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​

Moderator,  Tom Cox;    Treasurer, Stan Kumpula;    Clerk, Karen Holle;
Minister, Rev Torri Vande Zande            

Chair, Stan Kumpula; Treasurer, Sheryl Kaubisch; Financial Secretary, Don Hoppe; Assistant Financial Secretary, Ron Merritt​

Chair, Jo Horak;    

CONGREGATIONAL LIFE MINISTRY                         
​Chair, Margaret Zieffler

Co-Chairs, Mike Bohannon and Ron Merritt
Members, Stan Kumpula

Chair, Heidi Hoppe;    Music, Heidi;    Communion, Gracee Rudkin;    Ushering, Linda Merritt

Choir Director, Sheryl Kaubisch

 Adopted Unanimously by Church Council -- September 17, 2013

1.The core purpose of the United Church of Christ is that “Drawn together by the Holy Spirit, we are a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church, joining faith and action. In covenant with the church in all of its settings, we serve God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world as made manifest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

2.The Mission Statement of Union UCC, Hackensack MN, states that “Union Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, is a community of diverse believers, sharing with one another and accepting of all.  With God's unconditional love, we come together to worship, to nurture each other and to reach out with love to all persons”

3.Since the founding of Union Congregational Church - UCC in 1905, it has been the long held tradition that no person will be denied participation and access to the sacraments of the church (baptism and holy communion), the rituals of the church (worship, marriage and funerals), and full participation if the life of the church.

4.In the State of Minnesota marriage equality for all persons is the constitutional law of the land.

5.Weddings, funerals, and baptism have always been done at the discretion of the pastor.

The United Church of Christ affirms that “no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome here!” Union UCC also affirms that all of God’s children are welcome, and that baptisms, marriages, funerals, memorial services and other appropriate services will be performed at the pastor’s discretion with the tradition of openness to all persons and in accordance with the policy and procedures of the church.