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Following the call to ministry

Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church's new pastor, Rev. Brenda North, knew she was called to the Christian ministry when she was still in high school.

"My family never used to go to church," she says. "But one day, a friend of mine invited me (to come to church), and eventually, my whole family started going. It made a huge difference in our lives.

"We'd always been a good and loving family, but (finding faith in Christ) made us happier... we had a sense of larger purpose. I wanted to share that with others."

And it was that call to ministry that led her to choose her future career path -- but it was one that didn't necessarily follow a straight course.

"I was originally ordained in the American Baptist Church," North says, "but I became a United Methodist elder through my struggle with theology in college.

"I had lots of questions about my faith and what I believed... I really appreciated the Methodist way of melding personal holiness and social responsibility."

North, a native of Huron, S.D. -- where most of her family is still located -- attended the University of Sioux Falls before enrolling in the North American Baptist Seminary, also in Sioux Falls.

Finding that the Methodist philosophy of faith was the best fit with her personal beliefs, North completed her education at Candler School of Theology, which is part of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

While at seminary, she also worked as a youth pastor; her first appointment as an ordained minister was at Owatonna (Minn.) United Methodist Church, where she served as an associate pastor for four years.

Her first appointment as lead pastor was at Albright United Methodist Church in Marshall, Minn. (located in the southwest part of the state). After three years there, she officially became the new pastor at DLUMC on July 1.

Married to husband Tom Gausman for the past year, North admits she is happy to be sharing a house with him for the first time.

"My husband and I are finally living under one roof," she says. "We've been married for a year, but we've been living three hours apart because of our work situation."

Gausman is a professor of economics at Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Fergus Falls. Now that North's latest pastoral appointment brings her close enough for him to commute to work, the couple has purchased a home together in Detroit Lakes.

"It's the first time I've had a (non-rented) house," North says. "That's kind of nice."

As for settling into her new duties at DLUMC, North says, "I love it. I think this is a beautiful community, and the church has a wonderfully welcoming and serving spirit."

The public is invited to a welcoming reception for Rev. North at DLUMC today (Sunday) from 9:15 to 10 a.m. Sunday worship services are at 8:30 and 10 a.m.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454