Published On: Wed, Mar 30th, 2011

New pastor enjoying life in Hartington

Lowell Hennigs

HARTINGTON — The interim pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hartington brings over 27 years of experience in the ministry with him.
Pastor Lowell Hennigs made the move to Hartington from Lincoln where he had served as the senior pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church for over 12 years.

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church had close to 1,400 members and a number of staff members.
Living in a rural area is nothing new for Hennigs, who grew up on a farm 12 miles west of Lemars, Iowa. He attended Central College at Pella, Iowa and finished his schooling at Wartburg Theology Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.
A death in Hennig’s family last year changed the course for his life and put him on a path that eventually led him to Hartington.
Several months after losing his wife in November of 2010, Hennigs had accepted a job with Tabitha Health Care Services in Southeast Nebraska and was working as a Nursing Home Chaplain.
Hennigs wasn’t sure if he would ever go back into parish ministry but he had been with Tabitha Health Care Services only a short time before he made the decision to serve as interim pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hartington, as well as the Trinity Lutheran Church in Crofton.
“I love it here – this is a good match for now,” Hennigs said. “This is where I am supposed to be at this time – this is my calling.”
Hennigs’ wife, Anne had become ill the first part of November. He took her to a hospital emergency room on Nov. 8 – she died on Nov 28.
The doctors ran a number of tests before they discovered Anne had a staph infection which had spread – she was put in intensive care and then had to be put on life support.

Hennigs made the decision to take his wife home on hospice care – she died in their family room two days later at only 51.
Hennigs said losing his wife of 31 years was more than hard – and worse than bad.
“It was awful,” he said. “I miss her. We had a wonderful marriage.”

Hennigs said he and his wife had made good financial plans which allowed him to answer the call to work in the interim ministry.
Hennigs is independent and can be available to go where he is needed. When he leaves one place he doesn’t always know how long it will be before he is called to the next place.
Hennigs has two grown sons — a 24 year-old son lives in Lincoln and his 26 year-old is married and lives in Bloomington, Minn.
“Life has positioned me to do this for the church and for Jesus – beyond today, tomorrow or next Sunday life isn’t predictable – plans can change,” he said. “I had to learn to be humble, to wait and to have trust.”
Since his wife died, Hennigs has written a book of “reflections, poems and prose for his Beloved”.
The name he chose for his book is “Laughing through Walls.”
“Anne had a great laugh,” he said.
One of the poems in his book tells about sorting through five grocery sacks that were full of his wife’s shoes.
The shoes were given to woman prisoners that were ready to be released – which is where Anne would have wanted them to go, he said.
The poem says the thought of his wife’s shoes made him smile. Her sandals reminded him of the fun they had together and the things they had done – and of how much he loved her.
Hennigs couldn’t bear to part with some of Anne’s shoes so he kept a few and put them in his “special Anne spot”.
Another poem was written during a time when he was angry and sad and includes the words:  My wife, my lover, my joy, my best friend and partner – Anne died.
Becoming single after being a happily married couple for over 30 years has not been easy – the title of one of his poems is “It is not like anything else”.
“Laughing through Walls” may be published some day, but for now the book is a personal tribute to be enjoyed by the Hennig family.
Hennigs said he is planning to stay in Hartington as long as the congregations need him or until a new pastor is selected.
“My life wandered off the path four months ago,” Hennigs said. “This is not the path I would have chosen but for now this is a good place for me to be.”