Pastor: Rev. Torri Vande Zande
Union Congregational Church, UCC, in Hackensack, Minnesota is thrilled to welcome their new pastor, The Rev. Torri Vande Zande. Torri grew up in Waupun, Wisconsin on a dairy farm. As the youngest of eight children she learned to adapt to different personalities and also learned that “you don’t always get your way.” She attended North Central University after high school and graduated with a BA in Youth Ministry. She spent the next nine years in Waupun working for Youth for Christ doing family and youth ministry. In this job Torri helped start a youth center to help get kids off the street. The program took an unused middle school and used it for the youth center providing activities for children in middle school and high school. Later while working at Christ Family Church in Davenport, Iowa, Torri felt called to seminary. She enrolled at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN earning a Masters of Divinity. About this time Torri began to wrestle with the conservative beliefs she had been brought up with and that she had focused on at Bethel. After two years of searching for her “place” she found herself at the doors of a UCC church and knew she was where she belonged. Torri loves the UCC focus on extravagant welcome and social justice, and that “God is still speaking” and has more to say to us.
Before being called to Union Church, Torri was working as a co-pastor at a new UCC church called The Table located in Davenport, Iowa. Here she worked to create worship services, outreach events and family ministry. In the work of starting a new church Torri has shown that she is comfortable and successful in challenging ministry contexts. She loves to preach, enjoys getting to know people and has a deep love for animals. Her dog, Caesar, is an important part of her work as she ministers to others. Please join us in welcoming Pastor Torri to the Northwoods!
Julie Rono, Office Administrator / Secretary
Julie Rono has lived in the Hackensack area for over 20 years. She was a certified EMT and served with the Hackensack First Response and the Hackensack Area Fire and Rescue for 18 years. She also served as secretary (16 years) for the Cass County EMS Task Force and has helped with design and follow-through of county disaster drills and training. She holds a degree in Criminal Justice through Western International University. Julie has worked a variety of jobs from child care, logging, waitress, Corrections Officer, respite care, secretary and the list goes on. Julie lives with her significant other (Butch, retired Hackensack Fire Chief and owner of the Woodshed Cabinet Shop). She has 6 children and he has 2 children and they decided 8 was enough. They also, together, have 11 grandgoonies (aka grandchildren). She keeps busy with her positions here at Union, her "It Works" Network Marketing Business, being a co-owner of Stone Woman Herbals (a natural health and wellness store in Walker, MN.), volunteering, many hobbies and play. She has not decided what she wants to be when she grows up and believes your only as old as you act.
Sue Johnson, Custodian