First United Methodist Church of Rice Lake
Sunday, November 18, 2018
We are a people called to know and share God's love.

Pastor's Page

Shout Out from Susan
 
Greetings my Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
I am excited to serve as your new pastor and share in the wonderful ministries of First UMC of Rice Lake and Canton UMC. I have had a brief introduction to some wonderful ministries happening here, met a few people and already look forward to learning more about you and your passions. Likewise, I am sure you are wondering about me as well, so here is some insight...
 
I grew up in Minnesota and moved with my family to Frederic, Wisconsin during high school. My parents bought family flower shop and greenhouses in Frederic and I worked there for many years. I have three grown children, Curtis (married to Aubrey), Chelsey, and Chad (married to Jen). I am the proud grandma of 3-Emersyn Grace, Mason and Beckett, all of who live in Minnesota. As you can imagine, moving closer to family is very important to me. 
 
While raising my children I was active in scouting, volunteering at school, my community and church and the family business. Ministry was not my first vocation. My other job experiences include florist, real estate, interior design, administrative assistant, retail sales, waitress, and district manager for a home party plan, all of which I believe prepared me for pastoral ministry. I also enjoy traveling, gardening, photography, decorating, cooking, and singing.
 
I grew up in the United Methodist church serving as youth director, choir member, Sunday school superintendent, lay leader and church secretary before realizing my call into ministry in 1996. I began serving as a local pastor in rural Wisconsin in 1998 caring for 3-point and 2-point church charges: Phillips, Hawkins and Kenan; Prairie Farm and Ridgeland; and Bloomington/Cassville. I served for five years in rural Wisconsin as solo pastor while at the same time finishing undergrad school. I earned a BA in Religion and minor in Communications at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN in May 2006. I moved to California that summer to attend Claremont School of Theology and received my Master of Divinity in May 2009.
 
While in California, I transferred my membership into the Cal-Pac Annual Conference because I felt called to ministry there. I have served as intern at Santa Ana and Fullerton UMC and pastor at Los Altos-Long Beach, Westchester-Los Angeles and West Covina-West Covina, CA. As my children started their families and my parent’s medical needs changed, I knew I needed to move back to Wisconsin. In July 2015, I moved to Briggsville, WI (near Wisconsin Dells) to be pastor of three small church- Briggsville UMC, Moundville UMC and Trinity Endeavor UCC. After many years of ministry, I life went full-circle from WI to CA back to WI. The bonus was becoming a full elder in 2017, back in Wis!
 
My ministries focused on multi-culture churches, urban communities, social justice, worship and church revitalization. I was visual arts director for Annual Conf and part of the worship design team. Worship is one of my favorite aspects of ministry. I am inspired by visionary planning, creative expression and worship, working with people and guiding them in their faith development. I am an advocate for social justice and concerned about issues facing those who are in poverty or living in the margins.
 
The core of my theology is, God is love. I am motivated by God’s love and my understanding of the greatest commandments, to love God and love your neighbor (Matt 22:39). I hold this text in relationship with “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matt 6:33) and “Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) as anchors to my life and as a source to keep me grounded and focused on faith.
 
I am excited about the possibilities of serving God together with you. I look forward to knowing each of you and what your passions in ministry include as individuals and as the church. I feel truly blessed to be your pastor and serve the Rice Lake/Canton communities. 
 
In Christ’s peace,
Pastor Susan Oeffler