By Crystal Dey
Growing up on a farm a stone’s throw away from Canada in the small Minnesota town of Hallock, Pastor Denise Croskey could see for miles from her yard in the Red River Valley. She was eventually drawn south to Douglas County where she has served the parishes of Trinity Lutheran in Holmes City and Oscar Lake Lutheran in rural Farwell since 2000.
Pastor Croskey has been the longest serving pastor in the history of this parish since 1866. She lives with her husband, Phil, west of Holmes City overlooking lakes Grant, Blackwell and Echo.
What inspired you to become a pastor?
I was inspired to become a pastor because I helped start a mission church several years ago. There were 50 of us who got together and said, “We need a Lutheran church in Sartell.” Thus, Celebration Lutheran came into being. As a mission start, I was needed to help with everything from reading Scripture to singing in the choir to organizing events within the church.
Where did you study theology?
I began to take theology classes at nearby St. Ben’s and St. John’s. I just thrived while I was there. I eventually finished my studies at St. John’s School of Theology Master’s Program in Pastoral Ministry, immediately after going on to Luther Seminary in St. Paul for four years for a Masters of Divinity while commuting from Sartell.
Interesting fact: Pastor Croskey was the only woman of 25 monks, priests and Catholic seminarians while studying at St. Jouh’s School of Theology in Israel in the early 1990s.
What is the greatest challenge you face serving two churches?
Making sure that I give equal time to both congregations. The churches are almost identical in membership and both churches need equal time.
What’s great about living in Douglas County?
It’s the best kept secret in the state. This is paradise at its finest.
What are your passions or interests?
My passions have always been travel and cooking. I wish I could say reading a good book or listening to symphony, but it’s really about the challenge of traveling on my own and figuring out new airports, languages and cultures. I love to cook and have taken cooking classes. I love to invite guests for dinner and try new recipes.
“That’s what Generation Z needs to learn, is to put God first in their life and then everything else will fall into place.”
—Pastor Denise Croskey
OSCAR LAKE – TRINITY LUTHERAN PARISH
What can Generation Z learn from your generation?
I tell my confirmation students all the time that there are only two things you can never lose in your lifetime and you need them both: an education and your soul. Nourish your soul with the love of Christ and get an education. Then you have won the victory on all counts.
That’s what Generation Z needs to learn, is to put God first in their life and then everything else will fall into place. Trust the Lord with all your heart and all your soul and all your might.
Women are needed in the ministry to help fill the pulpits in both rural and urban churches. Women have patience, compassion and endurance for the ministry.
Nominate your favorite extraordinary woman from Douglas County! firstname.lastname@example.org or call 320.763.1233.