The UCC Church in Hutchinson Minnesota has been on quite a journey. After the retirement of longtime pastor, Brian Brosz, the church decided to take time to examine themselves and their church rather than immediately form a search committee for a new minister. Under the guidance of Pastor Cindy Mueller, the congregation participated in the New Beginnings Assessment Service. As an Intentional Interim Pastor, Cindy had just the training needed to help them through the transition. Changes started filtering into the church through its new puppet theater and its nontraditional Christmas pageant.
Kim Schutt, moderator, said that through the New Beginnings program, the congregation grew closer. “The small groups were absolutely essential.” she said. “I was surprised by the number of people who signed up. It was really great how they embraced it.”
Small groups used the New Beginnings curriculum to take a thorough look at themselves, and in October of 2014 the congregation made the decision to restart and revitalize their mission. The restart included not only a new incorporation, but also a new name. New Journey was selected because it reflects the process and future growth and change.
On January 8, First Congregational United Church of Christ took time to celebrate the congregation’s 154-year-old legacy. Longtime members shared their thoughts about the church and its history.
On January 10, 2016, New Journey United Church of Christ began their ministry together with a new look forward, the dedication of the church’s new name and the installation of the Rev. Jill Warner as Revitalization Pastor and Partner.
Rev. Warner is excited about the partnership. “This vital congregation recognizes that simply telling the story in the old way doesn’t work anymore,” Warner said. “Imagine, question, doubt, follow….that’s how faith grows. I can’t wait to see where the Spirit will lead us.”