First United Methodist Church of Rice Lake
Saturday, September 21, 2019
We are a people called to know and share God's love.

Pastor's Page

Shout Out from Susan
Celebrating Our First Year in Ministry Together and Looking Forward to So Much More
     What a great joy it is to be reappointed to Canton and First UMC! As clergy we are appointed a year at a time, from July 1st to June 30th. This first year went fast! Some people have commented that it feels like I have been here for a long time which I take as a complement meaning that as your pastor, I fit well in the ministries and relate well with our church family.
     My first year serving these wonderful churches has been filled with lots of new adventures in ministries and a few challenging moments (which is normal). I have meet many of the people from each church, but not everyone yet. We celebrated 4 confirmands, 2 baby baptisms, 4 high school graduates, passing of 8 beloved members, and welcomed 5 adult members. Our avg worship attendance is on the rise at both churches! We have prayed and held up many people in our churches and community through fires, cancer, surgeries, illnesses, family concerns, losses and unexpected changes. You have been a pillar of faith for so many people and I give you thanks for your compassion and generosity.
     Upon arriving I was immediately introduced to the annual golf outing, worship at the little church in Pioneer village where instead of a real horse, I rode in on an antique hobby horse and VBS. You sure know how to show a pastor a good time! I was amazed at the PPP project and met some of the recipients of your generosity. Rice Lake’s mission committee continues to amaze me with their many projects and the overwhelming responses to provide hats, mittens, flannel shirts, toilet paper, food pantry items, FoRk-feed ouR kids back pack program, Personal Care pantry at High School, Haiti school supplies, Chicken dinner, Benjamin House and the Family Center shelters, and many more outreach projects, like ACEO and Red Bird Mission that take care of our community.
     Worship is an essential part of our ministry and a passion of mine. As you have seen, my style is a bit different than your previous pastor but that didn’t stop the powerful spiritual presence at both churches during worship, perhaps it gave more space for God’s Spirit to work within us. Remember all the breads we tried for World Communion Sunday? So delicious! Celebrating communion with other cultures and countries reminded us that we are a global church and the many ways that Jesus is witnessed through the breaking of the bread. All Saint’s Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve were all beautiful, spirit-filled services. We started January off by renewing our Baptism vows then a couple Sunday’s later our Bishop Hee-Soo Jung preached at the District Conference and Sunday worship. (This was a huge first for me. I was greatly humbled.)

     Our Lent theme, The Power of Prayer and Holy Week services- the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, Nails of the Cross on Good Friday and Easter morning celebration literally reworked our hearts and minds drawing us closer to Christ Jesus. We finished up with Pentecost and confirming Cody Halvorson, Lexi Halvorson, Lily Rettenmund and Isabella Wallin. The anointing of Holy Spirit was palpable at both churches! As I reflect on these various worships, I recall how fragile your hearts and souls were when I arrived compared to now where worship is overflowing with God’s love and passion. Praise God!
     Beyond the seriousness of being a church were the fun times of the UMW bazaar, dartball, Western Dinner, Fat Wednesday, VBS and Sunday school activities, and our new senior ministries, Making Connections.
      While our denomination is wandering in the wilderness over issues of inclusion and who is welcome in the church, the momentum and energy at both churches is steadily increasing each time we gather. New ideas and opportunities in ministry, nurturing and outreach can be heard at committee meetings, fellowship and lunches, worship and events.
      “Faith is believing in things hoped for but not seen,” states Hebrews 11:1. We have much to be hopeful again. That which we couldn’t see before is now a reality. Much healing has happened in the past year, but we must realize that some healing will take longer than other areas. This past year we have built a strong foundation and now it is time to build upon this foundation. This past year has given me a chance to learn who you are, what ministries happen, and what events to expect throughout the calendar year. We’ve done a lot of great ministry and touched a lot of people lives this past year. I look forward to where God will lead us this coming year. I am blessed to be your pastor and incredibly grateful to spend another year together in ministry.
     Your sister in Christ, Pastor Sue