Ph.D. in Christian Ethics, Union
Theological Seminary in New York City, 1981.
M.Phil. in Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary
in New York City, 1977.
M.Div. in Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary
in New York City, 1974.
B.A. in Philosophy and Religion,
West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, WV, 1971.
Photo at the right is from my Ph.D. graduation.
Served in ministry between 1971-2011 and now Retired from parish ministry pastor appointments, but continuing in new forms of ministry - including web site management for churches and organizations as well as writing, wedding officiating and preaching.
Newport (July 2000-December 2011)
Salem - now Crossroads Church, Inver Grove Heights (September 15, 2010-June 30, 2011)
Hillcrest, Bloomington (1993-June 2000)
Central Park, St. Paul 1984-1993
Clarissa-Eagle Bend-Clotho (1981-84)
Ordained Elder, 1983, Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Ordained Deacon, 1973, West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
46 years since being called to ministry and serving communion for the first time
38 years since ordination
Forty years from first serving as a pastoral intern to retirement. During the ten years between my first internship in a church and my first appointment as pastor, I worked in many forms of ministry in New York City while studying and earning three degrees - Ph.D., M.Div. and M.Phil.
Officiated at over 850 weddings, 400 baptisms and 300 funerals while preaching 1500 sermons, teaching 50 classes and ministering with 5,000 parishioners.
Created SaintSavers Wedding Officiating, Photography, Videography, Sound Support and Web Services, 2003.
Wrote a short story, "Guilty Harry" in 2015. Read it HERE
Wrote eight romantic novels/screenplays in two years about religious, ethical and relationship issues (all are represented by Writers Literary Agency - epublished but still available for print publishing and film production). "Gary writes fast and he delivers on time."
Click here to go to Amazon.com. Then search for Gary Ritner to see all of my publications and download them for $2.99 each.
To read an article in the South Washington County Bulletin regarding my three novels written in 2007-08 CLICK HERE
My three novels are available for borrowing in PDF/Ebook format from the Washington County Library. They were selected by and placed there as part of the Local Content Project in 2012.
Courage In the Clutch
Fantasy Love Online
August '09: Epublished a romantic screenplay about second chances. Set in the world of professional golf, the screenplay focuses on fidelity in marriage and caring for one's family (an ethical alternative to infamous relationship scandals) -Mulligan
May '09: Epublished a romantic screenplay about teenage depression, alcoholism, love, skiing, and meaning set in a mystery about a teenager's disappearance - Missing Bryce
January '09: Epublished a romantic screenplay about sources of personal power in religion and philosophy for fulfilling dreams in later life - Carousel Unicorn
August '08: Epublished a romantic screenplay about courage, history and the Civil War - Search For Blame
March '08: Epublished an inspirational romantic Sci-Fi screenplay about a new planet to rescue earthlings and aliens from annihilation - Project Venus Haven
February '08: Epublished an inspirational romantic novel (in a pickup basketball setting). Pickup Hoops Games Ebook available for loan from the Washington County Library - Pickup Games
January '08: Epublished an inspirational romantic novel (encouraging safety and good decisions in online dating). Fantasy Love Online Ebook available for loan from the Washington County Library - Fantasy Love Online
April '07: Epublished an inspirational romantic novel (in a golf setting) about finding the courage to succeed under pressure. Courage In the Clutch Ebook available for loan from the Washington County Library - Courage In the Clutch
Wrote and Published FATHERS' LIBERATION ETHICS, University Press
of America, Lanham, MD, January, 1992. Click
on this text to check it out and for ordering information. Or ..... CLICK HERE to see an extensive preview on Google Books. FATHERS' LIBERATION ETHICS is on the shelves of over 200 academic college and university libraries in the US and Canada.
St Andrews - The Old Course, Swilken Bridge, 18th Hole CLICK HERE
Also in this photo - Augusta, The Masters, Number 12 and 13 - Pebble Beach, Number 7 - Speidel, Number 4 - Afton Alps Golf Club house, Pemaquid Point, Maine (where I survived a treacherous ocean current crashing waves against the rocks), Afton Alps Ski Area, Lift 16, Sailing Spinnaker, 17th Hole at TPC Sawgrass, floating green at Lake Couer d'Alene
CLICK HERE for my Water Color of Gopher Hills
Music Composing, Singing and Playing Keyboard
A Way of Gentle Caring," - a choral piece for Worship, Fall 1995. CLICK HERE to view a Flash presentation of my family slides and Pam (wife) and I singing "There's A Way of Gentle Caring." Resize the window that opens so that it is about 5 inches wide and 3 inches high to get the best focus. On slow connections it may play roughly the first time through and then improve if you let it play through a second time.
