Clear Opens

Bishop Bruce R. Ough and the Minnesota Annual Conference appointive cabinet seek to match clergy and congregations in order to fulfill our Gospel Imperatives - To Grow in Love of God and Neighbor, Reach New People and Heal a Broken World. As part of our consultation process in appointment-making, we are inviting clergy to indicate their interest in those churches which we presently know to be open as of December 5, 2016.

Presently there are clear opens in four of the five districts of the Minnesota Annual Conference. These churches are listed below, along with a brief description. The appointive cabinet will use the information from your interest as part of our process of appointment-making. We found it helpful in recent years and therefore have chosen to continue this practice.

If you are interested in being considered for one of these churches, we invite you to drop an email to the superintendent of the open church, with a copy to your own DS, stating why you are interested and what gifts you think you bring. If you want to know more about the church, please check out its website and ask the DS.

Thank you, and we ask that you keep us in your prayers as we begin the discernment in appointment-making again very soon!

Big Waters District – Susan Nienaber, District Superintendent

Annandale UMC (AWA 48 end of 2015)

Zion UMC in South Haven, MN (AWA 34 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment with a parsonage

Annandale and Zion UMCs are a two-point charge located west of Buffalo, MN. In 2016 Annandale has been working through a Choosing the Faithful Path process and are continuing to discern their future. There is a strong desire in both congregations to grow and be vital even as they discern their capacities for growth. A group of young families with children (20-30 total people) participate in Wednesday night activities at Annandale. Both churches have beautiful facilities. Annandale has a parsonage in a charming lake town. Zion UMC is a small, sweet congregation with folks who get along well with each other and are faithfully trying to reach out into their community.


Champlin UMC (AWA 74 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment

Champlin UMC is a progressive, inclusive and accepting spiritual community focused upon serving others. The congregation has a clear identity, vision, and mission, supported by creative worship, strong music, and mission activities for all ages. It is busy, active and working very hard to change its culture in order to grow. A sign of progress is an increase in AWA from 67 in 2014 to 74 in 2015. They have initiated and lead a faith, school, and community partnership to help schools deal with the socioeconomic needs of families called BETTER TOGETHER. They are in their 6th year of hosting and providing leadership for an interfaith educational organization called NISE (Northern Intercultural Spiritual Experiences). The congregation recently raised $100,000 which has been used to update and renovate the building interior and exterior. Champlin UMC hosts two other congregations for worship on Saturdays and Sundays. The church has received Investing in Congregation Grants in 2015 and 2016 which have been used to begin a new, monthly worship service called “REFUEL” targeted toward 20-40 year olds. Champlin UMC is seeking a strong, collaborative leader, progressive in their theology, message, language and teaching, with a passion for reaching the millennial generation and their families. This congregation is currently being served by an interim pastor.


Coon Rapids UMC (AWA 299 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment, senior pastor

Coon Rapids United Methodist Church, membership 575, is one of the larger churches in the Big Waters District.  Coon Rapids, MN is a northern suburb of Minneapolis with a population of 62,000.  It is an historic community with convenient access to sporting events, theatre, and nature, among many other things found in the Twin Cities metro area.  Our vibrant, multi-generational congregation values family, diversity, acceptance of all in a community of faith and love, excellence in ministry, outreach to the world, powerful worship and music with many programs nurturing our children through adults.  Our mission is to introduce unbelievers to Jesus and to lead believers in becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.  With an average weekly attendance of approximately 250, we seek a dynamic, relational and visionary pastor to lead us into a new life-cycle of growth in our faith in God, in each other, in our community and in bringing Christ to the unchurched.  Coon Rapids UMC is currently served by an interim pastor working with our lay leadership to establish a posture of positive change and excitement. We are looking for a committed, gifted communicator of the gospel, a pastor who embraces both traditional and contemporary styles of worship to serve an evolving congregation with a heart that loves all.

