“An opportunity to show what lives in your soul”

He was a wise master builder in a double sense. He was also one of the first Apostles to be appointed as a District Apostle Helper. Apostle (ret.) Leonard Ernest Kolb (USA) has passed away. He was 82 years of age.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This Bible passage from the sixth chapter of Matthew was Leonard E. Kolb’s guiding principle. “By much grace my life has been a testimony of this,” he said in an interview in the year 2003.

He built more than 80 churches

He was born in December 1932 to New Apostolic parents. His brother was born a year earlier. Already as a boy he was interested in building, hoping to be an architect later in life. But when his mother died after a year’s battle with cancer he had just finished high school and there was no money left for university.

He established a construction business in Rochester, New York, at the age of 20. His brother, who had left college to care for their sick mother, joined the business after her death. When Leonard moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, he left the business to his brother and started another construction firm. The business expanded so that the firm eventually built churches, commercial buildings, and pre-fabricated structures.

Leonard Kolb Sr. built more than 80 churches in the USA, starting with the building in Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1960. “It was always a joy to see that another place of worship had been completed where the Lord’s altar stood,” he said

One of the first District Apostle Helpers

Leonard E. Kolb received his first ministry, that of a Sub-deacon, in October 1954. After his marriage in September 1955 he and his wife followed the request of District Apostle Fendt and moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, to help promote the Church there.

In his new district he was entrusted with further ministries right up to District Elder. In June 1986 he was ordained as an Apostle. Together with John Fendt, Wilbert Vovak, and Erwin Wagner he was appointed as a District Apostle Helper to assist District Apostle Michael Kraus whose district included numerous countries around the world.

The function of a District Apostle Helper had not existed until then. This was an innovation and Chief Apostle Hans Urwyler considered it important enough to write a few lines in the New Apostolic Review. He saw this as a first step in helping to administer and structure large District Apostle Areas. “Our predecessors also found innovative solutions for special circumstances.”

Decades of working overseas

For nearly 50 years, Apostle Kolb Sr. worked and travelled as a minister. Thirty of these years he worked in India; 17 years in Mexico, Nepal, and on a number of South Sea Islands; twelve years in Bangladesh; and for some time in Cameroon and Sudan. “This kind of work expands one’s horizon and helps to broaden one’s feelings for our fellow-man,” he said once. “It also gives us the opportunity to show what lives within our soul—especially when we are alone in a foreign country.”

On 5 November 2015 the retired District Apostle Helper Leonard Ernest Kolb passed away. The funeral on 14 November will not be held by his son, District Apostle Leonard Richard Kolb, but by special request of the deceased by the rector of his home congregation, Evangelist Peter Wagner.

Article info