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 10, 2015.

Presently, there are clear opens in all 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 e-mail 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.

Big Waters District – Susan Nienaber, District Superintendent

Champlin UMC (3/4-time appointment)

Champlin UMC’s mission is to be an inclusive spiritual community serving others. This congregation has strong administrative and program leadership, a clear identity, vision, and mission and strong music, creative worship and mission activities for all ages. Champlin UMC has been declining from 84 in AWA in 2010 to 67 now. In spite of its decline, it is a busy and active congregation that is working very hard to revitalize. 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 5th year of hosting and providing leadership for an interfaith educational organization called NISE (Northern Intercultural Spiritual Experiences). Members hosted a huge service/fundraising project called “Looping” that engaged people from the church, an alternative high school as well as groups that rent or use the facilities. Recently, the church received a large Investing in Congregations Grant and has begun a new, monthly worship service called “REFUEL” targeted to reach 20-40 year olds. This congregation is currently being served by an interim pastor.

The United Church of Two Harbors (3/4-time appointment)

In 1969 the United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Two Harbors united to become the United Church of Two Harbors. Since then this congregation has proudly been known as a "melting pot" for families of many diverse faith traditions with a mix of Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, and others who are seeking a welcoming church home. Their mission is “we, the United Church of Two Harbors, empowered by the grace of God, welcome and nurture all to serve as followers of Jesus Christ.” The mission is known and understood by the congregation. This congregation has broadly educated people who actively support one another in Christian fellowship, work to assist hunger relief with their annual Beef Dinner and Music to Feed the Soul Concert, and provide the Two Harbors community with an open minded, welcoming church home. Their next pastor will appreciate the talented church and musical staff, the choir, energetic youth ministry coordinator, trained technical support person, actively supportive and compassionate congregation, church potlucks and community suppers, the area's quality school system and the natural beauty and state parks surrounding this north shore community. The United Church wants a pastor who would offer diverse, intriguing sermons focused on practical every day issues of life and someone with an engaging personality who would enjoy becoming actively involved in the Two Harbors community as well as helping the United Church grow and flourish.

This congregation has been served by a Presbyterian pastor since August 2003. It has declined from 70 AWA in 2011 to 58 AWA in 2015. They are currently not able to support a full-time pastor, but they believe they have the capacity to quickly return to full-time pastoral compensation with the right appointment. One impressive piece about this church: In May of 2014 this congregation became inspired by the words of Adam Hamilton at annual conference and a local church team formed called Re-Think Church. This group has been actively studying together and brainstorming ways to reach new people and revitalize this congregation. This congregation is highly motivated to transform and revitalize.

North Star District – Mark Miller, District Superintendent

Alexandria UMC  (full-time appointment)

Alexandria UMC is one of the larger churches on the North Star District (average worship of 184 in 2014) and is located in a growing community of 13,000. The church has a staff of five, a new community bread oven and gardens, and hosts an environmental pre-school. It is a strong church, but it is in a period of struggle. The current pastor began serving in 2013 following a pastor whose tenure was 13 years. Due to a difficult transition and internal conflicts in the church, the present pastor has requested a change of appointment. The congregation has worked with Susan Nienaber as a consultant to begin to address the conflict and heal. However, it has been determined that the best follow would be an interim appointment of someone who has the skills to lead through the healing work, develop a well-functioning governance structure, and position the church so it is ready to move boldly forward when the next pastor is appointed. The interim appointment is projected to be for one to two years. If you have an interest in this kind of ministry, training as an interim may be provided.

River Valley District – Clay Oglesbee, District Superintendent

Rochester: Evangel UMC, Lead Pastor (full-time appointment)

Current pastor is retiring 6/30/2016. This is one of the larger, high-potential growth congregations in the Minnesota Annual Conference.  After a plateau and decline in worship participation over the past decade, the congregation has entered into the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process and is also currently involved in conversations regarding a possible merger and multisite work with Rochester: Bethany UMC site and resources. Well-maintained and extensive church facilities at both campuses in the heart of Rochester, near Mayo Clinic hospitals and clinics, colleges, downtown businesses and shopping. Population of the city is over 100,000 (metro-area is over 200,000) and predicted to grow by 40% in coming decades, due in part to “Destination Rochester” development steps by Mayo Clinic, City of Rochester and State of Minnesota spending. Large staff.  Strong music and congregational care staffing. Average worship attendance reported at around 300/Sunday into 2015 at the anchor location and around 50 at the Bethany location. Priority outreach is to be to the “missing” Millennial generation and their families (HCI prescription) to build multigenerational outreach. Sunday School  and youth and family ministry need energetic development. Apportionments paid at Evangel campus. Many community-oriented ministries, including new emphasis on outreach to young adults and excellence in worship or at the church. Theologically, the congregation is largely Wesleyan and Evangelical. Strengths:  Gifted lay leadership and staff. Large and well-maintained facilities with recent sanctuary remodeling at Evangel and other improvements. Challenges:  To develop unified vision and mission plan, consistent and effective signature outreach, evangelism to younger families and young adults, and discipling ministries for all ages. Requires outstanding competence for lead pastor as spiritual leader, vision-based organizer/administrator, and communicator/teacher/preacher.  

