Bartt and Katherine Brick wrap their years of service in Madras
Sunday, Oct. 10 Katherine Brick preached her last sermon to the Good Shepherd Lutheran and St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Madras.
She remembers the day she walked into the sanctuary seven years ago.
"I was just elated," she says. "Those stained glass windows with the sun coming through them are just as holy as anything gets."
The Madras congregation is the first church she's pastored. After a full career as a teacher, at age 60, she felt called to a second career as a pastor.
"Seminary is expensive," she pointed out. "It's $30,000 a year for four years."
"That's why I say when Katherine got her call from God, it was a collect call," jokes her husband.
Katherine enjoyed serving the Madras 77-member congregation, who supported her through Bartt's heart attack and her own recovery from injuries. But at the seven year mark, she began to ask herself: "This is my first call. How do I know when I'm done? I haven't had that experience before."
About that time, denominational leadership suggested she might have the right skills to serve as interim pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in North Bend, a community near Coos Bay.
Here's what cinched the deal: The offer came with a promise from Synod that after a year to 18 months in North Bend, leadership would find a position for her in the Portland/Hillsboro area so they can rejoin their family.
"We've never lived on the coast before," says Bartt, "and a year on the coast sounds kind of cool."
Katherine and Bartt Brick are a package deal. They've been together since their sophomore year at Crook County High School in Prineville. They've been married 52 years.
Her call means his cutting ties with his service in Madras, particularly as a Madras City Councilor.
"In terms of elected service in the country, I'm the Walmart greeter," says Brick who spent a 32-year career working around the world for U.S. Bank. "I have loved every minute of it," he says of both his banking years and his service on the Madras City Council.
Brick says he enjoyed effecting change on a level that matters.
"We did stuff," he says. "We made sure in our housing plan that there will always be a focus on low-income housing because that matters."
He's proud of the city's residential Urban Renewal program.
He asked Madras Cinema 5 to dedicate one screen to Spanish language movies for the third of the city's population that speaks Spanish.
"It's a little thing like that that makes a huge difference," says Brick. "Fifty years from now, we won't be judged by a beautiful city hall, we'll be judged by how we helped the disenfranchised and the marginalized in our community."
The Bricks didn't limit their service to the church or the city council. She volunteered with the MountainStar Family Relief Nursery. He taught an anger management class to inmates at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution.
"I would encourage everyone in the City of Madras to volunteer up there and learn what's really happening with those men's lives," says Brick. "There are 1,200 prisoners up there. There are 1,200 unique stories. What happened in their lives to get to the point where they end up being in prison is fascinating."
Both hold fond memories of Madras, she the warm congregation that made her ordination so lovely, he seeing people roll up their sleeves to get things done in their community.
Katherine will head to North Bend on Friday, Oct. 15.
Bartt will stay on through mid-November to wrap up his duties as city councilor and chair of the board of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and the Madras Redevelopment Commission.
And once Bartt arrives in North Bend, "I suspect I will find something to occupy my mind pretty easily."
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