Pastor looks back at 1st year at Methodist church

Ziegler works part time with Clintonville flock
By: 

Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent


Photo by Grace Kirchner Diana Ziegler became the part-time pastor for Clintonville United Methodist Church in July 2018. She currently resides in Seymour but has expressed interest in relocating to Clintonville.

It will be one year ago July 1 that Diana Ziegler became the first part-time pastor at the First United Methodist Church at 24 13th St., Clintonville.

“Everybody is so warm and welcoming. I feel very welcome here,” Ziegler said.

She is originally from Marinette but now resides in Seymour. She spent 10 years going to school in Superior where she studied theater and music. She spent 10 years in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where she obtained her secondary education certification.

She met her husband, Dave, in Minnesota. They spent time in Ohio, but Ziegler said she did not want to raise her family there.

Her husband accepted a managerial job in retail in Appleton, and they moved to Seymour.

Ziegler has been a special education teacher and worked with alternative education for high school students who were at risk of not graduating. She worked for two years as the family engagement coordinator for CESA 8 while completing coursework to become a pastor.

It seems Ziegler was always teaching and learning. When she was putting her transcripts together, she contacted six universities. Along with her busy schedule, she and her husband became involved with foster care. As a result, four of their six children are adopted, three of which had special needs. Only one son still resides with them in Seymour.

Ziegler said that she had been raised Catholic and her husband had been raised Lutheran, but neither of them had been actively attending a church. About 15 years ago, they joined the Methodist church near their home. Seven years ago, she began attending church regularly and studying the Bible and becoming actively involved. She began investigating the “call” story.

“It wasn’t as if God hit me with a brick a couple of times to figure out that I wanted to become a pastor. It was a gradual thing,” Ziegler said.

There was an in-depth scrutinization and evaluation period before she was approved by the ministry to become a candidate as a lay supply pastor. In June 2018, she became a licensed local pastor.

Ziegler said her husband has been incredibly supportive of her decisions.

“I told him that if I go ahead with this, his life would change, because our son’s needs would be more his responsibility, and he agreed,” she said.

When the position at the church in Clintonville became available, she met with the staff relations parish committee and spent time with the district superintendent, and she said it was a good fit.

“Sandy Loberg has been the church secretary here for the past 40-plus years, and she has been a godsend. She knows everybody,” Ziegler said.

If there is one thing that has surprised Ziegler about being the pastor, it is the administrative aspect, which is a lot of work, she said.

Ziegler said Clintonville is a good place to be. She likes the small town. She has had the thought of moving here from Seymour, depending upon the future of her position.

“The people have been so supportive. They know I am only here part time, and they will ask if there is anything they can help with,” Ziegler said. “I love them all.”