Pastor Celebrates U.S. Citizenship From Behind the Iron Curtain

"Ever since I was confined to a playpen as a toddler I have experienced the urge toward more freedom,” Lutz Binus, Hockinson Heights pastor, commented with a twinkle in his eye, during his citizenship party thrown by members of his congregation.

On Saturday evening Jan. 31, the Hockinson Heights fellowship hall was filled to standing room only with family, friends and church members for a patriotic evening celebrating the clergyman’s U.S. naturalization. After an all-American dinner of salads, potatoes, (veggie) steak and apple pie, Binus shared “My Path to America,” via pictures and remarkable bits of his life story, showing the guiding hand of God.

Binus, born into an Adventist pastoral family in East Berlin, grew up under the communist regime and witnessed the building of the Berlin Wall. His family was granted a miraculous and legal release from the communist country into West Germany for health reasons. Later, he met and married a young lady that was visiting her German grandparents close to the Bible college, and came to the U.S. Binus has served as a pastor in the Oregon Conference since 1984. He told the hall of flag-waving onlookers he has always felt welcomed.

Other parts of the program included patriotic songs, an American history game show and a moving presentation featuring the song "I'm Proud to be an American."

Binus comments, "I am a citizen of three countries. I have German citizenship. I am welcomed into the American family, and most of all I am a citizen of Heaven.”

April 01, 2009 / Oregon Conference