Rev. Dr. Fritz Traugott Kristbergs

Rev. Dr. Fritz Kristbergs

Personal Data

  • Date of birth: January 21, 1945
  • Place of birth: Freiberg (i.Sachsen) Germany
  • Baptised: March 4, 1945
  • Confirmed: June 10, 1962 (Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lakewood and New Brunswick, NJ)
  • Ordained: August 8, 1976 (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia in Exile)
  • Parents: Rev. Žanis Kristbergs (deceased); Tekla Alise Kristbergs (deceased)
  • Marital status: married (August 26, 1989) to Lilita Irene Stripnieks, B.A., M.L.S., M.P.A.

Personal interests

  • Reading: histories, detective novels. Favortie authors: P.D. James, Arturo Perez-Reverte, Henning Mankel, John Le Carre.
  • Music: sing with church chamber choir; rebuild my harpsichord; listen to jazz, baroque music, and opera.
  • Fly fishing
  • Gardening
  • Cooking (Awarded “Best in class – yeast breads” and “Best in Show” at the Ocean County (NJ) Fair, 1981.
  • Sports:
    • former competative fencer: member of Salle Santelli (New York), fencing club of The University of Münster (Westf.), Fechterschaft Warendorf (fencing club of the German national pentathalon team);
    • golf
    • rowing (Argonaut Rowing Club) 1987-1990

Church Affiliation

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (Eastern Synod)
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad


2007 – Th.D. (Doctor of Theology- Interdisciplinary Studies) studies at Trinity College (University of Toronto) Faculty of Divinity

1996 – D.Min., Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
Dissertation: “Differentiation and Identity: Towards an Understanding of Ethnic Ministry”
The dissertation examines how societies build, maintain, and preserve their cultural boundaries to establish, protect and preserve their own identity and differentiate themselves from other cultures.
The example of the Latvian Lutheran Church, particularly its history since 1945, was used as a case study. Biblical models of exile were used as potential models for the development of contemporary church and congregational identity.

1978-1984 – Westfälische Wilhelms Universität (Münster, Germany)
Promotion ohne Abschlussprüfung course of study;
Proposed dissertation: “Jakob Böhme and 17th century English radical movements”

1976 – M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton. NJ

1971 – M.A. (History), University of Maine, Orono, ME
Thesis: “The Sixteenth-Century Anabaptists and Their Position in European Intellectual History: Some Problems in Defining Their Significance”
The thesis examined the historiography of the Anabaptist movement, particularly the problems
related to sect theory, the theological basis of political theory, and the relationship of Anabaptist to
the Humanist movement.

1969 – B.A. (History), Monmouth College, West Long Branch, NJ
Senior project: “The Heretics of Roland Bainton”

Academic Positions

1976–1978 – Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung,
(Institute for New Testament Textual Research), Münster, Germany
Staff Member / akademische Mittarbeiter
Participated in the following projects and publications:

  • prepared English apparatus for The Greek-English New Testament
  • read and prepared proofs for 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New
    Testament text
  • revised Schmoller Handkonkordanz
  • prepared initial revision project of Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich lexicon
  • revised apparatus for Synopsis of the Four Gospels

1974-1975 – Princeton Theological Seminary,
Professional Studies Committee member

1966-1969 – Monmouth College (Department of History and Political Science)
Undergraduate Assistant.

Grants and Research

2002 – “Aid Association for Lutherans” (now called “Thrivent”) grant of $10,000(US)for the study of “Liturgical needs in a bi- and multi-lingual ethnic
heritage church”. The major part of this project dealt with the theological and sociological basis for the incorporation and use of non-Latvian languages in the worship and societal life of Latvian congregations
outside of Latvia.

Recently Given Lectures and Workshops

September, 2004 – Latvian State Archive in Rīga, Latvia (Latvijas Valsts archīvs)
Conference: “Exile, culture and national identity” . Presented paper: “Differentiation and Identity”

June, 2004 – Chair, Religion section – Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies , 19th Conference on Baltic Studies (University of Toronto).

November, 2002 – Daugavpils University (Latvia): International Conference on “Emmigration and Culture” 2 lectures
(Daugavpils Universitāte, starptautiska konferencē “Emigrācija un kultūra” referāti)

  • Victor Turner’s theories of liminality and communitas and their application to the Latvian Lutheran Church in exile.
  • Identity problems and challenges of the Latvian Lutheran church outside of Latvia.

