First Lutheran welcomes new pastor during pandemic

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

“I love it when God is clear and we are open to that clarity.”

That’s how Rev. Theresa Brezenski describes how she and her husband, Gerry, felt about coming to Nebraska City for her to serve as pastor of First Lutheran Church.

She said they both thought of Nebraska City as the top choice of available churches, but neither mentioned it to the other until the synod office contacted her about a possible pastoral call.

Brezenski felt she had found a good fit with the congregation when members of the pastoral call committee and the church council laughed easily and often during her meetings with them.

She said she felt it was the spirit at work.

“Life is too short not to have a sense of humor,” she said.

The Brezenskis arrived from North Dakota in October 2020, and she was installed in early November via a virtual worship service.

The First Lutheran congregation resumed in-person worship on May 23 for Pentecost.

“There was a great amount of joy at seeing others,” she said of the congregation’s coming together for the first time in more than a year.

Brezenski sees upcoming worship services as a wide-open future that churches get to reinvent.

“It’s frightening but freeing when you realize the opportunities,” she said. 

She said First Lutheran will continue to offer services in-person and via Facebook Live.

“We have folks who come in person, and those who prefer to worship through social media,” she said. “We need to tend and nourish both.”

Brezenski said she believes social media outreach will continue to be part of church live post-COVID. 

Through the summer, First Lutheran will focus on rebuilding the community of the congregation and the relationships in it, she said.

She said members of the congregation have been craving connection and community during the pandemic, but she believes they are seeking a community that makes sense of their beings and their lives.