Pastor- 1968-’73: Rev. Thomas J. Keener

KeenerThe Rev. Thomas J. Keener is the son of The Rev. John D. and Esther (Klopp) Keener. He is one of six children.

Thomas graduated from Mahanoy Joint High
School at Dalmatia, Northumberland County, PA.
His undergraduate degree was earned at
Susquehanna College in Selinsgrove, PA, followed by Lutheran Ministry preparation at Mount Airy Seminary in Philadelphia, graduating in 1964.

Pastor Keener is married to the former Barbara Taylor of Philadelphia.


(1964-1968) Prior to coming to the North Berks Parish, Pastor Keener served St. John-Mt. Zion Parish in Shenandoah, Schuylkill County.

(1968-1973) On Saturday, June 1, 1968, Pastor Keener became the vice pastor of the North Berks Lutheran Parish. Pastor Keener’s appointment as vice pastor was made by The Rev. Samuel Kidd, President of the Eastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. The appointment was approved by the joint council of the area parish. Pastor Keener’s first ministerial responsibility was conducting Confirmation services for catechisms at both parish churches on Sunday, June 2, 1968.

(1973-1981) In 1973 Pastor Keener received a call from St. Paul, White Haven, serving until 1981.. Pastor Keener served several years on the Evangelical Outreach Committee of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, beginning while at White Haven.

(1981-2004) In 1981, Pastor Keener was called to Zion, Northampton. While at Zion, Pastor Keener served three years on the council of the Northern Lehigh Valley Mission District, and several years as clergy liaison and a board member of the Northampton Area Food Bank. Pastor Keener officially retired in February 2003, but continued to serve Zion half-time under contract through June 2004. While in Northampton, his wife Barbara learned American Sign Language and worked several years doing deaf ministry for Lutheran congregational Services (formerly Lutheran Services of the Lehigh Valley). Since retiring, she continues to do deaf ministry as a volunteer, helping to lead worship services with a deaf congregation and ministering in other ways.

(2004-Present) After retiring, Pastor and Mrs. Keener joined Messiah, Bethlehem, where he maintains the congregation’s WEB site. After many years of living in parsonages, the Keeners bought a home and are putting quite a bit of time and effort into updating the property. Pastor Keener also continues occasional supply preaching.