Harrisville's Ascension Lutheran Church welcomes new pastor

Saturday , July 22, 2017 - 5:00 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated after a previous version, due to a source error, incorrectly stated that another church had lost its building.

HARRISVILLE — The new pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church believes he has come to a place of love.

Pastor Richard Brenton arrived June 15 and was installed July 16.

The new pastor arrived to find a “very warm and hospitable” small congregation.

“They amaze me at how big of a heart they have,” he said. “This congregation has got a lot of love.”

Among the ways he’s been inspired was seeing his congregation take care of the homeless population associated with Family Promise of Ogden for the last two weeks. The nonprofit Family Promise is part of a national organization that teams with Ogden-area churches to help homeless families get on their feet.

The peace Brenton feels as he sees love in Ogden is a stark difference to his last assignment.

As a new minister in his second career, Brenton was assigned to Zion Lutheran Church in Ferguson, Missouri, shortly after his 2010 ordination to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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Brenton said he had a front-row seat to racial contentions that arose in that area following the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.

“There was unrest and burnings and a lot of protests,” he said. “The whole Black Lives Matter took off.”

Although Brenton said he had studied specifically to be an inner-city minister and he enjoyed being a part of the scene, the work was trying and educational.

“St. Louis has had a history of civil rights issues over the last 150 years,” he said.

Leaving the church in March 2016, Brenton worked as a substance abuse counselor in Kansas City, Missouri, until he was invited to Ogden by the Ascension congregation.

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The pastor believes his Ogden assignment will be quieter. “It is always hard to tell. You never know going in,” he said. “I will leave that up to the boss,” he said referring to God.

“I want to serve God and God’s people in this community and share the love of Christ Jesus in a way that spreads the good news,” Brenton said.

With 80 to 100 who attend each week for worship, Brenton said the smaller size of the congregation also brings him excitement.

“It makes it easier for the pastor to get to know people and have more of a personal contact with them,” Brenton said. “It gives the chance for the pastor to really get involved and get to know the people and serve the people personally.”

Several pastors, including Bishop Jim Gonia, of the Rocky Mountain Synod (ELCA) in Denver, Colorado, participated in last weekend’s installation ceremony.

Brenton’s qualifications include a master of divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, according to his biography.

Those interested in worshiping with Brenton may attend Sunday worship services 9:30 a.m. Adult Bible class and Sunday School begin at 10:45 a.m. Sundays.

The church is at 1105 North Washington Blvd.

For information, call the church at 801-782-2810.

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