Southern Prairie District – Fred Vanderwerf, District Superintendent

Springfield: Springfield UMC (full-time appointment)

Pastor David Price is retiring on June 30, 2016 after serving Springfield UMC since 2010. Springfield is located in the geographic center of the Southern Prairie district. It is a mostly white rural farming community with a population of 2,300. The community offers an excellent school system, a fitness center, golf and disc golf course, community theatre, walking and biking paths, an outstanding community center and is known for its Outdoor Nativity Pageant (30 years). The church is a warm, largely evangelical congregation with strong families and a good balance of male and female involvement. Membership is 130, an AWA of 70, and 25 children registered for Sunday School. One weekly worship on Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 containing blended music, PowerPoint, often using worship DVDs for contemporary music. The church has had momentum in becoming known in their community in the past few years by engaging in outreach to the fire department, first responders and police, and building a partnership with the school, sponsoring school assemblies and family faith events. Recently the pastor has led them through a DMin-guided project similar to missional journey and they have set goals surrounding worship revitalization, children’s ministries, and small group leadership and wants to continue to move towards more strategic planning. The preferred pastor will bring depth to biblical preaching and teaching, be a catalyst for new ideas, engage the church in missional outreach, be proficient in social media, and enjoy children and youth. The church provides a parsonage and a 277K endowment for new ministries. 

Pipestone: Peace UMC (1/2 to full-time appointment)

Pastor Jon Schultz is moving out of local parish ministry on June 30th after serving Pipestone Peace since 2013. Pipestone, population 4317, is located along the South Dakota border, 50 minutes northeast of Sioux Falls. It is the county seat, home of the Pipestone National Monument located at the center of the pipestone quarries used for Native American pipe making. Peace UMC membership is 243, with an AWA of 55. The congregation is known in the community for an election night turkey supper, Christmas musical, Shepherd’s Robe clothing ministry, and has an open facility policy for Head Start, Cub, Boy, and Girls Scouts. Sunday worship is held at 10:30 a.m., blended in style with live music by an active praise band. Sunday school is offered at 9:15. The congregation is theologically diverse. Peace Church finds itself at a very critical moment in its life and is considering some bold moves to the future. The right pastoral fit in July will largely depend on the direction they choose in coming months. Parsonage located next to the church. They have a 114K endowment to consider for faithful paths forward.

Windom: First UMC (full-time appointment)

Pastor Arthur Miller is retiring after serving First UMC for 15 years. Windom is a county seat and has a population of 4,350. Windom is experiencing positive economic growth and some change in ethnic makeup (though not as significant as neighboring communities). Windom offers a Business Arts and Recreational Center, Concert Series, Library, Community Center, an Arena (for skating, hockey, racquetball, horse shows, county fair and more), 2 fitness centers, and area lakes for fun and recreation. First UMC has 145 in AWA and a membership of 253, with an active Sunday School for all ages. The congregation is multi-generational, fairly conservative theologically, and has extensive engagement in mission, including sponsoring children through Hope 4 Kids, hosting a local Busy Bee Preschool, supporting the local food shelf, and drilling 6 wells in Africa. First UMC currently worships by offering a 10:00am time of praise led by an excellent praise band, followed by a blended time of worship that begins at 10:30 including PowerPoint. They are especially known in their community for McPrayer ministry– an early-morning prayer time before Friday class held at the local McDonalds and attended by youth from all denominations. First UMC commits to a robust support staff, including a full-time administrative assistant, and very part-time positions for Christian Ed and Youth ministries. They have an active Rethink Church Team committed to visioning and strategic planning. The church building is a very large, pleasant, and contemporary sanctuary with exceptional organ, two classroom wings, a hospitable fellowship hall and kitchen. The parsonage was built in 1969 and all properties are well maintained. The congregation is looking for a pastor who can provide biblical preaching with a relevant message, assist them with developing small groups for spiritual formation, engage all for ministry, and who will be visible in the community and lead them to reach outward. They maintain a 120K endowment by directing its interest to missions and building projects.

Twin Cities District – Dan Johnson, District Superintendent

Crystal: Brunswick UMC (full-time appointment)

Lead Pastor Bart Fletcher is relocating with his family and seeking appointment within the Virginia Annual Conference. An interim pastor will provide leadership for Brunswick beginning in January 2016 until an appointment can be set on or before July 1, 2016. Brunswick serves a progressively diversifying first-ring suburban community with about one-third of the population comprised of people of color. Reported membership is 396 with average worship attendance of 159. They currently have two weekly worship options, one blended service on Sunday morning and a contemporary service on Wednesday evening. Brunswick is in the midst of implementation of their Healthy Church Initiative recommendations and is living into a staffing and governance model built around five core processes of invite, connect, disciple, send and support. The vision to which they aspire is “to be faithful believers, not just church goers. We envision the day when Brunswick is a hub for community life and offers Christ to all people, here and in new places.” They seek energetic, dynamic, insightful and optimistic pastoral leadership that will build teams committed and equipped for growth.

Presently there are clear opens in all 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.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058