Clear Opens

December 4, 2018

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 4, 2018.
Presently there are clear opens in all the 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 ask the DS.
Thank you, and we ask that you keep us in your prayers as we begin the discernment in appointment-making very soon!

Bruce R. Ough
Resident Bishop of Dakotas-Minnesota Area

Northeast District, Dakotas – Randy Cross, District Superintendent

Drayton/St. Thomas/Humboldt/Pembina
This four-point charge covers basically the upper valley of North Dakota. This unusual ¾-time appointment does provide housing, either in the senior living community if age is appropriate, or in an apartment. Four points does not mean four times preaching per Sunday; very qualified and competent lay speakers means that the pastor preaches twice/Sunday, and rotates in the month. The laity of the churches are wonderful, warm and committed persons, who believe in fulfilling the call to reach out to their communities. Interestingly, the churches are some of the oldest in the entire area, over 150 years old or more. The members are very relational and hope that their pastor would also share that trait, in visiting and engaging in the community activities and the church membership. The headquarters for the parish is in Drayton, approximately 50 miles straight north of Grand Forks.
Milbank Parkview/Big Stone City/Ortonville, MN
This three-point charge that includes churches in both South Dakota and Minnesota is a ¾- time appointment with no parsonage. The churches are small membership and have had to deal with diminishing resources over the past number of years. Still, the commitment and vision of the churches are strong and the members are faithful. As with any three-point charge, Sunday mornings require the pastor to be flexible and a good time-heeder. They are currently served by a retired local pastor who has done a very commendable job in encouraging their faith and outreach. The pastor currently resides in Milbank in her own residence.
Northwest District, Dakotas – Kermit Culver, District Superintendent

Prairie Winds UMC, Dickinson, ND
Prairie Winds UMC, (a recent name change), just this fall moved into a brand new facility on the northern edge of Dickinson, directly across the street from a brand new Middle School. This church continues to position itself to reach its community through children and youth ministry programs. The church currently offers contemporary and traditional worship services. The potential here is virtually unlimited, and these dedicated folks are ready to be led to do whatever is necessary to reach their community. Dickinson is a growing city of 18,000 on I-94, in the heart of Bakken Oil country, with an average age of 35 and a vibrant University. Dickinson is 20 miles from the beautiful Badlands and Medora, the tourist destination of North Dakota.
Southeast District, Dakotas – Roger Spahr, District Superintendent

Brookings First UMC – Lead Pastor
Brookings First is a congregation averaging approximately 400 in worship, with both traditional and contemporary worship services. With a good-sized staff and excellent facilities in the heart of Brookings, it is the only United Methodist presence in a city of 24,000, with another 10,000 attending SDSU. The church has a newer multi-purpose building that has various outreach ministries and care ministries to the community.  Located along I-29 in a thriving community, it has great potential to grow and multiply.
Doland UMC
Doland UMC is presently a single-point charge in a community of 180, 60 miles SE of Aberdeen. This is a ¼-time position in a congregation worshipping 25. If you would like to pastor in the home town of Hubert H Humphrey with a wonderful church family, this is it!
Southwest District, Dakotas – Kevin Kloster, District Superintendent

Belle Fourche UMC
This is a full-time appointment, with a parsonage, in Belle Fourche SD. Belle Fourche is located in the northern hills of the Black Hills in western SD. The population is 6,000. Belle Fourche is a ranching community with real cowboys and cowgirls! The church worship around 50 people. The church does have part-time office staff. It has been in decline for several years. It’s an older congregation that wants to change to reach new and younger people but haven’t quite figured out how to make that happen. They need a pastor who cast vision, rally people, and grow the congregation.
Eureka UMC
This is a full-time appointment, with a parsonage, in Eureka, SD. Eureka is located in north central South Dakota and has a population of 868. Eureka has a beautiful lake and park area which are used for recreation, fishing, swimming, camping, and boating. Eureka has numerous sporting opportunities, including hunting and an all-weather track complex that is open to the public for exercising. Eureka is the birth place of Al Neuharth, the founder of USA today.  Eureka’s population consists mostly of German-Russian decent. This church has strong lay leadership, a vibrant youth ministry, and paid office staff. They average around 100 in worship. The people here are politically and theologically conservative. There is a strong emphasis on biblical preaching. The nearest urban area is Aberdeen, SD which less than an hour away. They have been served by retired pastor and are eager for a pastor who can both love them and lead them forward in ministry.
Faulkton UMC
This is a full-time appointment, with parsonage, in Faulkton, SD. Faulkton is located in north central South Dakota with a population of 736. Faulkton has a beautiful lake nearby and is near great hunting. It’s primarily a ranch and farming community.  It is near Aberdeen, SD. The congregation averages around 100 in worship. It has strong lay leadership and a great youth ministry program. It is currently served by two retired pastors. This church is full of amazing, dedicated people who are incredibly friendly. It’s a phenomenal congregation! They are looking for pastor who likes to work with youth, be involved in community activities, and can lead worship well.
Pierre First UMC
This is a full-time senior level appointment, with a parsonage, in Pierre, SD. Pierre is the capitol of South Dakota, centered in the middle of SD, with a population of 14,000 people. It is located on the Missouri river which is a fisherperson’s paradise. The church is an anchor congregation in central SD, worshipping 250 with strong lay leadership, choir, handbells, youth ministry, and a mission focus. It’s a downtown church with paid office staff, an Executive Director who oversees the administrative functions of the church. The Senior Pastor would have oversight of all staff, preaching, visioning, and spiritual care responsibilities. Many of the lay leadership are active at conference and district levels. This church is theologically moderate. They need a pastor who can boldly cast vision for the future, lead the congregation to a new contemporary style worship, and move out into the community. 
Big Waters District, Minnesota – Susan Nienaber, District Superintendent

