The Rev. Brooke L. Swertfager was the first person ordained by the late Bishop William Lazareth.  The laying on of hands took place in May of 1988 at St. John - St. Matthew - Emanuel Lutheran Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, with honors, from Concordia College in Bronxville, she went on to receive the Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. At Union, she was privileged to study with Cornel West, Raymond Brown and Phyllis Trible, among other noted scholars.

Having begun her tenure at Christ Lutheran Church in 1991, Pastor Swertfager has also served as the  Dean of Manhattan; member of the Executive Committee of Seafarers International House; member of the Pastoral Care Committee at NYU Langone Medical Center; and participant in the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue of the Archdiocese of New York.

Pastor Swertfager is married to the Rev. William Eric Baum, pastor of Saint Barnabas Church. On the home front, she guides her household's daily life, insuring the family's eastern box turtle, Northford, is fed a proper diet of worms and berries.  The couple have two tall sons.  The family is full of avid hockey players and fans. Pastor Swertfager enjoys dining locally. Check-out her favorite neighborhood restaurants!