“It’s a rural, friendly, small, close-knit congregation,” Reich said when asked to describe why he has remained for five decades.
While Reich has been a member since the early 1970s, he’s only been there for 25% of the years the church has been open.
“There have been a lot of people who have kept these doors open,” said Reich, who retired as an engineer after 33 years at Armco.
Because of its small size, the congregation can’t afford to support a full-time pastor, Reich said.
The church hired Pastor Jack Marsh about 11 years. Marsh, who ran a jail ministry in Hamilton County for 30 years, also serves two days a week as chaplain of Otterbein Senior Life in Lebanon.
Marsh was asked about serving at a 200-year-old church.
“They have done what it takes to be around for a long time,” he said.
Jack and Marcia Marsh have a daughter, Jennifer, 43, who has autism. The family has served many churches, but Pleasant Ridge holds a special place in their hearts, he said.
“Nobody is warmer, more welcoming than these folks,” he said. As a parent of a child with special needs, “nothing is worth more than that.”