Asbury UMC – Duluth, MN (AWA 100)
Asbury UMC traces its beginnings back to May 1856 when Rev. James Peet paddled his canoe across the bay from Superior, WI to Oneota in West Duluth.  Through the years, several congregations have come together including Asbury Methodist Episcopal, Bethany and Central Avenue to form Asbury UMC. The church is located in an established residential neighborhood in West Duluth. Visitors and new members describe Asbury as a warm, welcoming and inclusive congregation that provides spiritual support to all who enter. Asbury has a dedicated and faithful Sunday School program (17 children/youth) with leaders who cherish the children. The congregation has committed lay leadership at all levels providing faithful ministry. There is a healthy music program and the congregation is open to being challenged with new opportunities. Asbury desires a pastor who will be in ministry alongside congregants, will nurture the strengths of the congregation and provide a vision for new possibilities for service, growth and inclusion. The church has a strong presence in West Duluth and is host to several community outreach events including fall pantry, meatball dinners, monthly food distribution and Neighborhood Night Out each August. Many other community groups meet at Asbury including Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, weekly yoga class, Bone Builders and Spirit Valley Fellowship Club. Duluth is a wonderful city with numerous cultural opportunities, excellent outdoor recreation, many local restaurants and of course, beautiful Lake Superior.  The area also has two universities, two colleges and several community colleges.
Northwood UMC – Esko (Duluth Area) (AWA 42)
Northwood is a small town church serving Esko, Cloquet, and Carlton, MN. The population within a five-mile radius of Esko is 14,183, which reflects a 2% growth in the last 7 years, and is projected to grow by 3.2% in the next 5 years. Current average annual household income is $66,000. Northwood UMC hosts a Boy Scout troop and a community dance class. There are several young families with about a dozen children in worship. They have a talented musician, are open to changes in worship and are strong in adult formation. They enjoy interacting with the other UMC churches in the area. Downtown Duluth is a 20-minute drive on the expressway and has numerous cultural opportunities, excellent outdoor recreation such as parks, golf courses, Spirit Mountain Ski Resort, beautiful Lake Superior, hiking and biking trails, a mall and healthy downtown businesses and restaurants. The area also has two universities, two colleges, and several community colleges. Esko’s school is rated highly in Minnesota. Northwood is hoping for a pastor who recognizes and respects the committed lay leadership while also being open to new ideas, and who preaches inspiring sermons that make the scriptures relevant to life today. This church is currently part of a two-point charge with Norton Park UMC.
Norton Park UMC – Duluth (AWA 45)
Norton Park is a small church serving the Norton Park neighborhood in Duluth, MN. The population within a five-mile radius of Norton Park is 34,506, which has remained stable in the last 7 years, and is projected to grow slowly in the next 5 years. Norton Park UMC boasts a strong connection with the Norton Park Community Center and Spirit Mountain Ski Resort and sponsors events like the Garden Tour, a Wassail Bowl, and Neighborhood Night Out which attracts members of the community. Duluth has numerous cultural opportunities, excellent outdoor recreation such as parks, golf courses, Spirit Mountain, beautiful Lake Superior, hiking and biking trails, a mall and healthy downtown businesses and restaurants. The area also has two universities, two colleges, and several community colleges. Norton Park has a strong Sunday School program which is attracting children and is also hoping for a pastor who recognizes and respects the committed lay leadership and who preaches inspiring sermons that make the scriptures relevant to life today. This church is currently part of a two-point charge with Northwood UMC in Esko.
Osseo United Methodist Church – Osseo, MN (AWA end of 2017 - 122)
Osseo UMC is located in the northwestern Twin Cities suburb of Osseo, MN. Situated in the midst of burgeoning cities such as Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park and Champlin, Osseo has managed to retain its unique small-town feel. Here you can still find family-owned businesses ranging from supermarkets to bistros and yet, there is easy access to major freeways, shopping areas, educational opportunities, recreational areas and housing. OUMC has been serving the area since 1922. Currently, the church has 367 members and is undergoing a period of rebirth with the addition of more cultural & ethnically diverse members. The Philadelphia House of God, a Liberian church is currently utilizing their sanctuary for their weekly services. The church is most well known in the community for Vacation Bible School, annual garage sale, assisting the community via the Emergency Fund and most recently, Movie Night on the first Friday of the month. The worship style is traditional but the newly hired Youth Director will be focusing on connecting with the youth through more contemporary music, mission trips & fellowship. This congregation offers ways to grow spiritually through the Women’s Retreat, Men’s Weekly Bible Study, UMW Circles, Men’s 7:40 am Saturday Study Group, quilting group and Senior Fellowship-MAPLE (Mature Adult Potluck Lunch Events). OUMC is currently served by an interim senior pastor.
Park UMC – Brainerd, MN (AWA end of 2017 - 141)
The Brainerd/Baxter lakes area is one of the premier recreational areas in Minnesota. There are hundreds of lakes, resorts and golf courses plus many other outdoor opportunities such as trails for biking and hiking. Park UMC is set in an older Brainerd neighborhood. However, it is across the street from a major city park and two blocks from the main thoroughfare. The population of this area is approximately 91,000. The Brainerd/Baxter public school system is excellent and there is a community college. It is the regional retail hub for the area. Park UMC is an aging congregation with a small core of young families. They have participated in the Healthy Church Initiative in recent years. Park UMC is in need of leadership that is open to new forms of ministry. The next pastor will need to work with other staff and lay leaders to provide worship that is engaging for all ages, broaden lay involvement in new initiatives, expand financial stewardship and develop a strong youth program. There are many sincere and faithful participants eager for a unifying sense of mission and direction. The current administrative structure consists of a twelve member leadership council. In addition, there is a family ministries council and a small nominating team. Christian education consists of Sunday children’s church and Wednesday evening programming. On staff there is a full-time Director of Discipleship and Missions and an administrative assistant both of whom are excellent.
North Star District, Minnesota – Mark Miller, District Superintendent

