December 15, 2022
As the bishops providing episcopal leadership for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, we and the Dakotas and Minnesota Appointive Cabinets 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. In appointment making, each Cabinet, through prayerful discernment, seeks to hold in balance the demonstrated gifts, graces and life-situations of available pastors with the missional needs of local churches and their communities.
As part of our consultation process in appointment-making, we are again this year inviting clergy to indicate their interest in those churches which we presently know to be open as of Dec. 15, 2022. If additional clear opens become known, a second notification will be sent after the first of the year.
Presently there are clear opens in eight of the nine districts in the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences. The clear-open churches in both conferences are listed below. The appointive cabinets will use the information from your interest as part of our process of appointment-making.
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/or ask the DS.
In addition to the churches listed below, we are in a season of exploring new models of ministry and need persons both inside and outside of our annual conferences to partner with us. In particular, we are looking for entrepreneurial individuals interested in planting new ministries and churches as well as pastors who feel called to serve network churches (worship online or through live-streaming in partnership with another church).
Please let us know if you are interested and forward this list of clear opens and other opportunities to those you know who are feeling called to partner with us in our disciple-making mission in the Dakotas-Minnesota Area.
Thank you, and we ask that you keep us in your prayers as the Dakotas and Minnesota cabinets begin our appointment-making season.
Grace and Peace,
Deborah L. Kiesey and David A. Bard
Bishops for Dakotas-Minnesota Area
NORTHEAST DISTRICT, DAKOTAS – Kris Mutzenberger, DS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Holmes UMC/Sharon ELCA/Beaver Creek ELCA – Fulltime with parsonage
These ND churches have been working together for multiple years. Worship is led at the UMC weekly and alternates at the other 2 locations. Both the Holmes and Beaver Creek Churches are located in the country while Sharon is located in that small community. The parsonage is in the county next to Holmes UMC in rural Reynolds, ND, and is less than 40 minutes from Grand Forks, ND. The UMC congregation at Holmes has an outdoor live nativity presentation every year at a local farm and is involved in mission projects throughout the year. Average parish weekly worship attendance is around 40 and there is a Sunday School program at Beaver Creek.
This past year this parish has been served via pulpit supply by UMC pastors, ELCA pastors and lay speakers. A relational pastor who enjoys involvement in small communities, visitation and is a good preacher would be an excellent fit for this appointment.
Evergreen UMC in Wahpeton – Fulltime with parsonage
This single point charge located in the community of Wahpeton, ND, has a huge heart for mission. They open their chapel building to various recovery groups, do monthly mission projects and many of its members are also active in community service organizations. They average around 75 in in-person worship and around 50 online. There are also multiple small groups operating for study and service. There is a full-time secretary employed by the church as well as part-time custodial staff.
Wahpeton is a city in southeast North Dakota along the Bois de Sioux River at its confluence with the Otter Tail River, which forms the Red River of the North. Wahpeton is the county seat of Richland County. The community of Wahpeton is home to just under 8,000 residents and contains all the essential services. Wahpeton is also located 1 hour from the Fargo-Moorhead Metro area. Wahpeton is home to the Chahinkapa Zoo, North Dakota State College of Science, Red Door Art Gallery, and much more!
North Highland UMC in Aberdeen – Fulltime with parsonage
North Highland United Methodist Church is an inclusive 40 year old congregation located in Aberdeen, SD. The building is mainly one-level and has a new roof. The congregation does some significant community mission outreach, especially with their winter coat give-away. They have a small Sunday school, 2 youth groups, and worship on average 40 people in person and 25 persons online. The congregation enjoys comfortable, casual, traditional worship. Since the pandemic they have struggled with reengagement, however the community of Aberdeen holds tons of potential for reaching new disciples. The main floor of the parsonage has recently been renovated with new kitchen, bath and laundry.
