Rev. Cindy Mueller Joins Staff; Conference to Experiment with New Staffing Model;

The Minnesota Conference has appointed Rev. Cindy Mueller to the role of Steward for Search and Call and Congregational Legacy Planning (see article/information below). In her position, a new role in the Conference, she will work with all congregations that are currently in leadership transition and searching for a pastor. She will also work with congregations that are discerning a potential closure or significant transition.

Cindy has more than 20 years of involvement with the Conference, including serving as moderator. Currently she is on the Conference’s Committee on Ministry.

After she was ordained in 1987, she served as an installed pastor in two Wisconsin churches before she felt called to enter interim ministry. She has since served ten churches, nine of them in Minnesota, throughout 33 years of ministry, while also supply preaching in another eight UCC churches around the state. Most recently she served at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in St. Paul as lead interim minister.

“I have dedicated my life’s ministry to aiding the church of Jesus Christ as it goes through the challenging and exciting time a transition provides for local congregations,” Cindy says. “I see each position as a journey pregnant with possibilities. I look forward to beginning that journey in this new role.”

Cindy lives in Buffalo with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Jeff Palmer, and their golden retrievers. She is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of two. She earned her bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Minnesota and her master of divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary.

“We are grateful to have Cindy on our Conference team, a person with a history of such faithful service in the MN Conference,” says Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon. “Her deep and varied experience, and her demonstrated devotion to our Conference’s collective ministries, will serve us well in this role.”

Cindy can be reached at cindym@uccmn.org or 612.230.3367.

Conference Tries New Staffing Model

Susan Beaumont, the keynote speaker for our Annual Meeting in June and the author of “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season,” recently wrote these words to churches during this pandemic season:

“We are in a liminal season, stuck between an ending and a new beginning.…This season requires a different leadership stance. Our actions must originate from a new center—a less busy and more yielding, soulful place….We accept this moment as “just the place we need to be” to learn what is most important now. To surrender does not mean giving up or giving in. It does not mean we languish or grow lazy—quite the opposite. It means we lean into the disorientation and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.”

In the coming months, the Minnesota Conference UCC staff team will lean into such a time of learning, trusting in the Holy Spirit to tell us what we need to know. We will try out a new staff model, moving forward with two full-time Associate Conference Ministers instead of three and welcoming a new part-time position — Steward for Search & Call & Congregational Legacy Planning. Responsibilities for several of our continuing staff are also shifting.

We don’t want to assume that we should just keep doing things the way they’ve always been done. Instead, we want to experiment with a new staffing model and see what we can learn in the process. Those lessons will inform our next steps.

In the coming weeks, all pastors will receive further information about staff changes so they have clarity about who to contact for a variety of needs. The Conference will continue to provide high quality support and ministry to our churches and leaders.