Grey Eagle/Long Prairie: Peace United
Grey Eagle UMC is a vibrant congregation in a lake area 40 miles NW of St. Cloud.  Average worship is 65.  There is a good mix of ages, with a ten year old building, and half of the current attenders were not a part of the church ten years ago.  Peace United is a combined UMC/UCC church in the city of Long Prairie.  They have recently completed the Choosing the Faithful Path study to help launch them into the future. Average worship is 35. Currently these churches are served by an interim after their pastor of ten years was reappointed in August.  Full-time with parsonage.
Herman is town of 435 in western Minnesota.  The church is known for its dinners, ministry in the community and it’s heart for missions.  Average worship is 35.  Present pastor is retiring and serves part-time.  Churches hopes to reach new people with the help of a new pastor. There is a parsonage.
Ortonville: First, Big Stone SD: Tabor, Milbank SD: Parkview
See Northeast District, Dakotas Annual Conference.
These are two smaller communities in a lakes area.  Ottertail is in a 12 year old building.  Mostly an older congregation with average worship of 60. Richville is currently replacing their sanctuary.  Richville has an extensive clothes shelf ministry that involves volunteers from around the area and serves hundreds of persons yearly. Richville has also begun worship and family ministry on Wednesday evening.  Average worship is 45. Pastor is retiring after serving here 20 years. Part-time.  No parsonage.
Spicer: Cross Roads Community UMC
Cross Roads is a 26 year old congregation not far from Spicer and Willmar.  Average worship is 76 and the church has a good mix of ages. Worship is also a mix of traditional and contemporary with a praise group. The present pastor has served here for six years and is retiring. The church now needs a pastor to help them to reach out and step into the next phase of their ministry. Full-time. Housing allowance.
River Valley District, Minnesota – Cynthia Williams, District Superintendent

Maple Leaf Parish: Spring Valley: Faith UMC (AWA – 98), Cherry Grove (AWA – 45)  (Full-time appointment)

