The Rev. Lowell Hennigs is retiring Sunday after 35 years in ministry.
Hennigs served in multiple interim positions in Omaha ministry, but he pastored Emanuel Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs for the last five and a half years.
One of the first things Hennigs did as pastor was get more involved with the Midlands Living Center nursing home, which is next to the church on North Broadway. He saw some of his church members’ transition to living at Midlands, which didn’t have a regular church service at the time, so he started preaching there every Sunday.
Hennigs remembered getting calls when residents of Midlands called him if they didn’t see him on a Sunday or regularly scheduled day.
During their leadership, Hennig and his wife, Brenda, served in the mental health ministry, focused on growing the congregation and worked with the music director to expand the music at the church, said Rosie Spangenberg, president of the Emanuel Church Council said.
Stephany Sanborn will take over services at Emanuel for the summer until a permanent pastor is found.
Hennigs said he lived near the church before buying his “retirement home” in west Omaha less than two years ago.
“We’re very grateful for the welcome we’ve received,” Hennigs said. “We’ve enjoyed our time in Council Bluffs; it’s a wonderful community.”
Midlands held a retirement celebration for Hennigs Tuesday. Emanuel will hold a “farewell Sunday” ceremony Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
After the service, a “thanks for helping us grow” reception will be held in Emanuel’s community room.
“It’s been a lot of fun to have him and his wife Brenda around,” said Michaela Lewis, parish assistant for Emanuel.
Hennigs said living in Omaha and retirement will allow him to spend more time with his wife and family.
After retirement, Hennigs said he found a congregation to be a member, instead of leading the services.
“I felt called into ordained ministry and I feel glad for that call,” Hennigs said. “I’m now excited to see what life looks like after that call, too.”