As the third largest city in the State of South Dakota with a population of 28,000, Aberdeen offers the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger city. Aberdeen’s strong community spirit, high-performing schools and colleges, family friendly recreation, and vibrant economy continue to attract visitors, residents, and business to our city. Brown County is also one of the most productive agricultural counties in South Dakota.
NORTHWEST DISTRICT, DAKOTAS – Joel Winckler, DS (email@example.com)
Cando/Rolla/Rock Lake UMCs – Fulltime with parsonage located in Cando
AWA – 40 between the three congregations.
These three rural communities are thirty miles northwest of Devils Lake, ND in north-central North Dakota. They are near the Turtle Mountain region where winter adventure and prime hunting are available. Devils Lake is also nearby for nationally acclaimed year-round fishing. The communities of Rolla and Cando have vital small-town hospitals. Towner County Medical Center in Cando recently began construction on a multi-million-dollar, 76,000 square foot state of the art medical facility. This will be a combined 45 bed hospital and nursing home. The recently updated parsonage for the parish is located in Cando. A committed pastor will have opportunities to help these congregations minister to children and youth, especially in Cando and Rolla where schools and families are located.
SOUTHEAST DISTRICT, DAKOTAS – Rebecca Trefz, DS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Broadland – 1/4 time
Broadland United Methodist Church is located 15 miles northwest of Huron, SD. This rural congregation has faithful lay leadership that are committed to continuing their ministry in central South Dakota. They are currently served by a preaching team since the retirement of their previous pastor in July 2022. However, they would welcome a permanent pastoral leader or team leader to provide guidance, care and support for fellowship and mission events.
Wagner/Tyndall UMCs – Fulltime with parsonage located in Wagner
Tyndall and Wagner are located 30 and 55 miles, respectively, west of Yankton, SD. Wagner, population 1500, is also 12 miles from Fort Randall Dam (on the Missouri River) which offers great fishing, hunting, boating and camping opportunities. It is a hub city with excellent school and health care systems that draws shoppers and workers from a large radius. Tyndall has a population of just over 1000 and, as the county seat, provides many services and unique businesses amidst small town living. These two congregations currently have an interim pastor who is doing a great job equipping and empowering the congregation members and preparing them for their next full-time pastor. They enjoy serving the community and have solid children and youth ministries that they hope to see continue to flourish. Practical, hopeful discipleship, ability to equip others, and community involvement are high on the priority list for pastoral leadership needs.
North Sioux City ARK – 1/2 time, Embrace Network
The ARK Church (Acts of Random Kindness) is a small congregation (30-40 AWA) with a strong DNA for experimentation and innovation since their inception. They are a part of the Embrace Network and currently hold their worship on Sunday evenings in the “Dinner Church” model. Their signature ministries include the Kids Free shopping spree that allows area kids to sign up to “shop” for gifts (donated items) for their family, a food backpack program that they started that provides food packs once/month for 150 kids in the Dakota Valley School district, and other acts of random kindness to bless the community. Being less-than-full-time and having the preaching provided by Embrace, the church is open to exploring creative models for pastoral leadership including, but not limited to, deacons or youth/community outreach ministers.
Parker UMC – 1/2 time, possibly yoked with another congregation to make a full-time appt, parsonage available if needed
Located 25 miles southwest of Sioux Falls, Parker is a growing bedroom community with a population of 1200. The community boasts community-friendly amenities such as a newer library, public swimming pool, full grocery store/pharmacy, and medical clinic. The United Methodist Church is located across the street from the school making it ideal for partnering with the growing number of families. The congregation is multi-generational and a successful pastor would be comfortable with all ages and also value small-town life. They value ecumenical partnerships in the community, traditional and contemporary elements of worship, and activities/events that reach and serve the community. A parsonage is available but they would also consider a commuter pastor.
