Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rush River Lutheran Installs New Pastor

Gerd Bents is the new pastor at Rush River Lutheran Church. He was installed at a service on Sunday, September 2.

After two successive interim pastors, Rush River Lutheran Church
installed a new full-time pastor, Gerd Bents, on Sunday, September 2.

Bents, who grew up as a pastor's kid, said that he was not always
certain that he wanted to be a pastor. He received his college degree in social work and psychology then worked for Girls and Boys Town where he managed a 24 hour crisis shelter for kids. He followed that with a masters degree in education and school psychology and then received his call, Pastor Bents said.

"I spent lots of time thinking," he said, "and I can say with certainty that God has called me into this vocation."

Bents grew up in a couple small towns in Minnesota and Iowa and graduated from high school in Northwood, Iowa. He attended and graduated from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, then worked at Girls and Boys Town and worked with kids "who were not having good weeks."

After his year at UW-Stout where he earned his masters degree "I realized I enjoyed school psychology and public education but realized there are deep spiritual needs we as a people have" which are not all addressed at school.

Bents attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul from 2002-07 and graduated in May of this year. The call to Rush River Lutheran is his first. "I'm very excited to be here," he said. "The congregation is extremely welcoming," said Pastor Bents and added that is has "a sense of future stability."

He added that he realizes the church is not built around the pastor, but the pastor and congregation are interdependent. Pastor Bents said his first and foremost goal at Rush River Lutheran is "preaching the gospel-preaching God's love for us."

He noted that the congregation is very interested in youth and young adult ministries, so he will be engaged in "building up young people to be leaders," and also encouraging lay leadership in the church. Another focus will be visitation of the homebound.

Pastor Bents was ordained the day before he was installed at Rush River Lutheran. He officially started work there on August 1. Pastor Bents lives at present in Hudson but is looking for a place closer to his church. He has two children, Raena, 5, who just started kindergarten in River Falls and Harm, 3.

Among the activities Pastor Bents enjoys in his spare time are playing basketball, lifting weights, kayaking, fishing, golfing and camping.

Rush River Lutheran Church is in Pierce County, just north of STH 28 on CTH Y. Pastor Bents said everyone is welcome to attend church there. Services are 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.