First UMC in Duluth, MN (AWA 214 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment, senior pastor

First UMC in Duluth is eager to welcome a new Lead Pastor in the spring of 2017. They are interested in an innovative leader who will serve to inspire their staff (two full-time and about 15 part-time) and the congregation by helping them fulfill the annual conference’s expectation to grow in love of God and neighbor, reach new people, and heal a broken world. This will require excellent skills in preaching and collaborative worship planning, a well-developed, clearly-articulated and progressive theology, openness and comfort with a congregation who has a wide variety of social and political views, and a willingness to engage in relationship-building, both within the congregation and throughout our community. First UMC is a reconciling congregation. Additionally, the Lead Pastor sets the tone for a positive and supportive work environment for both staff and volunteers, inviting and involving volunteers to participate in various church ministries. Ideally, this person will also have a proven track record in growing worship attendance, setting long- and short-term goals that inspire deep engagement, and encouraging congregational members to strengthen personal and communal practices of intentional discipleship. They are looking for a servant leader who will help them shine God’s light into the world as a beacon of hope and healing from the Skyline.

An intentional interim pastor was appointed August 2016 and has been working to help clarify their sense of where God is calling them to grow, honoring the deep history of two congregations that merged into one church in 2012, connecting with young adults and families with children in new and innovative ways, and helping the congregation “think outside the box” as they forge a new identity as servants of Christ in a hurting world.

The church’s 50-year-old Coppertop building is a local landmark and provides a fabulous facility for worship, ministry, and community gathering. The pastor’s office has the best view in the annual conference. The annual budget is about $570,000. In 2018 they will complete a capital campaign which is on target to meet their goal of $525,000. The money is being raised to address a number of structural projects to ensure the viability of the building for the next 50 years.


Bethel UMC in Mound, MN (AWA 70 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment with a parsonage

Mound, MN is located on the west side of Lake Minnetonka and is a more affluent area. Many consider this community to be a small town on the edge of the city. This congregation has strong lay leadership and while they are smaller in numbers they have a very large heart. People are willing to pitch in and help when needed. There is a bell choir along with a vocal choir. The community is known for a nationally recognized school system and numerous opportunities for recreation. Bethel was the first church in the area, going back to the 1880’s. The current building was put in place in the 1950’s and 60’s. Renovations have provided an industrial grade kitchen and elevator. Two years ago the narthex was updated, a screen was added to the sanctuary for visuals, and an electronic sign was added outdoors. While theologically diverse, the majority lean a bit toward the progressive side. The congregation offers several ways for people to be personally involved in mission work. Every other week a group packs meals at Feed My Starving Children in Chanhassen. A meal is provided to the public every other Wednesday evening called Dinner Is Served (20-30 guests on average). Periodically a group serves a meal at Simpson Shelter. The church is situated on a full block of land - a portion of which is a community garden. The Sunday School averages about a dozen kids, but has been drawing about 25 for Vacation Bible School. There are two members (one a Lay Speaker) who often preach in the pastor’s absence. Bethel owns a parsonage that is provided for the pastor located at the opposite end of the block from the church building. The leadership would like to participate in the Healthy Church Initiative at some point in the future.


Graham UMC in Rice, MN (AWA 72 end of 2015)

1/4-time appointment with a parsonage

Graham UMC is a loving, thriving rural congregation. It is a strongly lay led congregation with many capable lay ministers/leaders. Given that the appointment is only ¼ time the role of pastor will be more of a chaplain role. There is an aging population in the church but they are exceptionally blessed with a robust millennial generation desiring engagement in the church. Part of this millennial generation is members who have grown up in and remained members or have returned to Graham as their home church. The church has also seen growth of new millennial attendees attracted to the congregation either by location or upon recruitment from other friends or family who are current members. In addition, they have a large number of school age children in the congregation. The current Sunday School enrollment is around 65 students with an additional 25 active in Youth Fellowship. Vacation Bible School is well-organized and led and has had as many as 75 kids from the community. The congregation needs good, collaborative worship leadership and a plan to care for members who are ill, hospitalized and shut in.


