By Sean Cote
The Reverend Jack Rehnberg, 63, of the Osseo United Methodist Church, is retiring after 21 years of ministry there. Known as ‘Pastor Jack’ to many in his congregation, he was ordained in 1974, and has accomplished much in a career spanning 39 years.
Helping in many missions and mentoring 16 other pastors, he served as the chair of the Order of Elders for eight years and has worked with the local CROSS Food Shelf in addition to many other charitable organizations.
Rehnberg said his reason for retiring is that it’s harder to work full time at his age, but that does not mean he will no longer be active in ministry. He admitted he doesn’t quite yet know what he’ll be doing in retirement, but indicated he might “support ministers who are overworked,” explaining that due to the state of the economy, many Methodist churches are under-funded and under-staffed.
“I’ll go wherever I’m needed the most,” he said.
The average length of time Methodist pastors spend at any one church is roughly seven years.
Osseo United Methodist was founded in 1922, and Rehnberg described the church of over 550 members as having an “open and welcoming congregation,” comprised of all different age groups, with a sharp focus on missions.
He said, “I really enjoyed it…the church has been very gracious to me.”
The church’s ministries and missions are varied, from activities for youth and families, support for veterans, and charity missions in Jamaica.
The new mission for the church involves training “a new generation of leaders,” and while Rehnberg knows his congregation is sad to see him leave, they are excited about new leadership.
“I need someone to inherit it,” he said, speaking of a need for younger people to take up the ministry and actively participate, a rising problem in many denominations across the country.
However, Rehnberg’s replacement has already been chosen. The Rev. Dr. Woojai Im, originally from South Korea, will be the new pastor at Osseo United Methodist.
“He’s very well educated…I think he’ll serve the church well,” he said, describing his successor’s training in Seoul and the U.S., his appointment to the Milaca UMC, and his induction into the MN conference of Elders.
Rehnberg’s immediate plans involve moving into a new home with his wife, Julie, and helping transition Rev. Woojae into his new ministry with the church. Festivities for Rehnberg’s retirement party were held in the middle of June.