"There's A Way of Gentle Caring"
by Gary Ritner
There's a way of gentle caring
and of giving thanks to God
for all God has done we can love and live as one,
all sisters and brothers are we.
With these loving words do we
become what God made us,
beautiful child of the Son.
We can have a heart that's loving
not rejecting any neighbor;
seeing good in everyone;
building up not tearing down
giving life so all may live.
With too much critique we whither,
but loving light makes us,
ripened fruit of the Vine.
CLICK HERE to see a video of my playing jazz improvisation on my keyboard.
Wrote "Spirits Rising," a choral introit for
Morning Worship, and three other Arrangements and Lyrics for Worship 1993.
Acted the Male Lead (Singing too), Senior Class Play, "Curly" in Green Grow the Lilacs - a version of Oklahoma,
Triadelphia High School, 1967. See photo above at right with cowboy hat.
Web Managing and Designing
Created garyritner.org/aa, Admiring Patrons of Afton Alps Recreation Area, 2012, to provide photos and updates on golf course and snow condtions at the Afton Alps Recreation Area.
Created Wedding Ministers, 2004, to match couples with wedding ministers around the USA.
February '08: Created SaintSavers Epublishing, 2008, to publish original works of authors and artists. Ebooks and music can be downloaded. Publish your work here, quick and easy ... and real cheap - $50 a year for web site, domain, technical support ... and the author controls the payment account.
Created whatagreatchurch.org, 2003, to assist churches with the creating and maintaining of a web site for a very low price.
Created The Gourmet Soup Company Webshop, 2003, to provide affordable web sites, domains, hosting accounts and tech support for small business and non-profit clients.
Created SaintSavers Web Designing Services, 2003, to provide web design, hosting, domain registration and tech support.
Sites managed by Gary Ritner include but are not limited to the following (over 30 sites managed):
- AirForce Filters
- Katie and Company
- Robert Lopno Associates - Therapists
- Cradle of Wings - Song for an Infant Funeral or Loss of a Child
- Antonina Brem Wedding Services
- Chris Richardson Wedding Officiating Services
- SaintSavers Wedding Officiating Services
- Epworth UMC, Minneapolis, MN
- Mounds Park UMC, St. Paul, MN
- Ely UMC
- Aurora UMC, MN
- Olivet UMC, Robbinsdale, MN
- Faith United Church, Winthrop, MN
As well as many private web sites.
Served as a Photographer, Videographer, Sound Technician, 1970-Present (During College, Seminary, for Weddings and in Local Churches).
Assisted in maintenance of the Web Site of the Minnesota Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1994-July 2004. To see the current version, click here.
Winner of 2 Merit Awards for Excellence from United Methodist Association of Communicators Annual Meeting in Mesa, Arizona, October 15, 1997; and one of 2 Certificates of Recognition for Web pages at UMAC in 1999 in Cleveland, Ohio. View Front Page Context for this article.
Minneapolis Star Tribune article hilighting Gary's Pastor's Pointers web pages
Taught "Ethics and Social Justice Issues,"
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Fall, 1990.
Taught "Modes of Ministry," United Theological
Seminary of the Twin Cities, Winter, 1985.
Taught "Religious Social Ethics," St. John's
University School of Theology, Winter, 1985.
Taught "Christian Ethics in Urban Ministry,"
Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Winter, 1992.
Contracted to teach "Contemporary Theology,"
Hamline University, Fall, 1986.
Lectured on Medical Ethics, Willmar Community College, Fall, 1983.
Conducted Workshops: Revelation Revolution: Churches on the Internet -
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Fall, 1997 and Winter 1998.
Conducted Workshops: Revelation Revolution: Churches on the Internet -
MN UMC Annual Conference Sessions, 1995-99.
Interned at and Lectured on Medical Ethics, Concern for Dying, New York
Served as Graduate Assistant for "The Church in
the Urban Context," Union Theological Seminary in New York City, 1977-79.
Taught courses in Adult Education, The Riverside Church,
New York City, 1972-80.
Counseled with and taught Harlem youth in a religious
education program, The Riverside Church, New York City, 1972-80.
Student-taught "Religious Ethics and Social Issues,"
The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 1973-74.
Basketball Coach, Cottage Grove Athletic Association, Shooting Stars 5th-6th grade girls (including my daughter, Emmy) 2010-2011; 7th-8th Grade Girls 2011-12.
