Archbishop Lorentzen (left) with Archbishop Paget Mack of the AEC at his consecration at St Lucy’s Cathedral in New York in 2014
The Apostolic Episcopal Church has been informed of the death of the Most Revd. Paul Lorentzen, who served as Archbishop of the Province of the East in the Apostolic Episcopal Church between 2015 and 2019. He died of cancer on 5 July at the age of 71.
Paul Lorentzen was a graduate of McKee High School and following his Associate of Science degree earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion and a Master of Divinity degree from Faith Evangelical College and Seminary, Tacoma, Washington. He followed this with a PhD in Christian Counseling for substance abuse.
His secular career ended with the position of plant superintendent of The South Beach Psychiatric Center, from which he retired in 2001. Thereafter he pursued his religious vocation and was ordained priest in the North American Lutheran Church. He pastored various Lutheran churches in New York, including St Paul’s Lutheran, Brooklyn, Immanuel Lutheran, and Eltingville Lutheran Church, Staten Island.
He came to know the late Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan of the Order of Corporate Reunion, who was in communion with the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Archbishop Brennan duly ordained him deacon and priest and he joined the OCR. In addition to his other ministerial responsibilities he served as a deacon in the Association of Independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches (which was also in communion with the AEC) at St George’s Astoria. During this period he was also supply clergy for the Episcopal Church on Staten Island. On June 20, 2014, he was consecrated bishop by bishop Alan Stanford, assisted by bishops Gregory Raeppel and George Jachimczyk. Bishop Stanford was consecrated by Archbishop Maxey, formerly Primate of the AEC.
In 2014, Archbishop Francis Spataro announced his retirement as Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. Paul Lorentzen was admitted to the Apostolic Episcopal Church and conditionally consecrated bishop by Archbishop Spataro assisted by Archbishop Brennan and Archbishop Paget Mack of the AEC at St Lucy’s Old Roman Catholic Cathedral on 30 December 2014. He was appointed Provincial of the East when Archbishop Spataro retired on 5 February 2015, served as a Deputy to the Primate, and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology from the AEC. As a result of Archbishop Brennan’s efforts, he was also appointed a Delegate at the United Nations to represent the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.
During 2015, Archbishop Lorentzen accepted the Lutheran pastorate of Transfiguration Church on Staten Island, New York, where he also ran a men’s ministry called Transfiguration Life Together. It was further intended that an Evangelical Catholic mission for the AEC should develop there, but this unfortunately did not happen. Archbishop Lorentzen also wished to extend his existing work in the Episcopal Church by becoming certified with them so that he could go on their regular call roster for Staten Island, but again this came to nothing.
The death of Archbishop Brennan in 2016 seems to have marked a turning-point in Archbishop Lorentzen’s ministry. Archbishop Lorentzen was in attendance upon him during his last days and gave him Holy Communion on his deathbed, Most of the former ecumenical activity that had been associated with the OCR, and with which the AEC had also been closely involved, came to an end. When the AEC reasserted its own representation of the Order of Corporate Reunion in 2017, Archbishop Lorentzen was supportive of this action, but it was difficult to escape the impression that his priorities were now elsewhere.
By February 2019, Archbishop Lorentzen’s ministry had developed to the extent that it was now wholly centred upon the Lutheran Church, giving rise to concerns that while he continued to hold senior office in the AEC, this had now become purely a nominal appointment. It was clearly not in the best interests of anyone that this situation should continue, and accordingly he resigned from the AEC and the OCR and thereafter devoted himself to the Lutheran ministry.
He was past master of Tompkins Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons No. 471, and Lodge No. 66, and a member of Nansen Lodge Sons of Norway on Staten Island.
He was passionate about rescued Pit Bull dogs, and they were his constant companions.