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'Prayer warrior': Dickinson church celebrates pastor's service ahead of departure

After a lifetime in Dickinson, Pastor Tim Privratsky and his wife DelRae of the Evangelical Bible Church are relocating. In honor of his years of faithful service to the community, a celebration and open house is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Evangelical Bible Church
Evangelical Bible Church in Dickinson.
Ashley Koffler / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — Pastor Emiratus Tim Privratsky's time at Evangelical Bible Church in Dickinson is drawing to a close after years of spreading the word of God. The Privatsky's admit they are moving into the next chapter of their lives, but aren't keen on outright saying they're retiring, rather they are “repurposing.”

“I believe we never retire,” Privratsky said. “We always want to be able to share our faith and use our faith to serve others.”

The say they will move to Sullivan, Mo. to be closer to their children and grandchildren, and in their honor an appreciation open house will be held at the Evangelical Bible Church from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 2.

Privatsky and his wife DelRae said their emotions regarding the decision to move have run the gamut from heartache, for leaving their home, to joy for the ability to be more involved with family.

“With such great friends and acquaintances, we'll miss all that, but we've loved our years of ministering to them,” DelRae said.

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Tim and DelRae Privratsky
Tim and DelRae Privratsky, who have been part of Evangelical Bible Church for decades, plan to relocate.
Contributed / Hope Christian Academy

Tim is currently stepping away from his role as pastor emeritus, but he’s been a part of the church since he began attending in 1979. Ron Dazell, senior pastor at Evangelical Bible Church, met Tim about 25 years ago. He said because of Tim’s tenure, the elders have come up with a special term of endearment.

“He's the one guy that personally knew every pastor that's ever been here, so I like to think he studied under the seminary of all of those men, you know,” Dazell said. “One of the elders used to say, 'Tim is, he's our homegrown pumpkin.'”

In 1996, Tim was invited to step into the role of administrator for Hope Christian Academy.

“I did not have any education degree, but I knew the school well because our kids had attended Hope Christian Academy and they just wanted someone to just fill in for that year,” he said.

However, he ended up remaining in that role for over a decade.

“The only way I can describe why it became 11 years – I never felt the Lord releasing me from that,” Tim said.

He later became an assistant pastor at HCA and then associate pastor. In 2007, he told HCA he would be resigning his position and became senior pastor of EBC shortly thereafter. He credits God for all he accomplished in that time.

“It really has been all of God,” Tim said. “I have just been a servant through all of this. That's all I want to be known for.”

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DelRae Privratsky is also stepping away from her position as an administrative assistant.

“She didn't just answer the phone and print bulletins, she was active in doing ministry in our church,” Dazell said. “She serves in so many capacities. So in one sense, she was the church secretary, but she was also the senior pastor's wife, who was a strong encouragement and support to him. They would minister to married couples together.”

DelRae said there have been many rewarding and challenging moments along the way.

“Its fun to have someone show up on your doorstep saying they're expecting a baby that they prayed about for years,” she said. “But we've had also really hard times with people's marriages crumbling or children that they're concerned about. So it can be emotional highs and lows that way too.”

Her position has been filled by Kate Wipple. Kyle Scammon, Evangelical Bible Church administrator, said the Privratskys’ reputation for ministry is well known throughout the community.

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“It's obvious to anyone and everyone around them that Jesus Christ is very important to them… what they say and how they act on Sunday is the same any other time of the week. Their integrity is impeccable,” Scammon said.

Scammon added that he is sad they are leaving but happy for them.

Dazell said Privratsky has been exceptional when it comes to caring for people.

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“He and Delrae are prayer warriors,” Dazell said. “You want to be on their prayer list because you'll be prayed for in a dynamic way, for sure.”

The Privratskys say they will continue to keep in touch and pray for their Dickinson community.

“Just because I'm moving, doesn't mean that I will disengage from my ministry of praying for the people with EBC,” Tim Privratsky said. “That has been dear to my heart through all the years. I care for these people. So just because I'm moving 1,100 miles away, doesn't mean that I can't still pray for the people. So I'm going to believe that I'm still going to have communication and engage even in some way shape or form from a distance.”

The Privratskys are confident they will continue their legacy of ministry in their new community when they move to Missouri.

“And I don't know what He's going to have in store for us in Sullivan,” Tim Privratsky said. “We know we're going to be engaged in our grandchildren's lives. But we want to be engaged in and be a part of that community and being used to minister to whomever God may bring across our path.”

Another pastor will eventually step into Privratsky’s place, but the church isn’t rushing to fill his shoes.

“I've watched God just raise people up and fill the roles,” Dazell said. “And so we have a lot of lay leaders that do a wonderful job in their areas of responsibility. So we have time to be able to wait for the right person for that job.”

EBC and HCA
Evangelical Bible Church and Hope Christian Academy in Dickinson<br/>
Ashley Koffler / The Dickinson Press
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Related Topics: DICKINSONFAITHRELIGION
Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on Stark County and other rural municipality governments, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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