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Senior Pastor Update

Dear First Congregational UCC members,


Four weeks ago, we brought in two candidates for visits, and from there, we made our recommendation for our congregation’s Senior Pastor.


As it turns out, God’s timeline was different.


Last week, we invited our recommended candidate to join us for a Call Weekend. Initially, this candidate accepted, and we were overjoyed. We began preparation and sent out notices to all of your homes to announce a Call Weekend for July 15-16. However, on Friday, June 30, 2023, we received notice that they were rescinding their acceptance of the “call.” We know these are hard decisions for any minister to make and we pray for happiness for them and their family. We then learned that the second candidate accepted another “call” that they had been exploring. Needless to say, please disregard the letter of notice you received in the mail.


Once we found out, Pastor Mary Jo heroically raced to the post office to attempt to retrieve the letters. It was too late. We are sending this letter electronically and via USPS because we want to ensure that everyone knows that there will not be a Call Weekend on July 15-16, 2023.


To say, “There has been a rollercoaster of emotions these past few weeks,” is an understatement. However, this is now in the past…and we are now looking to the future. Our Senior Pastor Search Committee will be meeting again this week to work on our next steps. This will include reviewing some of our other known candidates, taking new applicants and working with Rev. Franz Rigert and Rev. Jane Anderson at the WI Conference UCC. Through all of this, we continue to look to the Holy Spirit guiding us to discover the senior minister who will lead us into the future. We do not have a definitive timeline as of now, although through this process, we’ve learned a lot that will help keep things moving forward. As we gather more information, we will keep you closely informed of our progress.


In addition, our Church Council and staff continue to create plans that will determine our next steps during this extended search time.


We are moving forward in faith and with patience knowing that this will go according to God’s timing, not ours. On behalf of our entire Senior Pastor Search Committee, thank you for your ongoing prayers and support.


Blessings,


The Senior Pastor Search Committee


Mike Radtke (chair), Mary Ballerstein, Julie Gamm, Sophia Guttormsen, Dr. Marcus Lewis (chaplain), Bob Pagel, Susan Robertson, and Sandra Vanden Boogaard (secretary)

Congregational Letter 7.7.23
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