Learn about Pastor Richard Bruenger


Richard Bruenger was born in Great Bend, Kansas, as the youngest of three children.  His father was a parish pastor who served congregations in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska. His elementary education was in both public and Lutheran schools. The first year of High School was at Fairbury High School Fairbury, NE.  At the beginning of the sophomore year he enrolled at Concordia High School, Seward, Nebraska.

His education continued at Concordia Teacher’s College in Seward where he graduated in January, 1964 with a Bachelors of Science Degree and an elementary teaching certificate.  He was assigned to teach grades 4-6 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sylvan Grove KS where he met his wife who also graduated from CTC in 1965 and was assigned to teach lower grades at Bethlehem. They were married August 2, 1968 in Trinity Lutheran Church, Wichita, KS, Marilyn’s home congregation.  

While at Bethlehem he became convinced that he might best serve the Lord by entering the pastoral ministry.  He entered Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, in September of that year.  After three years on campus and one year of vicarage in Houston, Texas, he graduated in May with a Bachelors of Divinity Degree, later receiving a Masters of Divinity from that same institution. 

Marilyn was honored with a PHT (putting hubby through) degree.  His first years as a Pastor were in Nebraska serving dual parishes, Buffalo and Merna, Snyder and Scribner.  In 1979 he accepted a call to Holy Cross Lutheran, Kansas City, Missouri where he served as Associate Pastor for 8 years and as Senior Pastor for 8 years. While in Kansas City, beside being wife and mother, Marilyn taught kindergarten in the public school system.  

In 1995 he accepted the call to serve as Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran in Clay Center, Kansas. While there, Marilyn taught at Immanuel Lutheran in Junction City and at Linn Lutheran school. He retired in May, 2004, and Marilyn retired in May 2005.  For two years after retirement he and Marilyn traveled in a Motorhome visiting a variety of states. Wanting to be close to an International airport they moved to Topeka in 2008.  While in Topeka he has served as Vacancy Pastor at Faith, Topeka and Trinity, McFarland as well as serving as a supply pastor in a number of Kansas congregations.  

He and Marilyn have two daughters, Julie Bassett, a high school music teacher in Michigan, married to Jeremy, and Janna Walpole, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Heritage Counselling Service here in Topeka, married to Paul.  They have three grandchildren, Dylan ,21, Kellan, 16, and Aedan, 12