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Pastor Titus Sfirlea

August 31, 1937 February 8, 2021
Pastor Titus Sfirlea
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Obituary for Pastor Titus Sfirlea

Pastor Titus Sfarlea, 83, went to be with the Lord on January 8th, 2021. He is preceded in death by his brother Octavian and his son Titus, leaving behind his wife Maria, son Marius, daughters-in-law Samantha and Lindy, grandkids Titus, Zack, Kaleb, Kaiti, Kristiana, and great-grandkids Liam, Sawyer, and Scarlett.

Titus was born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, to Ana and Gavrila Sfirlea. At the age of 7 WWII took his father, leaving his upbringing to his poor, uneducated, but deeply loving mom. Though his beginning was humble, with God’s help he well surpassed all expectations. After going to Seminary, he continued his Christian education earning a masters degree, a Doctorate in Theology, and wrote two Christian life books. His love for learning and passionate service to the Christian community was driven by his life verses found in 1 Peter 4:10-11. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” After graduating from Seminary he returned to his home town and became the pastor of Dimbul Rotund church. Due to the shortages of pastors in the country, Titus was also responsible for four churches in the surrounding area in the small towns of Girbau, Topa Mica, Gilau, and Somesul Rece. In 1980, after attending the World Baptist Convention in Toronto, Canada, he visited the First Romanian Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan where he was elected pastor. During his six year tenure as pastor, the church sold the Detroit sanctuary and built a brand new one in Troy, Michigan. For the next 20 years, Titus experienced a whirlwind of activity doing the Lord’s work, moving ten times across three countries and two continents, planting new churches in Toronto, Canada and Dunedin, Florida, and serving in already established churches in Kitchener, Canada, Hollywood and Hallandale, Florida, and Hickory and Durham North Carolina. His missionary spirit returned him to Romania for four years where he preached and taught in many churches before coming back to America.

About three years ago, suffering from the ravages of Alzheimer’s he moved back to Michigan to the very same place were his American spiritual adventure began 41 years earlier. Being in new surroundings and plagued by the extensive loss of short and long term memory, he wondered away from his house in Waterford, Michigan and was returned home in a police squad car. His winning personalty and infectious smile endeared him to the officers who engaged him in friendly conversation. When they asked him what kind of work he did during his life, he responded by telling them that he was a semiprofessional soccer player. It is true that at age 19 he was a very good soccer player with potential to became a national star in Romanian soccer, but when he became a Christian, he quit the team and went to Seminary to become a pastor. His soccer coach called him a fool for his decision to abandon the sport and warned him that he would regret his decision. Titus’ response was, “I served the devil for the past nineteen years, and now I will serve the Lord for the rest of my life.” The disease may have taken away his memory of the many places he has been and wonderful things he had done but the one thing that never left was the love his Lord has for him, guarding, protecting, and finally receiving him in glory. Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Apostle Peter, writing to pastors, said “… shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” A life well spent.

A Celebration of Life service will be held in the future at First Romanian Baptist Church of Troy. Contact us at 248-778-8844 for updates on the date and time of the service.

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