Spring Valley (population 2,800) is located on the western edge of Southeast Minnesota in Fillmore County where the prairies meet the bluffs, creating a diverse natural environment. Located on two major Highways, 63 & 16, the town is 30 minutes from either Austin or Rochester. Cherry Grove (population 65) is an unincorporated community in Fillmore County located 12 miles southeast of Spring Valley. These two churches, along with Fountain UMC in Fountain, comprise the Maple Leaf Parish. This full-time appointment serves as Lead Pastor over the parish. There is a pastor appointed to serve Fountain who also serves as an associate pastor appointed to Faith UMC and Cherry Grove. Faith UMC has an active Sunday School and music ministry with a heart for community outreach. It is known for its Food for Kidz backpack ministry. Cherry Grove is a vibrant, small congregation that is known for its Cowboy Church. Sponsored by the Maple Leaf Parish, Cowboy Church is a monthly, evening worship service featuring country, bluegrass and country gospel music. This service draws a large following throughout the county. Presently there is an interim lead pastor appointed to guide the parish churches in reflecting on their past, present and future with an eye toward defining each church’s unique identity and strength to position them to grow in relational outreach and reach the next generation.
Southern Prairie District, Minnesota – Fred Vanderwerf, District Superintendent

Austin: First UMC
Austin, the county seat of Mower County, is located on I-90 and 15 miles from I-35, in southeast MN with nearly 25,000 in pop. Boasting an unemployment rate below the state average, the main employers are Hormel Foods, Quality Pork, Mayo Health Systems and Austin Public Schools. The community is somewhat diverse, including Caucasian, Hispanic, Somalian and Karin. A new community concierge program helps with welcoming and integrating newcomers. The schools are a source of pride and the local community college, Riverland Community College, and the U of M, Winona are working together to provide a cooperative means of earning a degree and advancing education. Austin offers an amazing amount of community services and resources of a town this size. The community has a number of parks, and a new recreation center is being built. First UMC is 162 years old, located in a beautiful building, and has 367 members and average service attendance of 122. Sunday School and a Wednesday evening learning opportunity are offered. The church provides outstanding music programs, youth and activities and adult mission work opportunities. Worship is mainly traditional with a praise service once a month. Currently the appointment is full-time with housing allowance (parsonage is being considered). The right missional leader will be open to a transformational process like HCI to assist a motivated leadership towards strategic vision moving forward. 
Hutchinson: Bethlehem UMC
Hutchinson is the largest city in McLeod County, Minnesota, and is located along the South Fork of the Crow River, about 55 miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Very nicely located at the intersection of US Hwy 7 & 15. The population was 14,178 at the 2010 census (99% urban, 1% rural), and the median resident age is 37.3 years. There are many restaurants and shopping options, a strong and growing school system, parks, trails, lakes, movie theater, public ice arena and new aquatic center. Bethlehem averages around 95 in worship each Sunday and is currently experimenting with 2 services – 9 a.m. modern style with children’s breakout time, and a 10:30 a.m. traditional style. The church has been served by interim clergy since July 1 of 2018 to help the congregation leverage their HCI recommendations from 2013 (including some space renovations), and to begin to better position themselves to move forward with a clear sense of purpose, vision, and missional drive to Reach New People, Love God and Neighbor, and Heal a Broken World. This congregation is in a prime position to grow. The appointment is listed at full-time with a parsonage.
Le Center UMC
Le Center is located about 25 miles northeast of Mankato and 60 miles South of Minneapolis. It is a rural community of 2,499 and the church currently has a very modest and aging congregation of 78 members and less than 20 average worship attendance. Currently the congregation is in a discernment period and considering becoming a network church to a larger congregation. Such a decision would mean an interest in a leader for hospitality and outreach, with Sunday morning preaching being video streamed from the larger church partnership. Potentially a ¼-appointed leader with parsonage, if needed. All creative options being considered.
New Ulm: Oakwood UMC
This city of 13,522 is the County Seat of Brown County and is perhaps known primarily for its rich German heritage. Quaint B&B’s, cultural cuisine, historic city center, parks, ice arena, hunting, fishing, biking, and the August Schell’s Brewing Company are just a few things that make this a charming city. Oakwood UMC (with its EUB background) is one of two UM congregations in the community, located on the hill just beyond the Hermann Monument. The congregation currently worships around 75 and has prided itself with family friendliness and a church-school partnership. Oakwood had a difficult year with financial implications, and so over the next few months the congregation is in discernment toward moving from a full-time to a less than full-time clergy appointment – ½ to ¾.  Oakwood has a beautiful and recently updated parsonage with a large yard located across the parking lot from the church. 
North Mankato: Belgrade Ave UMC
Located in the growing community of North Mankato (pop. 13,394).  A sister city to Mankato, it boasts a combined population of 54,000 and a diverse socio-economic ranking.  Belgrade Ave UMC has been actively working to restructure and re-envision itself. Having recommitted itself to its strong gospel roots, a large percentage of the church are actively involved in Bible study on a weekly basis and they appreciate strong Biblical preaching. Belgrade Ave has a very active missions team who have lead the church into their community by hosting a second harvest food distribution monthly and serving meals at the Salvation army. The church hosts AA, NA, Al-Non, & Boy Scouts.  Having struggled to be current and inviting (in style) to younger families, they have begun a weekly family focused Wednesday with supper, worship, and bible teaching for all ages which has been embraced by the leadership and seen growth and excitement. The youth are beginning to build as a cohesive team. Belgrade Ave lives in the tension of honoring the large number of senior congregants and yet continuing to move forward to be inviting to the new young families and the neighborhood directly around the church. A strong staff. Building upgrades in process. Appointment is full-time with housing allowance.
Twin Cities District, Minnesota – Dan Johnson, District Superintendent