White Bear Lake UMC (AWA 264 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment, senior pastor

White Bear Lake UMC’s mission is to provide nourishment for the hungers of life. This mission is served well through their community bread oven which has been the inspiration for other bread ovens across the state. The mission is also met through adult faith offerings, creative worship (traditional/blended & band-led services), excellent music offerings, community partnerships with the Emergency Food Shelf & a local elementary, and dedicated congregational care teams. White Bear Lake UMC is rooted in progressive, inclusive theology where questions are encouraged and deep thinkers thrive in the worship and education programs. Excellent, high achieving staff team. The children’s ministry program is strong and the church is currently utilizing an interim youth minister to build a more meaningful and sustainable youth program. After a 20 year tenure of the senior pastor, an interim senior pastor has been leading this congregation for the past year. The next lead pastor will need to be a great preacher, excellent strategist and a driver who can initiate and lead change. They have a great website – check it out! 

River Valley District – Cynthia Williams, District Superintendent

Winona: Wesley (AWA 205)

3/4 to Full-time appointment with a parsonage

Wesley UMC is a downtown church (population 27,000), close to the campus of Winona State University. The church has a staff of nine, two worship services (traditional and contemporary), with the contemporary service targeted to young adults and families. Wesley UMC is a congregation committed to loving God and loving people; that is reflected in its focus on discipleship for children, youth and adults, missions, as well as community outreach and engagement. A signature ministry is Souper Tuesday, where each Tuesday, free lunchtime meals are served to the community. Wesley has been served for the past 4.5 years by Dale Arendt, a skilled consultant and coach, assigned as a qualified lay person who is leaving to give more attention to his consulting practice. Dale’s focus during his tenure has been that of leading the church toward congregational health, spiritual vitality and to a financially, self-sustaining future.  Much progress has been made in the first two areas and the church has moved from being a maintenance church to that of a missional church. With a long history of using endowment funds to balance their program budget, Wesley is at a critical decision point in developing a strategy to repurpose their building. The next lead pastor will need to be a strong strategic, courageous leader, who can equip and empower and lead through change. A missional mindset, with strong intercultural, intergenerational competency is also important. 


La Crescent  (AWA 90 end of 2015)

Dakota Riverside (AWA 22 end of 2015)

Full-time appointment with a parsonage

La Crescent, a community of 4,800, is the apple capital of Minnesota, that draws from a larger population of La Crosse, Wisconsin and surrounding areas. La Crescent entered the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process in 2016 and is living into a renewed vision of being the hands and feet of Jesus, bringing people to a transforming relationship with Christ. In addition, the congregation is committed to strengthening relational outreach, artful and planful worship and leadership development. La Crescent has some excellent outreach ministries, including a summer Lunch Wagon program and participation in P.E.T. International. La Crescent is generally theologically conservative; however, there is a diverse mix. 

Dakota Riverside is a small “family style” church that likes to be known as, “the little church with the big heart.” The primary focus of its ministry is geared toward Sunday morning worship and special seasonal services. The congregation is theologically diverse. With the retirement of Pastor Greg Nelson, it will be important that the next lead pastor have the skills to help the La Crescent church live into their HCI prescriptions. These prescriptions focus on relational outreach, worship design and planning, leadership development and restructuring the board governance. 

Southern Prairie District – Fred Vanderwerf, District Superintendent 


Montevideo:  Montevideo UMC

Full-time appointment

Pastor Gwen Bohlke is retiring on June 30, 2017 after serving Montevideo UMC since 2008. Montevideo is the county seat of Chippewa County with a population of 5250. It is a mostly white (92%) farming community with some growing ethnic diversity. The community offers an excellent school, cultural events through community concerts, fine arts, and school performances. Recreationally it has an outdoor pool, trails, hunting, fishing, parks, and community education opportunities. The church is a warm theologically moderate community-minded congregation. Membership is 281, an AWA of 71, and 54 in Wednesday School for all ages. Currently they offer one weekly blended style worship experience on Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30. The facility is a large one-story accessible building which offers an outside prayer garden and is located directly across from the nursing home and clinic. They began the Missional Journey process about four years ago and would like to continue to live into their goals of enlivening worship, growing prayer ministry, and intergenerational appeal. They have a long history of fully paying apportionments, a yearly stewardship letter campaign, 337K endowment used for mission trips, scholarships, youth, music, and community outreach. They support a number of local missions and have many involved with VIM. The preferred pastor will be strong relationally and in strategic leadership, assisting them to think outside the box, and in developing a strategic plan to reach new and young families and to move the church into a vibrant future.


