He didn't care for mega-churches, his son said, so he helped establish several smaller Assemblies of God.
The Rev. Arvid Kingsriter, founder of Bloomington Assembly of God Church and administrator at North Central University Bible college in Minneapolis, died May 29 at Covenant Nursing Home in Golden Valley. He was 89.
Although Kingsriter started one of the largest churches in his denomination in Minnesota, he wanted to make sure his congregation had access to him, said his son, Doug, of Minneapolis.
Kingsriter was born in Paynesville, Minn., and grew up on a farm. He attended North Central Bible College (now North Central University) and interned at a church in Sioux City, Iowa, hitchhiking every weekend to get there, his son said.
After graduating, he started the Little Falls Assembly of God church in 1943 and spent 10 years there before he was asked to become director of public relations and music at North Central. At the same time, he started a church in Bloomington. A schoolhouse, including the school bell, was bought at Cedar Avenue and 86th Street. When the church moved eight years later, the bell came along, Doug Kingsriter said.
Bloomington Assembly of God moved to 8600 Bloomington Av. S. in 1982; it now includes a charter school and several additions. The church is now called Cedar Valley Church and its pastor is Jerry Strandquist, Arvid Kingsriter's brother-in-law. Kingsriter retired in 1989.
The family's involvement in the Assembly of God denomination came about when Kingsriter's father attended Lake Geneva Bible Camp in Alexandria, Minn., and experienced "a remarkable physical healing," Doug Kingsriter said. Afterward, Arvid's father pledged to start a church in Paynesville, Doug Kingsriter said.
Three of Arvid's brothers, Delmar, Harlan and Orin, also became pastors.
At 6 foot 2 inches and 210 pounds, Kingsriter was an imposing figure behind the pulpit, but he was gentle and gracious, and his congregation trusted him, a responsibility he never took lightly, his son said.
"He was very humble. He never introduced himself as 'Reverend.' It was always 'Arvid.'"
Kingsriter was a national presbyter, a district Christ's ambassadors president and assistant district superintendent in Minnesota for the Assemblies of God. He also was a board member of the Greater Minneapolis Association of Evangelicals.
"His life was driven by his love for Christ and a servant's heart," his son said.
He was a great handball player and took annual fishing and hunting trips, his son said. With the help of his daughter Lynne Jonell Kratoska, he wrote a guide for aspiring pastors in 2006 called "Move & I Will Move." His son said about 5,000 copies have been printed.
Besides his son, Doug, and daughter Lynne, Kingsriter is survived by his wife of 66 years, Marian, and two other daughters, Kathy Strandquist of Burnsville and Boni Caine of Forest Lake. Services were held Sunday. A chair has been established at North Central University in his honor.
David Chanen • 612-673-4465