Eden Prairie UMC – Eden Prairie, MN (AWA 189)
Eden Prairie UMC is located on the southwestern edge of the Twin Cities District, in a growing second ring suburb. The church averages 189 in a single Sunday worship service and 36 in Sunday School, with 458 members. They embrace their identity as a congregation that is “big enough to make a difference and small enough to care.” As an early pioneer of the Healthy Church Initiative, Eden Prairie UMC has experienced turnaround growth in recent years in participation numbers, discipleship depth and congregational vitality. A strong commitment to outreach and integration of young families is bearing fruit. Leaders describe their congregation as “spirited, caring, progressive and intergenerational.” Their current pastor is retiring. Lay leadership is strong and committed. They seek a pastor who is open and welcoming, empowers lay leadership, supports family ministries and continues their congregational momentum. Reconciling congregation. Fulltime. Housing allowance.
Good Samaritan UMC – Edina, MN (AWA 253)
Good Samaritan UMC is a regional church in the first ring southwest Minneapolis suburb of Edina. The church has 735 members and averages 53 in Sunday School and 253 in worship, just recently centering in a single weekly worship service. They are living into their name of being “good Samaritans” with a commitment to their vision of “inspiring joyful faith; building loving community; and serving neighbors near and far.” Leaders describe their congregation with the core values of “joyful faith, deliberate inclusion, intentional questioning, compassionate care and transformational outreach.” The church’s participation metrics have declined over the past decade, but leadership capacity remains high as well as the potential of the mission field. In the past year, they experienced transition of their lead pastor and two interims. They seek a new lead pastor with demonstrated skill in preaching and worship leadership, staff supervision and development and strategic thinking and change management. Reconciling congregation. Fulltime. Housing allowance.
Silver Lake UMC – Oakdale, MN (AWA 58)
Silver Lake UMC is located in the St. Paul suburb of Oakdale on the northeastern edge of the Twin Cities District. The church averages 58 in a single Sunday worship service and 6 in Sunday School with 154 members. Leaders are committed to developing Christian faith in contemporary ways and encouraging each other to become involved in making the world more loving and just. The congregation’s identity is rooted in the values of “celebration, spirituality, community and service.” A unique signature ministry of the congregation is a fifth Sunday of the month service of healing including anointing and intercessory prayer. Their long-term pastor is retiring and they seek culturally competent leadership that will embrace their existing faith community, yet reengage them with their increasingly diverse geographic community that was central to their calling as a new church start less than three decades ago. Progressive. Part-time. Housing Allowance. 
Walker Community UMC – Minneapolis, MN (AWA 68)
Walker UMC is located in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of South Minneapolis. The church averages 68 in a single Sunday worship service and 15 in Sunday School with 116 members. Their mission is to “nurture spirituality, build caring community and work courageously for peace with justice and mercy.” The church embodies its name as a community church, hosting and participating in many community functions. Socially and theologically, they also reflect the diversity of their community and strive to be a place where people from a broad range of faith perspectives can walk together on a spiritual journey of both personal meaning and societal impact. Their long-term pastor will retire and they seek progressive and creative pastoral leadership, passionate about urban ministry, who will also help them discern and navigate a new phase of their life cycle. Reconciling and Altars for All congregation. Part-time. Housing Allowance.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058