Assistant Basketball Coach, Cottage Grove Athletic Association, 2009-2010 (Undefeated Season 10-0 and Conference Champs in girls 5th and 6th grade division - nice trophy, girls! Emmy, my daughter, played on the team as the tallest player and great defender, rebounder and she scored!). See team page on Facebook.
Serve as accountant for Cradle of Wings Productions, 2006 to present.
Published "SaintSaver" (A Macintosh Software
Program for Church Administration, Accounting and Recordkeeping), Fall, 1994.
Logged 2000+ hours providing PC/Mac Hardware/Software Technical Support.
Served as Chair of Urban Ministries Section, Board of
Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, Minnesota Annual Conference,
1989-1993; Board member, 1984-1993; Secretary, 1991-1993.
Served as Chair of the Board, Disability Awareness Ministries,
Served on Task Force for Ministry Development, La Puerta
Abierta UMC, St. Paul, MN, 1989-91.
Served on Board, Department of Indian Work, St. Paul
Area Council of Churches, 1988-1993.
Served as Chair of Downtown Resident Needs Committee, St. Paul Downtown
Community Development Council, 1988-91.
Served as Director of Economic and Social Justice, Board
of Church and Society, United Methodist Church, Minnesota Annual Conference,
Served on Board, St. Paul Area Council of Churches, 1986-91.
Served as Convenor, Downtown St. Paul Clergy Association,
Produced a Cable TV series on worship resources, Channel
34, Cable Access, St. Paul, MN, 1985-86.
Served on the Board, Conference Council on Youth Ministry,
United Methodist Church, Minnesota Annual Conference, 1982-84.
Served on the District Council on Ministry as Youth Ministry
Coordinator, Northwest District, United Methodist Church, Minnesota Annual
Produced a multi-media presentation "I Love New
York: Ministry in the City," Tri-State Media Ministry, Performed in the Citicorp Center at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, New York City,
Organized community action programs, Child and Family
Justice Project, National Council of Churches, New York City, 1978-79.
Preached a sermon series for WRVR-FM, New York City,
Portrayed role of John Witherspoon on WNEW-TV, New York
Served as Assistant Director of Media Services, Union Theological
Seminary in New York City, 1972-79.
Provided research and technical work for an award-winning
(CINE Golden Eagle) documentary on Union Theological Seminary in New York
Assisted in visits and programming for prisons, hospitals,
mental health facilities and other public clients - Hospital Audiences, Inc., New York City, 1972-74.
Awarded the Religious Leadership Award, West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1971.
Awarded the Wesleyan Medal, West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1971.
Inductee to National Leadership Honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa, 1971.
Awarded distinction of Who's Who In American Colleges and Universities, West
Virginia Wesleyan College, 1970.
Member of Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity, 1967-71.
Wrote feature articles for Pharos Newspaper, West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1970-71.
Hosted a religion and social ethics commentary program, news reporter, DJ, Engineer, Sports Reporter, WVWC-FM, Buckhannon, WV, 1969-71.
Interned in a suburban church, Glendale, West Virginia,
Served as President, Religious Life Council, West Virginia Wesleyan
Earned a Radiotelephone Third Class License, Broadcast Endorsement, Federal Communications Commission, 1969.
Served as Member of Psi Chi, National Honor Society in Psychology, West
Virginia Wesleyan College, 1970.
Served as Sports Editor and Columnist, Buckhannon-Republican Delta, Buckhannon, WV, 1967.
Here I am at 17 (at the right) as Junior Class President, Triadelphia High School, 1966.
Served as Member of National Honor Society, Triadelphia High School, 1966,
Served as President of the Forum (Debate Club), Triadelphia High School,
Served as Member of Masquers (Drama Club) and performed in plays, Triadelphia High School, 1966-67.
Served as Member of Quill and Scroll, International Honorary of Journalists, Triadelphia High School, 1966-67.
Served on Yearbook and Newspaper Staff, Triadelphia High School, 1966-67.
Played on school teams for Football, Basketball and Track, Triadelphia
High School, 1964-65.
Played on school basketball teams in grades sixth through ninth, 1959-1964.
I was a Star Boy Scout, closing in on Eagle, when I withdrew because religious attendance was required and I was not attending church regularly. How ironic that I became a pastor.
Worked at Oglebay Park, Wheeling, WV, 1962-70 in several different jobs including golf driving range and par-three jeep driver, ski shop cashier, lift operator, customer relations representative and pool life guard.
