Sunday, January 20, 2019
3:00 PM EST
Madison Square Church
1441 Madison Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
There will be a time to visit with the family immediately following the service. During that time, there will also be the opportunity to share one of your thoughts, stories or memories of Chris.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Madison Church Ford Campus
1441 Madison Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
To be used for the future home of Madison Church: Ford Campus and community partnership for affordable housing.
Please make check payable to "Madison Square Church" and write "415 Franklin" in the memo line.
Shepherd's Heart Ministry
PO Box 4808
Parker, CO 80134
Life Story / Obituary
On June 2, 1944, Jon Christian Schroeder was born to parents Richard and Lillian Schroeder in Charlotte, Michigan. He was older brother to RoxAnne, Steve and Alan Lee. Chris lived in Vermontville, Sunfield, East Jordan, Ghana and Pakistan as a child and graduated from Clare High School. Chris graduated from MSU with his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering where he met and then married his sweetheart Carolyn Woolpert. They had the joy of raising 4 children – Kristen, Rebecca, Katharine and David, and were later blessed with 8 grandchildren.
Chris worked for the CIA as head engineer at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippine Islands where he first gave his life to Jesus Christ. He then moved his family to Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts in order to prepare for a career change from engineering to pastoring. As a pastor, Chris served congregations in Alden, Michigan and two congregations in Sunfield and Sebewa, Michigan where he taught and discipled people to follow Jesus Christ. He also worked in Prison Ministry Retreats and Emmaus Walks, discipling Weekend Retreats for Men and Women.
During his years as a pastor Chris made his family a priority. He was a fun Dad making an after-school commitment to his children and made a requirement of his work to allow him to be home by 3:00 when they got home from school. He loved to introduce yard games and taught sports actively to his children as well as teaching them things like basic auto maintenance, vegetable gardening and how to keep a budget. He loved adventure and the outdoors and took the family on beautiful camping and road trips to places like Glacier Park, the East Coast, the U.P. and Florida. In 1985 Chris sold his old Studebaker so he could take is family on a grand trip to Europe.
While in Europe visiting his daughter, who was an exchange student in 1989, Chris was worshiping in Salzburg when he sensed the Lord calling him to Europe as a pastor/discipler. His heart was grieved for the lack of spiritual life in Europe and he desired to bring hope in Jesus Christ. Waiting patiently for God to lead his wife to receive the same united calling, in 1992, he moved his family to Austria and began to serve in the Czech Republic and Slovakia teaching pastors and church leaders courses on the Bible, Church Dynamics, and pastoral care. This all was done in thanks to the wonderful support of their Sunfield church body and other close supporters. They moved again to Hungary where he served at Grace Ministries in Budapest teaching and discipling on Grace and our identity, later developing a curriculum on Grace which we hope to see published in his honor. Chris deeply loved his time teaching his students and the adventure of being undercover once again in Eastern Europe with these teachings in communist filled areas.
In 2003 he and Carolyn returned to Michigan and settled in Grand Rapids to be nearer their aging parents and to allow their son David to experience living in the States for high school. During the next 6 years Chris experienced a season of discouragement while waiting for God's leading on his next assignment. He began to find fulfillment again in teaching adult classes at Madison Square Church, their new church family. There, his passion for teaching was restored as his gifts of teaching were rekindled.
During this season he and Carolyn were asked by Pastor Care to begin leading hurting pastors and spouses on retreats they called Unfinished Business Retreats. They later transitioned to offering week-long retreats for this same audience through Shepherd Heart Ministries. Chris and Carolyn enjoyed watching the Lord use their marriage testimony to give pastors and spouses hope for restoration also. Seeing Christian leaders come to them from all over the globe, they began to see how the Lord was using their broken lives to restore other couples. Then in 2013 Parkinsons was diagnosed. It began gently with Chris's slower gait and fuzzy brain. They went on leading retreats until 2016 when he was no longer able to continue.
Chris made a decision every day to thank God for His goodness and His faithfulness. He was proactive and faithful in fighting the disease through exercise and diet. He was willing to try any new remedy his family investigated without complaining including boxing and even a ballet dance class. He attended several Parkinson's support groups and was encouraged and strengthened in his faith and trust in God. Through the care of friends, family and church family he maintained a positive faith in God's care of Him. He experienced times of sadness and lamented why his ministry had to close so soon but the Lord renewed his courage. He moved into Vista Springs Assisted Living in May 2018 without complaints of any kind and his ministry continued on in more of a silent, humble way of connecting with the staff, the residents and spending countless hours with his children and grandchildren, listening to them share about their lives, praying with them, connecting with deep eye contact, presence and few words sense of humor.
He rested His heart in the knowledge that God held him in His arms and memorized many poems and Scriptures that kept this alive in his heart. One he knew by heart was “Near so very near to You Nearer I could not be, For in the person of Your Son I'm just as near as He! Dear, so very dear to You I could not dearer be; The love wherewith You loved Your Son, such is Your love for me!!”
On January 19, 2019, Chris Schroeder, age 74 passed into eternity after a battle with Parkinsons' Disease. He is survived by his wife Carolyn, 4 children - Kristen (Ed) Lambert, Rebecca (Skye) Shansby, Katharine (Todd) Broberg, Dave (and Callie) Schroeder; 8 grandchildren - Mikala, Katelyn, and Kiarra Lambert, Lily, Eleanor, Peter and Margeret Broberg, and Grace Schroeder; and sister RoxAnne (Lee) Evison, brothers Alan and Steve (Connie) Schroeder. A memorial service will be held at Madison Square Church, 1441 Madison Ave SE, at 3 pm on Sunday, January 20. Donations can be made either at www.415franklin.org for the future home of Madison Church: Ford Campus and community partnership for affordable housing, or to Shepherd's Heart Ministry. For more information, to share a favorite memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com