Embracing a call to ministry: Pam Cook

February 15, 2022
Pam Cook leads Peace United Church in Long Prairie as its lay pastor.

By: Christa Meland

Pam Cook grew up attending church, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she felt and answered a call to ministry. After marrying her high school sweetheart and working as a dental assistant, she returned to school to pursue a career in nursing while raising her three daughters. And while working as a supervisor of surgery and outpatient services, she was invited to be part of a medical mission trip to Singida, Tanzania to set up a hospital and provide medical services to a local tribe and village. It was a deeply meaningful experience and she knew without a doubt that God was with the team on their journey.
After Cook’s mother-in-law died, she experienced a “God moment” and felt called to leave the Lutheran church her family had been attending and try her husband’s home church—Communities of Faith Parish in Clarissa. Eventually her family transferred their membership to that congregation, and they’ve never looked back. Both Cook and her husband became deeply involved in the life of the church, and Cook spent lots of time learning about Methodism and John Wesley.
When Cook’s pastor, Rev. Kali Christensen, asked her to fill in on a couple of Sundays when Christensen would be out of town, Cook reluctantly agreed.

Pam Cook delivers a sermon.

“I was nervous but with God by my side, I gave it my all,” she said. Recognizing that Cook had a gift, Christensen encouraged her to consider becoming a certified lay minister, which Cook eventually did. Then last summer, Cook took her biggest step in faith yet when she agreed to serve Peace United Church in Long Prairie as its lay pastor following a retirement that left that church without a leader.
“My faith has grown, my knowledge has broadened…and I have learned to not just read the scriptures but study the scriptures more broadly and deeply,” she said, adding that what she enjoys most is building strong, trusting relationships based on faith, joy, hope, and love, and meeting people wherever they are on their spiritual journey.
 “People are my passion—no one is a stranger to me,” said Cook. “I truly enjoy this mission and give the glory to God!”
Looking ahead, Cook hopes to both help her congregation grow spiritually and reach new people. “My hope and prayer is Peace United grows in faith and knowledge of Christ—trusting, believing, knowing the God that loves us unconditionally,” she said. “I pray God will use me as a vehicle to grow Christianity, grow peace and love for one another.”
Cook knows one thing for certain: God is with her and she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be.
“As a human faced with the worldly challenges that exist each day, I hope and pray I can be a light for others by spreading the good news,” she said. “We each have unique gifts and it is my hope to continue to find those gifts in each person who sits in the pews on Sunday morning and those who have yet to show up. That is my mission in Christ. Amen.”

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