Julie Rach
Bethel United Church of Christ in Nebraska City has a new pastor.
Keith Valenzuela was installed as the church’s pastor on Jan. 20.
Valenzuela, who was ordained in 2016, has also served the congregations of St. John’s Evangelical Church in Talmage, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Talmage, and the 1st Presbyterian Church of Dunbar before becoming the permanent pastor of Bethel UCC.
“I love it. I really do,” said Valenzuela of his new responsibilities at Bethel UCC. “It’s a great fit. The people are wonderful. I am deeply blessed.”
Valenzuela has been involved in ministry and broadcasting since 1988.
He was a part of Salem Media, a southern California-based media company, when he was the operations director for KAVC in Rosamond, Calif.
Valenzuela spent time in the Los Angeles market with KKLA before moving on to be a team member with Focus on the Family’s Broadcast Production and Engineering division from 1991 to 2004.
Recently, Valenzuela was the morning show host on B-103 for two and a half years.
Bethel UCC was founded in 1887 and has been a mainstay in the Nebraska City community.
In addition to ministering during the regular church service, Bethel’s mixed choir of youth and adults participated in the Advent recital, which take place each December at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
During the Christmas season, the community is treated to a live nativity scene that is set up in the front of the church; people can slowly drive by and tune in to music that is playing while admiring the people portraying Joseph, Mary, shepherds, the three wise men, and the animals.
The live nativity generates free-will donations that are used to continue its annual display, and canned goods that are donated to the Nebraska City Food Pantry.
Bethel’s parishioners welcome anyone who wants to hear God’s word in a warm and friendly setting. Bethel Church is at 2400 Central Ave. Sunday school service is at 9 a.m., with worship at 10 am.
For more information about the church and its programs, visit bethelucchurch.com