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT, DAKOTAS – Dan Bader, DS (email@example.com)
Wall/Wasta UMCs – Currently 1/2 time - entering conversations about going full time, with parsonage
Wall and Wasta are located 49 and 39 miles east of Rapid City, SD. These communities are nestled at the edge of the Badlands of South Dakota and within an hour of the beauty of the Black Hills. Wall, home to Wall Drug, is located on I-90 and is a hub for tourism, that is often referred to as the "Window to the West," or "Gateway to the Badlands". Wall is a community of 800 that provides many services and unique businesses that take advantage of the tourism. Wasta is a community of 65. Many of the members are either connected to land and agriculture as Ranchers or to Tourism. Wall has a wonderful school. Though these congregations are small they believe God is not done with them yet, so are entering the conversation to move to fulltime ministry. There are many opportunities to reach children and youth, to minister to seasonal tourism workers (many who come from other countries) and to engage in the community.
Rapid City First UMC – Fulltime with parsonage
AWA- 230 in person / 80 online
The Lead Pastor of Rapid City First UMC will work with several part-time staff that currently include: Praise Team Pastor, Christian Education, Mom's morning out Ministry & technology, Finance Administrator, Custodian, Choir Director, Organist / Pianist. First UMC is a downtown church that offers two Sunday worship experiences: a more contemporary or praise worship with praise team and a traditional service with choir and pipe organ. The church is very involved with mission outreach including the Hope Center and working with The Road, a new recovery ministry. Rapid City is South Dakota’s second largest community with a population of 74,350 that is rapidly growing as people love the services, beauty, diversity, recreational opportunities that the community and the Black Hills offer.
BIG WATERS DISTRICT, MINNESOTA
Blaine UMC – 1/2 time with housing allowance
Blaine (population 70,222) is a suburban community in Anoka county, located 12 miles north of downtown Minneapolis. For many years, Blaine has led the metro area in new construction which has led to dramatic population growth. The church is known for its community outreach and events including, “Nite 2 Unite,” VBS, Fall Craft Fair, Community Food Shelf and School Supplies Drive. Worship attendance averages 36. Blaine is currently served by an interim and is in need of an appointed pastor who is outward focused, able to engage all ages, build relationships and guide the congregation in experimenting with new, creative ways to reach new people.
Please contact Cynthia Williams for this appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Park UMC in Brainerd – Fulltime with parsonage
Brainerd MN (population 14,255) is located on Highway 210, approximately 2 ½ hours northwest of the Twin Cities. It is a beautiful area surrounded by lake country. Park UMC is known throughout the community for its Threads of Love Quilting Ministry, where many, many beautiful quilts are given to people in need in the community and as far away as Ukraine. Park UMC currently has AWA in person of approximately 70, and also live streams their worship. There is much potential for growth in Brainerd and the surrounding area. Park UMC is theologically diverse, but probably lands more centrist. This is a church that is welcoming to new people and is open to change that is more evolutionary than revolutionary.
Park UMC’s next best pastor would have strong preaching/worship leadership skills, good relational skills, able to balance generational ministry needs, and help this congregation strategize for their future.
Please contact Laurie Kantonen for this appointment (email@example.com)
Buffalo UMC – Fulltime with housing allowance
Buffalo, MN (population 18,042) is located on the Northwest edge of the Twin Cities metropolitan area – about 45 miles from downtown Minneapolis. Buffalo UMC is known for hosting a free Christmas Day dinner, holiday fruit baskets delivered to a local motel and low-income apartments as well as senior living centers, and ministries offered in the Methodist City Park adjacent to the church. Worship services are now streamed, and sanctuary technology has been updated. Pews were recently replaced with chairs, allowing for more flexible worship seating design. The recently remodeled park adjacent to the church has been a great connecting place for hosting invitational ministries. BUMC is welcoming, hospitable, and generous with great staff. Much of the congregational care is accomplished through the laity. They have a long commitment to local missions. The next best pastor will be: a) a strong worship leader - able to cooperate with others creatively in developing worship and effectively use technology in worship; b) committed to lead church in reclaiming missional engagement with surrounding communities and the world, with an emphasis on hands-on and multigenerational missions, c) resolved to vision for ministry development rather than maintenance ministry; d) flexible - this is a lay-driven, lay-oriented congregation and a pastor here must be willing to work in partnership with other people’s ideas and motivations.
