First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Live and Share God's Love

From the Pastor



Rev.  Rebecca Voss




September 2022

Dear First UMC Family of Faith,
At the end of July spent a couple of days with Rev. Sue Nilson Kibbey, the founder and director of the Missional Church Consultative Initiative (MCCI) on an Express Day team for another MCCI congregation. Just as we experienced as a congregation last November at our Express Day, I was really inspired by the process of praying with and listening to church leaders and members in order to discern the various "prescriptions" for renewal needed in that church and community. I wanted to learn more about how to lead church revitalization in our church and in more churches in the future.

Sue came to Wausau the following week and answered my prayer to learn more in an unexpected way. She described sensing God nudging her for many months to ask mc to join a Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) program at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in her cohort based on the MCCI model of church revitalization grounded in prayer. She hadn't asked me because she knew I had so many other things going on in my life, but the morning of our visit she was awakened to God's conviction that she had to ask me and trust that all the doors would open for me to begin my doctoral studies in three weeks.

It was a leap of faith for her to ask me. My faith was stretched thinking about the immense opportunity and commitment involved and trying to imagine how God could line up everything necessary in such a short amount of time. It helped that  had graduated with my Master of Divinity from United, but I still had to complete the enrollment application, essays, travel and hotel plans for the first Intensive Week of studies, and someone to take care of my daughters and household while I would be away, With God's grace, was admitted, enrolled, and everything was set up for my first week in Ohio within 48 hours.
The first question many people ask is whether this means I'm leaving First UMC and Wausau. The answer is no. A D. Min. degree is designed to prepare clergy for advanced leadership while they are also serving a congregation or chaplaincy. It's likened to becoming a "Doctor of the Church", equipped with specialized training to help diagnose signs of spiritual health and sickness and determining the best ways to bring healing and wholeness to the Body of Christ. I'll continue to pastor First UMC full-time and serve as the President of the Board for New Beginnings for Refugees, but I'll need to manage my time very well for the next three years in order to attend a week of intensive classes at the beginning of each of six semesters, do research, and write a dissertation for 10 credits each semester.
As 1 go back to school along with students of all ages, I invite each of you to join me in learning and growing in our faith. We begin Sunday School on September 11, and hope that children, youth, and adults of all ages will attend regularly with an open heart and mind to how God is always ready to lead and inspire us in new ways.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Rebccca