Cathy Hamblin has been preparing for her current occupation since girlhood.
"God had been grooming me for ministry since my first speaking contest in 4-H at age 9," said Hamblin. "I didn't understand and act on that call to pastoral ministry until many years later."
Indeed, Hamblin's path to becoming the new pastor of the United Methodist Church of New Richmond has been a winding trail.
She attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in marketing with a minor in public speaking. After marrying her husband, Robert, she and her two sons lived on a dairy farm in Hayward while she ran a bookstore.
She did her seminary work at the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo. and Duke Divinity in Durham, N.C.
It was a happy coincidence that she was selected to go to New Richmond, where her mother and sister live. The United Methodist Church selects who will fill what position, so she was appointed by the Bishop and the Cabinet. She had been the associate pastor at the Lake Street United Methodist Church in Eau Claire for the past four years before coming to New Richmond to take over for Pastor Alan George, who had been with NRUMC for 13 years.
Hamblin has lived in New Richmond at the church parsonage since assuming the pastoral duties June 30.
"God (and the Bishop) have brought me to New Richmond United Methodist Church to help them continue the good ministry that is already in place, and to look forward into what the future may hold for them."
Mike Ballard, chairman of the UMC staff parish relations committee, expressed the church's anticipation for "Pastor Kathy."
"We are looking forward to receiving Pastor Kathy and anticipate our journey together, sharing bumps and blessings as we go," he said. "She'll continue to 'open hearts, open minds and open doors' in her own pastoral approach."