Please contact Fred Vanderwerf for this appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
RIVER VALLEY DISTRICT, MINNESOTA – Michelle Hargrave, DS (email@example.com)
Brownsdale/Sargeant: Zion UMCs – 1/2 time with housing allowance
Brownsdale and Sargeant: Zion are currently a two-point charge. Brownsdale (population 676) is located in Red Rock Township in Mower County. Sargeant (population 61) is a village located 9 miles from Brownsdale and 33 miles from Rochester. Farming and agriculture-related business are central to the area. Brownsdale, due to cheaper housing, has a population who commutes to Austin and Rochester. Together the congregation averages 40-plus in worship, with approximately 20 - 25 in each. Both churches have a strong commitment to missional outreach including UMCOR support and providing community meals. The worship style is traditional with a strong appreciation for the preached word. A pastoral leader who is more theologically/socially Centrist, relational, committed to community involvement and visibility would do well in this setting.
Savage: Glendale UMC – Fulltime with housing allowance
Savage (population 32,465) is a suburban city 15 miles south-southwest of downtown Minneapolis in Scott County. The congregation has deep care for the neighborhood and world through hands-on mission and service. There is an openness to experimentation and an appreciation for vibrant, relevant blended worship. Glendale, like many post-Covid congregations must reengage in meaningful ways within and beyond the walls of the church. The congregation is a blend of progressive/centrist with an emphasis on full inclusion. Pastoral expectations include gifts in relationship building, excellence in communications, relevant preaching and creative worship design, experience in reaching young families and community outreach.
Caledonia/Hokah/South Ridge UMCs – Fulltime with parsonage
This three-point charge is located in Houston County, near LaCrosse, WI. Worship attendance in Caledonia (population 2,847) is 25 -30 with the potential to increase. Hokah (population 580) and South Ridge (unincorporated township) worship 20 or less. There are two lay speakers in the preaching rotation. Worship is generally “traditional” and the theology is predominantly “centrist”. Caledonia’s strengths include its ministry to children. Each church values its outreach and standing in their respective communities. Pastoral expectations include gifts in relatable preaching and teaching, relatability and a commitment to community outreach and service. It will also be important that the incoming pastor rebuild leadership teams, reengage the congregation and guide each church in claiming purpose and vision.
SOUTHERN PRAIRIE DISTRICT, MINNESOTA – Fred Vanderwerf, DS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Centenary UMC in Mankato – Fulltime with housing allowance
Mankato/North Mankato has a population of 103,000. Centenary has two signature ministries, each almost ten years old. Holy Grounds serves Centenary's neighbors a hot meal six days a week with a focus on hospitality and community. The Social Justice Theatre uses theatre to illuminate social justice, explore spiritual values and build community and generally produces two plays/year. The next leader will be strategic with excellent preaching skills, a heart for justice and the community, and the gift of administration. The congregation is grounded in Wesleyan discipleship and theology and loves to learn how scripture and faith in Christ are connected to our lives today. With over 20 new members in 2022, Centenary continues to invite new people. Strengthening onboarding and discipleship processes is ongoing work. Exploring potential collaborative partners for Holy Grounds and Social Justice Theatre presents new opportunities. Centenary became a Reconciling congregation in 2008 and values that witness within the UMC. It has focused on living into its vision statement (from 2014): As a joyfully inclusive community that champions revolutionary social justice, we change lives by putting ministry in the hands of the people. The values of the church are: Action, Compassion, Connection, Justice - all connected to Faith. Its draft mission statement (from 12.22) is Living Faith and Inclusion Boldly.
