On November 22, 2019, Rev. Rodney A. Gatzke fell asleep in the Lord. While serving as an ordained Lutheran pastor, Rod took an interest in psychotherapy and pursued and a Master’s Degree from Loyola College specializing in psychotherapy, and engaged in extensive training at the Baltimore Washington Institute for Psychoanalysis. In 1969 Rod joined one of the two pastoral counseling agencies that later merged to form Pastoral Counseling Services of Maryland in 1993, renamed Inspirit Counseling Services, in 2010.
For nearly 50 years, Rod Gatzke has been a part of our ministry to the community. He has served as counselor, supervisor and even director for few years. His firm understanding of the nature and importance of integrating spirituality and psychotherapy and a healthy understanding of collaborative ministry have been, and will continue to be at the heart of our identity. His warm and accepting presence will be missed much.
“I recall Rod from the time of the merger between BPCS and PC&CC. He stood out as thoughtful, informed, non-reactive and very skilled. Working with him in staff meetings and some of the sub committees we had back then confirmed my initial impressions. He seemed to be the older caretaker of our agency and was generous in his gifts for time and energy. Meeting at Holy Comforter for staff meetings, Rod was always the first there and made sure we had fresh coffee!
From about 2005 till maybe around 2012 Rod saw me for supervision and consultation on his cases. He clearly had more experience than me and was thoroughly skilled as a therapist but he believed that every therapist needed to have a colleague to talk to candidly about his cases and “another set of eyes” on the therapy. I was honored that he asked me. In that role I was able to get a firsthand view of just what a capable therapist Rod was. He was singularly committed to the work, first as the best therapy he could offer his clients but also with a firm commitment to the idea that good therapy should be an indispensable part of the healing ministry of the faith community. I easily learned more that I offered in the many conversations we had over those years.
He was the best of us. He modeled for us precisely what a therapist should be and what a Pastoral Counseling service should offer. I will miss him.”
“I had few interactions with Rod, but simply want to express that I know how integral he was to PCSM/Inspirit and how missed he’ll be. My heart goes out to his family.”
“I had the privilege of sharing an office with him at Holy Comforter for years. I found him to be always gracious, kind and gentle and all the more so as illness and diminishment challenges his last years. His clients were always carried in his heart with great care, and with appreciation he could walk with them to a place of inner healing and acceptance. He was a link in the discipline of Pastoral Counseling when protestant clergy were exploring the connection between ministry as the care of souls and bringing emotional healing using the new modalities of counseling. He was ever a blessing to us and to his clients. May he know forever the peace he opened for others.”
“I met Rod as a client in 2012. He helped me through a very difficult time in my life. He introduced me to Inspirit and then encouraged my further involvement, first as a member of the Board of Directors and later as Executive Director. How very important he has been in my life as a guide and mentor. I will always be so grateful for his friendship. Thank God for his life.”
Our loving shepherd is lost, we do but feel
The ancient ceremonies of loss and sorrow,
The ritual grief of abject hearts.
We wander stricken in our barren fields,
Half in amaze that our guide and sage
Has left the landscape of our trials
And ventured into unknown ways.
We can but measure the seconds within our days.
All nature mourns, in lamentation
Flowers weep their dews,
Grimaced oaks check back their cries, the aspens
Swell and roil in pity and each
Leaf of grass bends in memory,
And grief that seems beyond their reach.
The captive skies now darkly rue,
My Voice, he said, has gone to you.
We stand like paupers by a holy river,
Mouths agape, each soul takes a turn
In not answering all that sits upon us:
The children weep; the aged, the hobbled
Dwell apart within their pain.
All that was best and good in him
In silence mists a lost terrain.
We are vexed to judge the meaning
“Was his life this or that?”
As if within he himself could know
The secret motions of his soul;
Or like a farmer in cadence gleaning
Could hold the content, count his due
Before the scythe had followed through.
Upon the vapors but a whisper:
My Voice, my love, will go with you
A darkness swells,
the heart trills and bickers within us;
vapid fields within, unripened,
will brook no root within the soil.
The hoary river ices sway, water traces a dull pulse beneath,
The flow quickens, an opaque sheet screeches,
The flood has come upon the soul,
A dearth of life within those places
Deeper than can ere be touched or told.
Will waters warm, the silver frosts give way,
trout again arch their tails
And minnows scatter in streams of light?
In the places we cannot feel, captive buds will strain to reach
A flowering lasting but a day; the measures of time
are the meters of our souls, and though new gardens may stir
we touch with ephemeral hands
beauties that pass their ripeness at our gaze.
Above this dream, among the stars
More things than can be counted are
This good man eclipsed his parts, will be carried
Within the souls of others, remembered
In life, never entombed, but with us
In the deepest recesses, we are both ourselves
And likeness of him as well.
Of native kindness, kindly given,
This he tendered beyond our due.
Our love for him recasts him new-
“My Voice, he said, will go with you”
So cover gently mother earth
This noble man of noble worth
And for a man so loved and just
A solace, and a quietus
For if therein a dust does lie
Of what he was now’s atomized
So all twas good and true therein
Now keeps a vigil round our hearts
For in this end we now begin
With what he was before his name:
All manner of love and virtue true,
My Voice, he said, will go with you