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Friends remember Rev. Brenda Burns

By Staff | Nov 15, 2013

The glowing adjectives to describe Rev. Brenda Burns could take days to go through.

“She was just everything,” Knox resident Pat Robbins said. “She was helpful, she was kind, she was honest. There isn’t a word that wouldn’t describe her in that line.”

Robbins was one of many friends and parishioners shocked by the unexpected death of Burns, a pastor at the Knox Community Church and Lebanon Lutheran in Leeds. Burns also served as the chaplain at Heart of America Medical Center and worked with staff and residents at Haaland Estates.

Burns passed away Nov. 9 at Trinity Hospital in Minot following a one-vehicle accident on Nov. 7. The 53-year-old lost control of her vehicle south of Rugby on N.D. 3, was ejected and soon after transported to Trinity via helicopter.

Many admired Burns for her uplifting sermons and ability to connect with anyone she encountered.

“We’re gonna miss her so much,” Knox resident Margy Stone said. “Everyone around is gonna miss her so much. It’s gonna make a real hole in everybody’s life because she was all over, at the Haaland home and the hospital.”

Burns started the Knox Community Church about 15 years ago and later added pastor responsibilities in Leeds.

“She was the best thing that ever happened down here,” said Robbins, a Knox resident of 45 years. “My friend helped put her sermons online. I just couldn’t say enough good things about her. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She was just absolutely kind.”

Burns held Sunday services at 9 a.m. in Knox and 11 a.m. in Leeds.

“Some of the ladies came up (to Knox) at a service and they asked her to come down (to Leeds) and do her service there too because everyone was just fascinated by her,” Robbins said. “They naturally came back. They loved her.

“She spoke on a lot of different things, but mostly it was put your trust in the Lord, put your trust in Jesus. She was just a blessing, and that’s what she was.”

Robbins said Burns took trips to Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Bismarck to visit sick parishioners and would make phone calls to pray if she was unable to travel. Robbins’ son died two years ago from a rare paralysis disease and his mother credits Burns with bringing him to God.

“She would call in prayers and I would put the phone to his ears,” Robbins said. “And that was a great comfort to him.”

Jeff Lingerfelt, administrator of the Heart of America Medical Center, worked with Burns the past few years and admired her abilities. “Brenda was an ordinary person who allowed God to use her in extraordinary ways to lead us to Jesus,” he said. “She was dearly loved by all and will be greatly missed by all.”

A funeral service was held Thursday for Burns at First Lutheran Church in Rugby before she was laid to rest alongside family at Pleasant Valley Brethren Cemetery in rural York.

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