Faith UMC in Waseca – Fulltime with parsonage
Waseca (population 9241) is located in a predominately farm oriented area between Mankato (30 mins) and Owatonna (20 mins). It has strong schools with award winning programs in the arts and sports. The strengths of the congregation are a committed core, a sense of family among its membership, and a welcoming and inclusive posture towards newcomers. It’s been known for monthly food distribution, Faith Rocks, and strong support of local schools and the community. FUMC welcomes diversity of opinion and freedom of conscience in respect to the political and social issues of the day. Like many churches FUMC is faced with a declining and aging membership and financial viability, therefore a pastor who can both shepherd and love the current membership as well as bring a strategic entrepreneurial vision for the future would be beneficial. Ability to energize worship, strong interpersonal skills, and eagerness to invest in the greater community of Waseca a plus.
Springfield/Sanborn UMCs – Fulltime with parsonage
Springfield (pop. 2,015) is a city in Brown County, thirty miles straight west of New Ulm with some of the most productive farmland in MN. The church is known for Partners with Christ – which ministers to women, children, and families through outreach and events; a book giveaway to all elementary school children in Springfield and Comfrey at Christmas time; a commitment to ecumenical ministry – sharing worship, Bible study, and a community Thanksgiving dinner (free); support of local food shelves and a food voucher program; and Bible studies. The next leader will be community and ecumenically minded, consider new ways to kickstart children and youth ministries, have strong relational gifts and a heart for people, and challenge them with new vision. The church has a heart for local outreach and mission. Sanborn (pop. 339), is located 13 miles west of Springfield. The church is a small group, and its main ministries are a prayer mailbox and the support of an area food shelf. Both churches are caring, welcoming, loving, and classically orthodox in their beliefs.
Magnolia UMC – 1/4 to 1/2 time with no housing
Magnolia (pop. 222) is a small rural community six miles east of Luverne on I-90 in Rock County. The congregation is quite modest in size. Pre-pandemic they had some outreach to the area nursing home and VA but it has abated since. With around 20 to 25 in worship they are eager to learn and grow in faith, with ½ actively participating in bible study. A new pastor could help lead the congregation in exploring new ways of doing ministry in a small rural church. The membership is caring and eager to continue as a faith community but needs help discerning new expressions of how that could look in 2023. The DS is open to considering new charge alignments, hub church models, or creative networks with congregations nearby.
Wood Lake UMC – 1/4 to 1/2 time with parsonage
Wood Lake UMC is modest (AWA- 12) but mighty. It hosts a weekly women’s coffee time for the community, offers a free community wide picnic, and once a month they host a Christian Community Conversation for non-threatening life-giving conversation around relevant topics of interest. They value an outward posture to the community - helping out Wood Lake in whatever way they can. Wood Lake has an endowed piece of farmland which provides extra resources for ministry annually. The congregation is open to creative pastoral staffing models with area congregations, digital church, or shared leadership.
TWIN CITIES DISTRICT, MINNESOTA – Cynthia Williams, DS (email@example.com)
St. Paul: Camphor Memorial UMC – Fulltime with housing allowance
Camphor is located minutes from the State Capitol building, in a vibrant, diverse, multi-cultural urban area of St. Paul (population 307,000 plus). Camphor is a historically black congregation with deep roots in its Rondo community. The congregation is known for its hospitality, strong preaching and its ministries of outreach and community partnerships focused on community health and well-being, justice and equality and advocacy for marginalized people of color. The congregation is theologically diverse with a progressive social stance and theologically centrist. Prior to the pandemic, worship attendance averaged 200 plus. Presently, in person averages over 100 with approximately 70 plus virtually. Key pastoral needs include strong, relevant, biblical based preaching, intergenerational relatability, experience in strategic, organizational leadership with a focus on congregational engagement and nurture. Experience and a heart for community engagement and partnerships is also important.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404