Worked at Wheeling Stamping, Wheeling, WV, 1968-70 on the assembly line creating plastic bottles and caps.
Confirmed, Christ United Methodist Church, Wheeling,
WV, 1965 and member of youth group.
Baptized, West Bridgeport Methodist Church, Bridgeport,
Ohio, 1949 - where my family, my grandparents, aunt and uncle were very active members.
Here I am at right, not long after my baptism picture: "I'm gonna clean up this town!"
Growing up in provincial West Virginia, I longed to travel until satisfied - which came eventually. Ten years in New York City helped to satisfy my thirst for seeing the rest of the world. During those years I also spent many summer days in Maine, Paris and other parts of France. For four months, I crisscrossed Europe and the British Isles. Warm days in the Florida and Arizona sunshine were a welcome escape from long northern winters. Pilgrimages to play the Old Course at St. Andrews and Pebble Beach (2 of 3 courses in the annual AT&T tournament) enabled me to experience the majesty of these holy places of golf. Miracles of nature touched me deeply on trips to the coast of Oregon, Virginia and North Carolina as well as New Orleans, San Diego and Phoenix. Driving around the country from east to west and north to south provided opportunities to marvel at the expanse of the US and the diversity of cultures. Lately I am content to stay nearer home and cherish the memories of travel without the inconveniences.
Dreaming of Golf Back Home ...
I am in the photo to the right .... at age 64 after losing 30 pounds - down to 170 - from good diet and exercise (golf or skiing, basketball, cycling, swimming and strength training 5 days a week) - back to the weight of my late teens.
Won a Scramble event at Afton Alps in June 2015. Finished 2nd at Carpenter Nature Center Scramble event in 2015. Won several Senior League events in 2015. Played 175 rounds of golf in 2015.
Played Palmer Legends Country Club at The Villages, FL from the very back tees and Havana Country Club in November 2013.
Played 155 rounds of golf in 2014 (shortened season due to late start and early end). Finished in top 3 in a few scramble events and won several senior league events at Afton Alps in 2014.
Played 156 rounds of golf in 2013 (shortened season due to late start April 26 and early end October 28). Won a few scramble events and senior league events at Afton Alps in 2013.
Played 236 rounds (18 holes each) = 4,248 holes during 2012 golf season from March-November (8 months of golf in MN is amazing but there were also 2 rounds in January). Typical round walking in 2 hours or 1 hour by cart - or 36 holes in 2 hours by cart. Most rounds walking. Average score 75 (if I actually kept score ... extra balls hit makes scoring problematic but the round a lot more fun). Downside/upside to hitting extra balls is that I hit one into the cup in one on a mulligan in 2012. Is that a hole in one or just a three?
Developed and maintain a web site - Admiring Patrons of Afton Alps Recreation Area. CLICK HERE to view the site. Contains almost daily updates on course conditions and ski/snow conditions as well as a blog/journal of the day at Afton.
Check out my video instruction 3 on YouTube - CLICK HERE
Won several senior events at Afton Alps in 2012 and won the Skyler Slocum Four-Man Scramble Charity Golf Tournament August 18, 2012 at 14 under par.
Finished 2nd in a couple scramble events at Afton Alps in 2012.
Low round of 2 under par on the front nine at Afton Alps in 2012.
Won a few Senior League events in 2013 at Afton Alps Golf Course.
Won six of six Senior League events in 2011 at Afton Alps Golf Course.
Won the Four-man Scramble Tournament at Afton Alps on July 22, 2013 at 12 under par for 15 holes.
Won the Four-man Scramble Tournament at Afton Alps on August 8, 2013 at 13 under par.
Finished first or second in scramble tournaments at Afton Alps Golf Course in 2011 at 12 under par. Won final scramble event in 2011.
Won the TEAM AFTON Scramble Golf Tournament at Afton Alps Golf Course, Sept. 19, 2010, with 8 under par for 9 holes.
Won the Heather's House Scramble Golf Tournament at Afton Alps Golf Course on August 30, 2010 with 14 under par.
Won the Armstrong Cup and the Ritner Cup almost every time they were played (family reunion golf tournaments) - best shot at August 2010 event: 250 yard three metal to 10 feet that resulted in an eagle.
Won the Four-man Scramble Tournament at Afton Alps on August 16, 2010 at 14 under par - best shot: 250 yard three metal to 10 feet that resulted in an eagle Twice in one week!.
