Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:00


 2001 - present: Doug Donley was chosen by the search committee to candidate for the pastorate at University Baptist Church. He and his wife, Kim, were flown to the Twin Cities the end of October, 2000. He preached in another Baptist church in the area with all the members of the search committee present. They were impressed and voted unanimously to present Doug to UBC as a person they were recommending to become our new pastor. On the first weekend in January the Donley family came to the Twin Cities for the candidating weekend. The UBC members voted unanimously to call Rev. Douglas Donley to be our 27th pastor. Doug preached his first sermon at UBC on March 18, 2001, and was installed on May 20. We are all pleased with our decision- Doug preaches thoughtful, stimulating sermons, cares and loves us all and is concerned about our spiritual growth. Thank you, Doug, for coming to UBC to be our inspiring, loving pastor. We love Kim, Amanda and Rebecca, too.

2000: Although Pastor Kay Welsch served only 10 months as an interim pastor, from February 2000 to January 2001, her duty was during an important period in UBC's history. Her outgoing personality helped as she worked with the various committees to celebrate UBC's 150th Anniversary, which featured numerous events throughout the year. She was also energetic in welcoming visitors, spearheading the acquisition of an exterior banner, implementing new name tags, suggesting new internal structures, and helping with the call of a new pastor. A United Church of Christ minister, Kay enjoyed working with a congregation of a different denomination and shared its good times and challenges alike.

1992: The search committee, working diligently from June, 1990 to Nov., 1991, jubilantly presented its choice of pastors, The Rev. Dr. Nadean Bishop, to the congregation November 3,

1991. She was enthusiastically received and voted in as our new pastor the following Sunday. She preached her first sermon to the congregation January 19, 1992, and was installed March 8th as our 26th pastor. Nadean left several positions to come to University Baptist. She had been senior pastor of the North Community Church in Ann Arbor, MI, and also a professor of English at Eastern Michigan University. She had over 20 years of experience teaching courses including the bible as Literature and Women’s Spirituality. Here at UBC she showed her preaching skills each Sunday morning when she inspired and challenged us with her timely sermons. One of Nadean’s great strengths was her compassion for all the members of her flock. She spent much time visiting sick and hurting people. We all appreciated her caring and loving spirit. Nadean’s support of people of all sexual orientations was shown by serving on the Executive Committee of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Churches. UBC is proud to be part of this group. Nadean showed her creative leadership in forming groups to deepen spiritual connections. Examples are Grace in Contemporary Novels by Women, The Carter Group and Film and Theology. Her interest in justice issues was shown in her preaching and participating in The Baptist Peace Fellowship and outreach projects of our Board of Justice and Outreach. Nadean frequently participated in church-related conferences and meetings, speaking or leading workshops.

1991-92: Our talented interim pastor Jim Ketcham’s service to our church for 15 months ended in January 1992. As Don Follett wrote in his column in the Feb., 1992, newsletter: "Jim was a shorthand version of what corporate types would call an ideal combination of directive and ‘participatory’ types of management- in action both at once." His quiet skills prodded and encouraged us to develop leadership skills we didn’t know we had. He initiated the Children’s Time as part of the Sunday morning service. Our congregation rejoiced when Jim and his wife, Jan, decided to stay on with us – and what wonderful contributors they are!

1976-90: Lee Freeman began his 14 year ministry, the second longest in the history of the church, in 1976. His liberal theological views, expressed so thoughtfully in his sermons, were embraced by the congregation. he was the moving force behind the music program, engineering the purchasing of a new tracker organ, the hiring of Martha Pittenger as organist and choir director and the writing of a new hymnal using inclusive language. He was a skilled manager of our aging building and an enthusiastic supporter of the Renewal for the 90’s drive to make the church handicapped accessible and the sanctuary redecorated. He left the church the first of September with a heart-warming party given by the grateful church members who will long remember his many contributions to the church.

1973-75: David Bartlett came to the church from the Berkeley Baptist Seminary where he held a position as New Testament professor. His challenging "three point" sermons showed his creativity with words. he brought an ability to attract and utilize lay leaders and new members. Using funds from the Shepardson estate, the church hired Dennis Stull to be associate pastor to rebuild the student ministry. Mark Parsons was hired to supervise the international group of students in the Davis House (owned by the church), in the neighborhood. Dr. Bartlett left at the end of three years to become the pastor of the Hyde Park Baptist Church in Chicago and to teach in the Divinity Department of the Chicago University. Dennis Stull continued on as interim minister until a new pastor was called.

1971-72: Rev. Robert Phillips served as interim pastor for 12 months while the church explored the possibility of a merger with the community’s Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches. Dr. Huntwork continued as interim leader from Oct. through Dec., 1972.

1963-71: Rev. J. Kenneth Huyck and his wife, Elnora, gave strong leadership to the congregation during a tumultuous time in American society. He was interested in social action, participated in the civil Rights march in Salem, Alabama, and arranged for a black minister from Virginia to exchange pulpits one Sunday. The music Training Program funded by Norman Mears was the concept of Ken Huyck. Free music lessons were given to young people. The Huycks moved to Iowa in 1971.

1960-63: Rev. Homer Shafer and his wife Jannette came from Kansas. They were great at sharing their hearts and home with University students, especially foreign students. Rev. Shafer secured funds for remodeling the student wing. Wes Anderson, the Student Associate, gave excellent leadership to the student group. Homer Shafer became Executive Director of the Oak Park-River Forest Council of Churches, Illinois.

