By Annysa Johnston
For as long as she can remember, the Rev. Kristin Nielsen has experienced God and the world through the lens of her Lutheran faith.
She grew up a “PK,” or pastor’s kid, in a Lutheran home. She attended a Lutheran seminary, and has spent her pastoral career preaching the Gospel in Evangelical Lutheran churches.
These days, Nielsen leads a combined Presbyterian-Lutheran congregation on Milwaukee’s west side as two churches – Good Shepherd Lutheran and Trinity Presbyterian – work toward a rare and once-unthinkable merger across denominational lines.
Theirs is in many ways an Easter story – one of death and new life, of letting go and trusting that what is to come is greater than what was.
“Sometimes, there is a cry for change. We can relate to that,” Nielsen reminded worshippers on Palm Sunday, the start of the Christian Holy Week, as she recalled the fear among Christ’s disciples on the eve of his crucifixion.
“I never would have dreamed both sides could let go of something so dear, and now new life happens,” Nielsen said in an interview. “Are we there yet? No. But the journey is being open to where the Holy Spirit is leading you.”