Typical round in 2010: walking, 2 1/2 hours (up the ski slopes on the back nine at Afton Alps) - nearly 200 rounds in 2010.
Won two-man scramble at Eagle's Landing Golf Club near Brainerd, August 2009.Two seconds (one a tie for first with tie breaker calculation) in scramble events at Afton Alps Golf Course, Afton, MN. Eight and twelve under. Summer 2009.
Scored a Hole-in-One at Logger's Trail, Stillwater, MN, on September 7, 2008 with a 7-iron on the 160-yard par three, third hole.
Shot even par - 71 (3 birdies and 3 bogies) - on the Bobcat Trail Golf Course on vacation in 2007.
Scored a Hole-in-One at the Arizona Golf Resort, Mesa, Arizona, and a round of 72 on October 25, 1997.
Won the Church Boys' Weekend Retreat Golf Tournament for ten out of 13 years between 1997 and 2009.
Won (with a 4-man team from Hillcrest UMC) in the scramble golf tournament to benefit Operation Classroom with scores of 14, 8 and 10 under par in July of 1997, 1998, and 1999. Won same tournament in 2000, representing Newport UMC with 3 other guys from Mankato: Belgrade UMC, beating the Hillcrest boys by a stroke at 13 under par. Won the tournament again in 2001 with three players from Newport UMC - fifth consecutive year.
Set the course record with a score of 2 under par on the Gold Course at Double Eagle Golf Course, Eagle Bend, MN, Spring, 1984 and won the Individual and Team trophy with an undefeated season as the number one player on the team and won the Annual Club Scramble Tournament.
Ran a golf camp for junior-high youth for ten years - 1989-1999 at Northern Pines UMC Camp, Park Rapids, playing Blueberry Pines and Headwaters Golf Club.
Served as assistant to the head pro, Jackson Country Club, Jackson, Wisconsin - Summer of 1971. Decided to go to seminary instead of PGA School.
Won the WV UMC Golf Tournament, clergy division, 1971.
Played on the Golf Team (Co-Captain, '71), West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1969-71. Finished 6th individually and on the All-Conference Team and second among teams in WVIAC Conference Golf Championship, Pipestem, WV, 1971.
Played on the Golf Team (Co-Captain, '67), Triadelphia High School, 1965-67. See me in the photo to the left, checking my card after a high school match.
Worked at the Driving Range, Oglebay Park, Wheeling, WV - 1963-1971.
Grew up playing and working on my uncle's driving range from ages 2-11. I am hitting a ball in the photo to the right around age 6 in 1955.
Caddie at Oglebay Caddy Camp, winner of age division in golf tournament and leading money earner, 1962.
CLICK HERE for a photo that explains my obsession with golf. The yellow rectangle is where I grew up in Wheeling, WV. Note the numbers that indicate golf courses within walking distance of my house. Five courses and a few driving ranges too at Oglebay Park and Wheeling Country Club.
Enjoy playing pickup basketball at public gyms (an average of 2 times a week for 40 years - now retired and shooting around on my own - when not golfing (236 rounds in 2012) or skiing (115 days in 2014-15).
CLICK HERE for my skiing photo at Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.
In 2016, I enjoyed 91 days skiing (most at Afton Alps) and covered 800k feet.
In the 2015 ski season, I spent 115 days on the slopes, skied 1,217,823 vertical feet, and rode 5,346 lifts. That was more than any other person at Afton Alps.
Enjoy biking (CLICK HERE), running, strength training, swimming, fishing, jet skiing and sailing. Click on these links for pictures and more than you wanted to know about it. Biggest fish: 70 pound, 7 foot sailfish off the coast of Florida. Biggest MN Fish: 10 pound Northern, 5 pound Bass.
Professional photography, videography, editing and graphic design. (Click Here to see a sample of my Wedding Photography - login as user=sample and password=look).
To view my idea of art CLICK HERE. I confess that I design golf courses in my head and sketch them constantly, especially during long meetings.
Enjoying the flowers growing in my yard and photographing them. See more of my flowers. And then there are hundreds more, like those on my church photo album in the slide show at the top - CLICK HERE
Photo at the right is in West Palm Beach, FL, where I was snorkeling among the Barricuda in crystal clear water.
Speed reading theology, ethics, novels, autobiographies, internet news and sports
Watching movies in theaters and DVD's, especially those with a message
Facebooking with Friends
Tweeting with Followers
Home Phone in Cottage Grove: (651) 756-8611 - Cell Phone (651) 329-7829