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BOYCEVILLE – Starting July 1st there has been a new face leading the parishioners at the United Methodist church in Boyceville, Vicky Strupp. The smiling, Pastor Vicky also stands at the helm of the United Methodist churches in Prairie Farm and in Wheeler as it is a three point parish.
Vicky, who grew up in Milwaukee, has been living the past 29 years in Jim Falls with her husband, Jim. The couple have two grown children, Andrew, 29 and Julie, 32. Andrew lives in Sun Prairie and is an electrical engineer while big sis is a journalist and lives in Washington, DC.
For Vicky, the ministry is not a career that she ever thought she would be in but God obviously had other plans for her. She originally went to school to be a preschool teacher. When her children were young, she switched to in home daycare which eventually led to home care. Her home care also led to visitation ministry with her home church in Jim Falls. She stated that all of these helped her to become more compassionate and patient. Which in turn has benefited her ministry career.
Although Vicky is still attending Divinity School (a satellite school of Garret Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois) she has many years of experience in the ministry. Starting in the early 90’s she worked as a counselor for a senior high Alive Camp held in Lake Lucerne Camp and Retreat center for twelve years. Did the visitation ministry in Jim Falls and prior to this appointment she was at Faith United Methodist church in Ladysmith in a half time appointment.
If everything goes as planned Vicky should finish all her schooling in about three years. With working full time and being a student part time, it is a slow but steady course.
So far Pastor Vicky is enjoying her time here but notes that with three churches it is harder to get to know her parishioners as she can’t stick around after worship as she needs to hit the road and head on down to the next church. She starts her Sunday mornings in Prairie Farm with an 8:30 a.m. worship before she goes to Boyceville for their 9:45 a.m. worship. She ends her mornings in Wheeler with an 11:00 a.m. worship.
She is trying to do some fun things in the community. She took part in the walk during Pickle Fest and enjoyed many of the other activities. “I think my favorite part was the petting zoo,” she quipped. She goes on to say that Pickle Fest was a great family thing.
She is also starting to meet the other pastors in town and they are planning to do some ecumenical activities. “Which I love to do” stressed Vicky. She feels that it is extremely important that the churches work together. “I think it’s really important for the community churches to work together and do those ecumenical services and things.”
Vicky remarks that one of big things at a couple of the churches is doing church dinners. She smiles and says, “I love doing dinners, church dinners are a blast.” She admits she’s not the best in the kitchen but she loves to bus tables and chat with the people.
Vicky mentions that God has a sense of humor especially with her earlier beliefs that she felt women shouldn’t be pastors to now actually being one. God is definitely laughing as she has come full circle. One of the things that first changed her mind about women teachers was when they got a women preacher in Jim Falls who happened to be a former boss of hers from her preschool days who she was friends with. “I thought oh my goodness she’s one of the best pastors. I thought how I could ever be lame enough to think that God didn’t call women to do this.” She remarks that they have shared many a laugh over this.
Another pastor at Jim Falls and is wife who was a pastor at a neighboring church knew that Vicky was destined to become a preacher and they encouraged her to head down this path. It was this pastor that first got her involved with the visitation ministry and his wife’s church hired her to be the youth minister.
Pastor Vicky’s philosophy is to empower the laity. “I want them to find what they are gifted at and use those gifts. That’s what will last.” She wants to leave behind (when she moves on or retires) people that are confident that they can do ministry. That God has called them to do something too.
What has impressed Vicky about these three churches is that they have a sense of mission. She wants to encourage that to grow. She continues; they have a sense of being out in the world. They work on food ministries they have the coat closet; the missions team does some local, regional and even some international missions. “I think it’s important to do some of everything. So that is something that I really love and want to help develop.”
Vicky states that she still has a heart for youth ministry. She said she’s not sure where that is going to take her, but she says she still loves teenagers and she feels she can still relate to them.
In her free time Vicky and her husband enjoy hiking and paddle boarding, especially in the upper peninsula and around Lake Superior. They also enjoy looking for waterfalls. Vicky states that she loves the outdoors and comments, “God speaks to me through creation.” She sees ways in which God shows that he is faithful on her many walks. Vicky also likes to swim, do photography, play guitar and she loves to sing.