Two classmates from Luther Theological Seminary’s Class of 1989 are firsts at the same church.
The Rev. Julie Brenden is the first female lead pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. She was installed Feb. 10. In 1989, the Rev. Sandee Kosmo (Christoffersen) became the first woman associate pastor there. Brenden and Kosmo graduated together 30 years ago with Master of Divinity degrees in a class of 95 from what was known then as Luther Northwestern Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
Brenden served as a bridge pastor at St. John’s. starting last September and staying with Kosmo and her husband, John Moseng. The 1,000-member congregation voted to call Brenden as their lead pastor on Epiphany, Jan. 6.
Brenden has served two Evangelical Lutheran Church of America synods: Southwestern Minnesota Synod and Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. Her pastorates included many rural parishes and multi-point churches primarily as a solo pastor. Brenden’s internship was at Atonement Lutheran Church, Lakewood (Denver), Colo. Her bachelor’s degree in chemistry is from North Dakota State University, Fargo.
Her Wisconsin parishes were in or near Centuria, Grantsburg, Amery, Balsam Lake, Cushing, Frederic, Glenwood City, Prairie Farm, Luck, and Eau Claire. Brenden’s Minnesota pastorates were in Clinton, Graceville, Litchfield, and Cosmos.
She is married to retired ELCA pastor, the Rev. Mel Rau.
Kosmo is semi-retired after years as a second career pastor at St. John’s Lutheran, as well as serving churches in the United Church of Christ. where she has Privilege of Call. She served UCC churches in Fall Creek, Humbird, Osseo and Eau Claire. Kosmo has four units of clinical pastoral education and served as a chaplain also. She served churches in New Mexico from 2002-2008 while working full time for New Mexico State University-grants. Kosmo retuned to Eau Claire and is now a member of the church she served, St. John’s.
Currently, Kosmo works part-time for Eau Claire and Altoona’s Grace Lutheran Communities assisting Chaplain Debra Boynton with services in their facilities.
Kosmo started seminary at age 39 with a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from UW-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in audio visual education from UW-Stout. She interned at University Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, with the Rev. Don Wisner before her first call to St. John’s Lutheran with lead pastor, Rev. David Kilde and the other associate, the Rev. Tom Bryan.