr. Louis H. Zbinden III, Katherine H. Farrimond and Elizabeth M. Baker.

Zbinden was a nominee for moderator of the 205th General Assembly in 1997, but lost the election to Patricia Brown of Cincinnati.

Zbinden was chair of the Austin Seminary Board of Trustees from 1999-2002; he continues to serve on the boards of the Texas Presbyterian Foundation, Trinity University, the Presbyterian Outlook Foundaiton and the Presbyterian Outreach Foundation.

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