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Pastor Berg returns to Bethel church after twenty-two years

Pastor Cheryl Berg recently began serving as Intentional Interim Pastor full-time at Bethel Lutheran Church, Greenbush, and Faith Lutheran Church, rural Badger, and at First Lutheran Church, Middle River, once a month. (photo by Mavis Gonshorowski)

She has spent 31 years as an ordained Lutheran pastor and has been in and out of over 30 different churches during that time.

Having such a record is not unusual for Pastor Cheryl Berg who serves as an Intentional Interim pastor.  At the present time, she is pastoring at the Bethel Lutheran Church here in Greenbush, following the departure of Pastor Mark Mathews who accepted a call from the Messiah Lutheran Church at Hoffman, Minn.

Berg was born in Fargo, N.D., and moved with her family to Brainerd, Minn., at the age of 10 years.

“I graduated from high school in Brainerd, went to Concordia College in Moorhead and then my parents and brother moved to Wyoming.  They moved, I went to college, and I’ve been moving ever since,” she chuckled.

After graduating from Concordia, she spent five and a half years as a camp director at Luther Crest Bible camp at Alexandria, Minn.  

The next four years Pastor Cheryl attended Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; three years in the classroom and the one year on internship.

“I was at Luther Crest when a transition was being made from being a summer camp to year around.  They were going through a transition,” she said. “It seems like I’m always in the midst of a transition.  After settled calls I took more training to become an Intentional Interim pastor.  It’s a specialized ministry – for helping congregations through times of transitions.

“Some churches just need someone to fill in and provide pastoral leadership for a certain length of time, and others may have issues they need to address.”

This isn’t the first time for Berg to be at Bethel in Greenbush. It’s been 22 years since she came as an interim pastor to fill the vacancy of Pastor James Gerth (1987-1995) and prior to the arrival of Pastor Ernest Christensen (1996-2000). 

“When you leave you don’t think you’re coming back again,” she said.  “Each congregation is tucked into a ‘memory’ folder and you move on, and the church moves on with a new pastor.

“I have really good memories of being here, so I was very happy to return.  Some people I remember and some I don’t. Those I worked more closely with, of course, I remember easier.”

To see the complete story, read the October 25 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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