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October 02, 2013
Pastor Bruce Berg to lead Trinity and Our Saviors
Former Naval Commander starting new career in the ministry as pastor of Dovray Our Saviors and Westbrook Trinity Lutheran churches
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- dovray westbrook — Pastor Bruce Berg took a non traditional road to the ministry, after serving 28 years in the Navy and retired as a Commander Master Chief. He grew up in East Troy, Wisconsin, a small town southeast of Milwaukee.
Berg is married to his wife Cathy of almost twenty years. She is retired from working with special needs children. They have three children — Paul and his wife Kelly have three children and live in Oklahoma; their daughter Kelly has three children and lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia; their son Kevin is 14 and lives with them at their home in Marshall.
Being raised in Wisconsin he admitted he is a Packer fan, so there will likely be a little friendly banter from Viking fans. Berg answers to either Pastor Bruce or Pastor Berg.
Berg plans on staying in the parsonage in Westbrook three days a week, and commute from Marshall the rest of the time.
After retiring from the navy he and his wife moved to Marshall to run the Habitat for Humanity outlet there. While working there he talked with his pastor about his desire to enter the ministry. He said, “he helped me find my true passion to become a pastor.”
He then began working through seminary by doing a dual program with Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and Pacific Lutheran Theological in Seminary in Berkley, California. Three times a year he would spend a week at both seminaries in the class room. Then he would return home to do what he called “homework.”
During this time he served as an intern at Lake Sarah Lutheran Church in Garvin for about a year and a half until he graduated from seminary with a theological certificate of divinity.
When he finished school he took an interim call to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lake Wilson. He was there for about a year and a half. He then accepted another interim call to Kviteseid Lutheran Church at Milan where he served for about a year. While he was there he received a call from Trinity Lutheran in Westbrook and Our Saviors Lutheran in Dovray.
Pastor Berg accepted the call and began his duties on September 1.
Berg had considered a role in the ministry for the past 20 years, but it never really worked out. After he retired from the military the call to ministry became stronger and he gave it more consideration. He said, “it is not the sort of thing that strikes you like a flash.”
When he was growing up he always thought he wanted to some day become a pastor. When he was serving in the military in his thirties, his pastor in Virginia Beach helped to guide him by providing a possible map to get him to where he is today.
He also has a bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland while he was in the military. That degree was basically more or less the minimum entrance requirement to enter the seminary.
Pastor Berg said, “this community is very welcoming with a great deal of pride in who they are. There seems to be a genuine love for neighbors in the community.”
Berg is aware of the good things the Partners in Ministry does in the area churches and the communities. “I plan on being a part of that ministry,” he said. “As a society we are so busy at times — we can take a deep breath and work with our neighbor, it is so positive.”
When Berg isn’t working, he enjoys building furniture and other wood working. He also is a musician who plays the tuba and baritone. and is playing with the Concert Band at Southwest Minnesota State University. “It is a four credit class, for students, but it invites people from the community to join,” Berg said.
He is very compassionate about justice for women. He is a member of the ELCA task force to develop a Social Statement of Justice for Women. The church is looking through the lens of scripture to develop this statement.
There are about 25 members from many walks of life who gather about three times a year in Chicago to discuss and develop a social statement for the ELCA. “We are very concerned about the exploitation of women,” he said. “It is going to take some time and head work, and the statement needs to be for women world wide.” He has a passion for oppressed people of gender, age, race, or economic status.
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