Garth FBRev. Garth Schumacher has come back to Congregational United Church of Christ as Intentional Interim Minister.  Since his last time as Interim Minister here in 2013, Garth traveled on a sabbatical for three months with his wife, Rev. Norma Rae Hunt to Ireland and Iona Scotland to study Celtic Christianity; served Mizpah UCC as Interim Minister; served the MN Conference as Associate Conference Minister of Faith Formation; and as Interim at Ladysmith and Conrath UCC in Wisconsin.  Along with other interims, Garth has served as the Executive Director of the Resource Center for Churches.  Earlier in his career, Rev. Schumacher served Union Congregational Churches of both St. Louis Park and Elk River as Associate Minister; and as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Minnesota Conference.  In his “even earlier life” Garth was a professional actor and director performing at Chanhassen Theater, Minnesota Opera, Children’s Theater, The History Theater, with roles in various movies including The Mighty Ducks, and Herman USA.  And, for 5 years was president of Custom Interactive Characters, Inc. producing business meetings and trade shows throughout the U.S.  He is honored to have been called to this congregation and hopes and prays that our combined ministries will grow in Spirit and God’s love toward a thriving community!

felicia-2016Director of Faith Formation and Family Engagement – Felicia Faldet graduated cum laude from Crossroads College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and Theology and Pastoral Leadership. She has four years of ministry experience at Hope Summit Christian Church developing and teaching children and youth ministry curriculum and outreach events. She brings a strong background of elementary programming through her employment in the public school system. Her passion to care for God’s people enabled her to start the Pastoral Care Ministry in 2013. She organized a group of volunteers to address prayer requests, deliver communion, visit hospitalized congregation members, and provide God’s love in difficult times. She looks forward to using her gifts to create a culture of multi-generational ministry, where children and families can grow together and serve God’s kingdom in a positive way. Following her calling into church ministry, she dreams of becoming an ordained minister one day.

Karmen Gusa graduated  from Mankato State University, magna cum laude with a B.S. degree in Music Education.  After teaching three years in Germany for the Department of Defense and directing chapel choirs, she return to Rochester and began developing and directing choral groups, bell choirs and musical theater at Peace United Church of Christ.  She also began working as a Reference Librarian at the Rochester Public Library where she is currently employed.  For the past three years, she has directed the Children’s Choir and developed the Adult Bell Choir and Youth Bell Choir at the Congregational Church UCC in Rochester.  Karmen believes that music should enhance worship and that in all we do, “Soli de Gloria”… God alone be the Glory.  Karmen and her husband Steve are proud parents of Erin, Zachary and Megan.  They have a wonderful son-in-law, Ryan, and three beautiful grandchildren, Jack, Grace and Harrison.

Julie Kim 1Organist, Julie Kim, comes to us with a BA in Church Music with organ emphasis and an MM in Piano Performance from the University of North Dakota.  She recently earned her Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  She has experience as accompanist for the Woncheon Presbyterian Church in Seoul, Korea and at the Hope Korean Presbyterian Church in Grand Forks, ND, Augustana Lutheran Church in Grand Forks and has accompanied soloists and women’s choirs, along with performing in numerous recitals.

colleenColleen Hofer is our dedicated and reliable nursery care staff.  Her enthusiasm for loving children truly shows through her care and concern for babies through 5th grade.  Reading children’s stories, making crafts, or helping kids use their imagination is her strong suit.  She truly values helping children grow stronger in their faith and watching them grow in their spiritual lives.
Sarah Struwe serves as administrative assistant and manages the daily office operations of The Congregational Church.  She is responsible for the support and communications of the church staff and ministry teams, and also assists in scheduling the many activities that take place. Sarah earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Winona State University and lives in Lake City with her husband and son.