November, 2001 – The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, (Eastern Synod)
Synod Council workshop: “The dynamics of ethnic churches and congregations”

June, 2000 – The American Association of Baltic Studies Annual Convention (Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.); “Changes in models of ministry in the Latvian Lutheran Church: challenges for ethnic ministry”

April, 1999 – The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Latvia Abroad Executive committee, (Toronto)
Leadership workshop: “The theological challenges of our history: models and dynamics for the future of the Latvian Lutheran Church Abroad.”

November, 1998 – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Pastors Convocation of the New Jersey Synod,

  • The immigrant experience and the church
  • Ethnic churches as models for mainline churches

August, 1997 – Conference of lay workers and pastors in Bonn/Annaberg (Germany);
Lectured and conducted workshops on ethnic church dynamics and the Latvian Lutheran Church

Educational Positions in the Church

1997-2004 – Director, Institute of Theology,
(A continuing education and professional development institution of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad)
The Institute of Theology

  • gives a Latvian context to theological studies;
  • provides a supplementary studies program for candidates for ordination in The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad;
  • prepares candidates for the ordained deaconate;
  • trains lay workers and administrators;
  • provides a forum for Latvian clergy to discuss issues of mutual interest.
  • invites lecturers from Seminaries and Schools of Theology from Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Institute participants come from Canada, The United States, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Latvia. The number of participants for various programs has ranged from 20 to 125.

From 1997 to 2001, the Institute was been held at Emmanuel College (Victoria University) in the University of Toronto.

1997-2004 – Chairperson, Commission for Theological Studies
(Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

  • supervise study programs for students of theology
  • supervise study programs for deaconate candidates
  • ex officio member of ordination examining committees

1987–1997 – Member, Organisational Committee
Institute of Theology, (A continuing education and professional development institution of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad).

Ecclesiastical Employment and Call

July 1985-2015 – Senior Pastor, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Latvian Church of Toronto

1979-1985 – Pastor

  • Latvian Lutheran Congregations of Münster and Bielefeld (Germany)
  • religious studies teacher, Lettisches Gymnasium Münster
    (In 1978, the pastoral charge of the congregation in Münster was amended to include 15 hours of instruction at the Lettisches Gymnasium.)

1975-1976 Student Assistant,
Lutheran Church of the Messiah (Missouri Synod English district), Princeton, N.J.

Elected and Appointed Ecclesiastical Offices

1995-2004 – Dean of the Canadian Conference,
Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  • administrative head of the Latvian Lutheran Church
    congregations, pastors and ordained deacons in Canada (17 congregations; 11 pastors, 3 deacons in 5 provinces);
  • co-ordinate regional pastoral care;
  • co-ordinate Latvian congregational life and policy with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada;
  • represent The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad at ecumenical occasions and discussions.

As Dean, ex officio member of the Executive Committee of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad, the governing body for Latvian Lutheran congregations in
Europe, South America, North America, and Australia.

1995 – President of the Canadian registered charity of the Latvian Lutheran Church which administers a capital fund of c. $1.0 million CAN with an annual disbursement of c. $75- 85,000 CAN.

  • - 1996* – Member of the Executive Council,
    Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
    a synod of Latvian Lutheran congregations in North and South America and a constituent part of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad.

1987-1995 Chairperson, Commission for Liturgy and Music
(Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

1987-1995 Editor, Dziesmu Grāmata,
the new hymnal and service book of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Abroad and The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia.

1979-1984 Editor, “Pie Svētavota” (“At the Wellspring”),
a quarterly journal of church life published by the German district of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia in Exile.

Ecumenical Ministry

2001-2003 – Chairperson, “Churches on-the-Hill”

1995 – Member of the “Churches-on-the-Hill” community of nine congregations (2 United Church, 2 Anglican, 2 Roman Catholic, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Lutheran) in the Forest Hill area of Toronto. This association of churches organises frequent community ecumenical worship services and other events and supports and hosts various ministries (Out of the Cold, Food Bank, Community centres, etc.).

1978-1985 Participated in various ecumenical projects and ministries of the Arbeitskreis christliche
Kirchen in Münster/W. (Germany); Founding member of the Förderkries für Kirchenmusik, a foundation for the advancement and support of sacred music in Münster/W.

Other Community Positions

1988-1991 Board of Directors
“Kristus Dārzs”, Latvian Senior Citizens’ and Nursing Home (Woodbridge, ON)

1992 – Executive Council, Latvian National Federation in Canada

1984 Vice-Chair, Organising Committee
First Global Latvian Cultural and Song Festival, Münster (Germany).
The 8 day Festival hosted over 7,000 singers, folk-dancers, musicians, theatre groups and other participants in a celebration of Latvian culture.