1947-59: Rev. John S. Bone – an enthusiastic young man – helped to move the church into the post WWII period. The church celebrated its Centennial in 1950 as it struggled with its role in SE Minneapolis and the University community. In 1949 the church received help and leadership from Faye Jensen (now Faye Kommedahl) as the first Youth Intern. Rev. Bone preached excellent sermons, directed the choir and even substituted as organist when necessary. Since there was a large group of Baptist students at the University, more staff was needed: Marian Sorenson, in 1948, Betty Willlis in 1950; Esther Kennedy, 1952-54; Harriet Willingham (now Harriet Johnson), 1954-57; and Dean Knudson, 1957-60. Wes Anderson was the last one serving the students in the early sixties. The University Baptist Church Foundation was established in 1959 to receive money willed as memorials or donations to the church. Clayton Sorenson was the person who was the first leader of this endeavor which still continues successfully and is of great help to the church financially. Rev. Bone went to New York City to be the minister of the Madison Ave. Church.

1946: Dr. Warren Behan was the interim minister for one year. Financial help came from various denominational sources so the church could be rehabilitated – it was greatly in need of repairs. Mrs. Hoag, a loyal church member was hired at $40 a month to be the visitor to the University Village, veterans’ housing project.

1929-46: The longest pastorate in UBC history, 17 years, began when Rev. George Fetter came from Illinois. He was faced with almost insurmountable problems, mainly financial. The stock market crash, World Wars I and II and a congregation that wasn’t growing added up to much stress. The total mortgage was $55,000 but with contributions from the Board of Education, the Home Mission Society, The Minnesota Baptist Convention and The Twin City Baptist Union and the members of the church on the occasion of the 90th anniversary (1940), the mortgage was burned. With dedication and sacrifice, the congregation under Mr. Fetters inspired leadership pulled through these trying years. He left in 1946 to go to Lawrence, Kansas.

1924-29: Rev. Frank Jennings came and soon was swamped with the task of raising money to finish the tower (never accomplished!) and the auditorium. The church membership was 397. It must have been great satisfaction that he felt when the auditorium was finally finished and a great week of victory June 5-12, 1927, was celebrate

1919-23: A veritable human dynamo, Rev. Norman Henderson, became the pastor. He proposed that an associate membership be established – people who had not been immersed. He was absorbed in the building of the new church to be called University Baptist. He resigned in 1923 to go to California.

1918-19: Union with the First Congregational Church of SE Minneapolis was proposed but, Dr. Pope said "The State Convention would deprecate such a move" so, the matter was dropped.

1914-18: Dr. John Gow came as an interim pastor but, was asked to be the permanent pastor. The membership had joined together and the tension had eased. Edwin Dahlberg, a man who grew up in Olivet was ordained in September, 1914, and later became President of ABC/USA.

1912-14: Rev. C.E. Tingley came to a congregation grieving over losing their Rev. Wiltbank. so, he had an unhappy time and resigned after two years.

1906-12: Rev. Rutledge Wiltbank. The Minneapolis Journal said that Olivet Church is to be congratulated on its excellent choice of pastor. The church entered into its most prosperous years financially and numerically. an assistant pastor, Rev. Richardson, was hired for student work. the membership rose to 339 in 1909. The church greatly appreciated him and gave him a purse of $100 on his 3rd anniversary. The church tried to persuade him to stay but, he resigned in 1912 to go to Binghamton, N.Y.

1899-1906: Rev. F.H. Cooper and his wife were more than equal to the task of bringing harmony and peace to the church. A Mrs. Wilkins conducted a large class of University students – did so for 15 years.

1897-98: Rev. E.P. Smith – not a congenial year for him or the congregation.

1887-97: Next came Rev. W.P. McKee, but, he displeased some members of his congregation by not preaching "gospel sermons". so, he finally resigned and went to Chicago as principal of Shiner Academy.

1881-86: Rev. Marion Shutter. The church was thriving with a membership of 153 and a church school of 185 scholars and a new church building. But, in spite of successes, Rev. Shutter sent in a letter of resignation dated March 1, 1886. He stated that "I am no longer in sympathy with the Baptist denomination." He became the minister of the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis.

1876-80: Rev. Sewall Brown came and was to receive $1000 – if it could be raised. He stayed four years, so the congregation probably came through.

1873: Rev. Jarrell came and received the huge salary of $500 annually.

1870-73: Supply preachers filled the pulpit. Cabinet organ was bought for $112. The choir was made up of "good voices as to volume, but nothing more!"

1867: Rev. Drury, a former army chaplain, came to Minnesota for his health, but was persuaded to take the pastorate. The record says that, to him more than to anyone else, the Baptist Church of St. Anthony owes its very existence. A trip east to raise money produced $292.15. On January 23 a new church was dedicated, but he died 3 months later.

1861: Rev. Pease was there for only 9 months. He tacked a note on the church door saying he resigned. Who can blame him? There were only 6 members in the church.

1859: Rev. Hyde came and stayed two years. but, he was so distressed by having to have church in what he called "The Lord’s Barn" he left.

1852-58: There were no pastors in this period but, prominent lay people such as Mrs. Sarah Nash and Mrs. W.H. Lawrence kept things pulled together, but, were called "at times unduly officious."

1852: A Rev. Lyman Palmer of New York came to a miserable church building. It was on land owned by Franklin Steele. But, by 1854 things improved and there were 73 members. He resigned anyway.

1850: Rev. Brown was chosen pastor of the newly organized group of Baptists who called themselves The Baptist Church of St. Anthony. The job of being pastor, deacon and building committee proved to be too much for him so, in the fall of 1850 he returned East and became an Episcopalian Minister.