Waterville/Blooming Grove:  Waterville Evangelical and Blooming Grove UMCs

Full-time appointment

Pastor Cindy Kennedy is taking honorable location on March 1st after serving these churches (Prairie Lakes Parish) since 2007. These congregations are located in South Central Minnesota. Waterville is around 1,850 in population, with a large recreational and outdoor area, state park, lakes, and bike trail. It is 45 minutes from the Twin Cities and 30 minutes from Mankato. Evangelical UMC worships around 40 each Sunday in a traditional style at 10:30am and Sunday School. They have VBS, Wednesday night youth group, and confirmation and pre-confirmation youth activities that include a monthly all-ages worship and mission outreach projects such as Trick-or-Treat for the food shelf, Feed my Starving Children, Simpson House and Souper Bowl Sundays. The congregation also gives strong mission support to things such as Gathering House Prison Ministry, Meals on Wheels, Simpson House, School Snack Program, and local fire and flood victims. Blooming Grove UMC, a small rural country congregation, considers themselves “in the middle of everywhere” 15-20 minutes from Waseca, Waterville, Morristown, Medford, Owatonna and Faribault. Though rural life has changed dramatically, they have seen steady average worship attendance around near 35-40. They are landmarked as the “two steeple Church” and known for their annual Farm Tractor Pull that supports ag-related mission projects, Run 4 the Loaves to support area food shelves, and Prison Ministry at Steele County Detention Center. They are expanding their youth ministry by hiring a part-time youth consultant.  Theologically the churches consider themselves to be open-minded, open-hearted, and open-doored, welcoming persons from a variety of familial, theological, political perspectives. A preferred pastor will preach well, have good relationship skills across all age groups, be highly approachable and welcoming, and lead these congregations toward membership growth, and continue to cultivate mission and youth programs. 

Twin Cities District – Dan Johnson, District Superintendent


St. Paul:  Fairmount Avenue United Methodist Church

Full-time appointment

Lead Pastor Marci Jamison is transitioning to family leave with Rev. Pat Hinker providing interim leadership February through June. Fairmount Avenue serves the predominantly Anglo, educated and prosperous Macalester-Groveland and Union Park neighborhoods. Congregational strengths include committed lay leadership, intergenerational ethos, passion for social justice, music excellence and strong programming for children, youth and adult faith formation. The Covenant Discipleship program has been a valuable process for developing leaders over the past decade.  Reported membership is 314 with average worship attendance of 145. This progressive, highly relational, family oriented, Reconciling Congregation currently has one traditional worship service on Sunday mornings. They have a strong history of nurture and congregational care. As Fairmount Avenue begins envisioning their future, minds are becoming more externally focused and hearts are yearning for more impactful connection with the community. The proximity of several private colleges and the projected growth in public school enrollment holds the potential for broadening student ministries. Fairmount anticipates engaging in an intentional church visioning and transformation process. They seek a pastor with demonstrated skills in strategic thinking, compelling preaching, administration, and an ability to work collaboratively with paid staff and highly engaged volunteers.


St. Paul:  Mounds Park United Methodist Church

3/4 to Full-time appointment

Lead Pastor Dennis Alexander is retiring in June. Mounds Park serves the culturally and socio-economically diverse neighborhood of Dayton’s Bluff and surrounding community. This congregation is committed to the mission of becoming a “Christ-centered church of the neighborhood reaching out in love and justice with the Good News of Jesus Christ; cultivating vital spirituality, reaching new people and healing a broken world.” Their active focus in the past year has been “forward and outward in multi-cultural community”. Reported membership is 154 with average worship attendance of 84. This vibrant congregation currently has one blended worship service on Sunday mornings with a plethora of nurture and outreach ministries commensurate with a church several times their size. Among these ministries are active children and youth programming, Urban CROSS Summer Camp, relational neighborhood outreach of both mercy and justice, an independent community development corporation and about two dozen partner organizations. This congregation is a vital urban presence and a center for creative and diverse ministry experimentation. They seek a pastor with a commitment to the city, multi-cultural competency, inspiring worship, administrative acumen and a heart that breaks for the least, last and lost. 

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058