Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Martha Deichler
BSUSD School-Community Liaison and BMA Member 

Reverend Laura Brecht Leaving Borrego


Last updated 12/9/2021 at 10:09am

She is stately as she walks purposefully into a room, colorful robes and skirts flowing gracefully – sometimes wearing the classy white clerical collar and other times donning her distinctive straw hat. But always bearing her huge and contagious smile a - smile that radiates warmth, passion, kindness and love. She is Reverend Laura Brecht (Rev. Laura) and this village is going to miss her severely.

Rev. Laura came to Borrego 12 years ago, with her husband Lyle Brecht, to be the minister of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, a position she has held with incredible success and exuberance. Her sermons are moving, her passion tangible and her outreach to her community unmatched. This community is already struggling to find someone of her caliber to take on the rolls she leaves behind.

Soon after assuming her post at St. Barnabas, Rev. Laura called together some of her colleagues, specifically Methodist Minister Jim Brooking, to form the Borrego Ministers' Association (BMA), an organization with a focus on meeting the needs of locals - both spiritual and physical. Rev. Laura realized the need and, in her fashion, jumped in enthusiastically and made it happen. The BMA now includes not only ministers, but lay people and leaders in the community. This highly successful organization has supported the town to the tune of $300,000 (from donations) in financial support to locals during COVID under the direct supervision of President Rev. Laura.

Our local Borrego Springs Rotary Club, a charitable organization supporting the needs in our village, has benefitted tremendously with Rev. Laura as a Past President and currently as long-time treasurer. Her keen eyes, attention to detail and kind heart have enabled our Club to flourish and to give back to our community many times over.

In addition, Rev. Laura has brightened our community with her singing at the Performing Arts Center, St. Barnabas' Christmas Music Programs and the outreach her church provides through Food Banks, Blessing Box (free food), Bring Your Own Bowl Music and Soup Social and an outside shower installed for the sole purpose of addressing the needs of the homeless in our town.

While most Borregans know Rev. Laura as a woman of the cloth, one could be surprised to learn of her B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and her degrees in urban planning. She has a Master of City Planning, Urban Development and Environmental Planning from none other than Harvard University Graduate School of Design. After working in private practice around urban planning/zoning, Rev. Laura spent years in various cities as a zoning specialist, public participation coordinator and resource management consultant - always focused on reaching out to the underrepresented and those in need, a theme that she has embraced throughout her life.

While extremely involved at that time with her church's prayer groups, vestry, Bible Study, choir and outreach care-giving programs, it wasn't until 2008 that Rev. Laura graduated from the School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Thus began her career as a preacher in the Episcopal Church and Borrego Springs was incredibly fortunate to have Rev. Laura receive her first appointment here in our village.

She has spent the last 12 years preaching courageously from the pulpit on the issues of the day, unafraid and unabashed. Her parishioners explain that Rev. Laura lives by the spirit, true to herself and her convictions. She has been admired and revered for her exuberant passion, her love and acceptance of all people and as stated so well by fellow retired clergy Preacher Michael Plekon, "Rev. Laura is a Pastor to everybody in Borrego as she sees them all as people of God. She has been called Borrego's Pastor."

We will miss "our Pastor" regardless of our church affiliation or religious bent. Rev. Laura has touched so many with her blessings, her comforting words, her prayers and her sincere love for all of us. She will be missed and so will that amazing smile.

We wish Rev. Laura and Lyle the best of health and happiness as they relocate to Boulder, Colorado, to be near their daughter, son-in-law and two-year-old granddaughter.

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