Covenant Groups Clergy Profiles


Alan Bolte

I believe it is highly valuable for all clergy to be connected with other clergy. We can all learn from one another, give and receive encouragement and learn new ideas for ministry.

I am concluding my 30th year of serving United Methodist Churches. I have experienced being the Spiritual leader in churches as a lay person assigned, a Licensed Local Pastor, a Student Licensed Local Pastor and Ordained Deacon (old system) and Elder. I have served part-time appointments with a fulltime job, as a student living about 120 miles from the church as well as fulltime appointments. I served 8 years as the Northwest and then North Star District Superintendent and for 4 of those years also served 2 small churches. Currently I am serving the Grand Rapids UMC.

My group would be open to 3 or 4 more people. Our group would decide a focus at our initial gathering.

Karen Bruins

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.    Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) As clergy we know that ministry is hard, yet our temptation is to try and go it alone.  We were meant for community.  Clergy peer groups are safe places to share joys, process challenges, make new friends and grow in faith.  

I am finishing up a four year program in Spiritual Direction through St. Kate’s.  This work has helped shape me as a pastor and given me tools to facilitate conversations on matters of faith and life.  Spiritual Direction helps each person pay attention to the movement of the Spirit in their lives.  I currently serve Rosemount UMC.

Elements of group spiritual direction will be part of the clergy peer group that I’ve been asked to facilitate. I desire to lead a clergy peer group where differences in theology, life experience, age, and ministry settings add to the richness of the group.  This will be a new group and is open to all.

Dorie Hall

I am inspired to be a leader in this ministry as it targets a very specific group of people with unique gifts and abilities, needs and training in the area of licensed ministry.  Our Clergy Peer Group will focus on those who are involved in licensed ministry in the Southern Prairie District.  We will meet monthly, on the first Thursday of each month.  In addition to those things proposed by the Clergy Peer Group focus, we will also spend time in discussion about our educational process and other such things deemed necessary to continue our license.  Our group is characterized by trust, accountability, confidentiality and full of the love and guidance of God.  We are open to any licensed pastor or lay leader who fits in this area and criteria.

Woojae Im and Donna Dempewolf

We have a heart for vital, multi-cultural ministry, and are inspired by a vision of the "beloved community" — a community that includes all God's children, and where freedom, love, and justice reign. Drawing upon the wisdom of the participants and external resources, we envision a peer learning group that shares experiences and vital practices of multicultural ministry and cross-racial/cultural appointments. This is an open group; those serving in diverse settings are especially encouraged to consider joining. 

Woojae Im

Woojae is originally from Seoul, South Korea. He was ordained in the Korean Methodist Church, where he served for a number of years, before transferring his membership to the Minnesota Conference. He has served in two cross-racial/cultural appointments, including his current appointment at Osseo United Methodist Church. 




Donna Dempewolf

Donna is a Minnesotan who has lived and worked in the East Coast and in Europe. She has a heart for urban ministry, and currently serves at Living Spirit United Methodist Church -- a multicultural, multiethnic congregation in south Minneapolis. She researched vital practices of intercultural congregations for her D.Min. project thesis. Donna also co-chairs the Commission on Religion and Race along with Richard Webb, and is interested in exploring issues of racial justice.


Laurie Kantonen

I believe our clergy have much wisdom and when we share with one another, we and our churches, reap great benefit. 

I am currently serving Hubbard UMC.  I have been there for six years.  Previous to that I served two smaller churches - Finlayson UMC and Sandstone UCC.  I am personally committed to helping my churches bring the good news of the gospel to the people of their community.  And what really excites me about ministry is the possibility of seeing transformation in people’s lives.

Our group would decide a focus at our initial gathering. This will be a new group and is open to all.

Randy Koppen

There is a richness in Christian life meant to be shared. I yearn to share the peaks, valleys, and the even roads with other persons called to lead congregations in this time and place.

I will begin a new appointment at Redwood Falls UMC in June 2016. I’ve pastored a larger congregation, medium-sized congregations and smaller congregations since 1994. I enjoy using creativity in worship to tell the old, old story. I’m wrestling with how the church can be more agile in reaching people for Christ in the communities we are located.

This is a new open group and will determine a focus at our initial gathering. My leaning is toward experimenting with different ways to evangelize among those who would check “none” in terms of religious preference.

Elizabeth Macaulay

Engaging in ministry is a vulnerable and powerful undertaking. I seek a group of peers who are interested in growing soul through sharing community, ministry wisdom and appreciation of the power of transformation. The “what” of shared study and consideration will be determined by the interests and needs of the group.  This is a group designed to facilitate soul speak as well as organizational effectiveness. I serve at Christ UMC in Rochester.

Susan Nienaber

I am offering a clergy peer learning group on congregational conflict. I would love to do the Conflict Dynamics Profile together either the self-report or 360 version and then go into a case consultation format using a variety of experiential case consultation methods.  I will also provide individual feedback sessions for each person about their results. You do not need to be currently dealing with congregational conflict in order to participate. One common format includes some centering/scripture study, personal and professional check-ins, learning content about conflict, recovery and revitalization and learning how to use innovative and experiential case consultation methods.

Matt Sipe

I believe engaging in God's transforming work awakens us to new realities and sharing with Jesus in healing and reconciliation brings wholeness to our lives and communities. Clergy Peer Groups allow to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in moments of deep joy/pain; and participate with the Divine in making all things holy by surfing the waves of love and grace.

I'm serving the church in Delano and I've been there for 8 years. I'm married and have two elementary school children.

I lead the North West Metro Area Clergy Peer Learning Group which focuses on practical leadership ideas and potentials. The group is comprised of folks who have less than 10 years’ experience and have many years left in ministry. We gather to encourage and support one another in leading the United Methodist Church into the bright future we believe it has. We are open to new members, however probably only a couple more before we're full (we have 6-7 already). We meet on the last Wednesday of the month in Maple Grove.

Carol Zaagsma

Long ago, I imagined that I could be content in any kind of job setting - regardless of difficulty or challenge - as long as I liked my coworkers. While this sentiment surfaced before I was old enough for a job, the premise has remained. As I begin my tenth year serving in pastoral leadership, I realize the years of ministry that I felt most grounded and creative are the ones when I was in some sort of clergy peer group. I have experienced the power of shared wisdom of peers in such a setting, and am encouraged by the possibility of establishing a new small group of colleagues – a group of individuals who perhaps are not that familiar with one another, yet are willing to grow in skill and Spirit alongside each other for a time.

I graduated from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, was commissioned in 2007, and ordained an elder in 2010. I’ve been appointed to congregations in Saint Paul and Mankato, and am currently in Bloomington. This is my third career, I play trumpet, and am a middle child.

I would like to keep the focus open to discern as a group; but an area of focus I may personally offer for consideration is “preaching and leading for transformation.” This will be a new group and is open to all.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058