Christine Bergquist retiring after 30 years in ministry
BARK RIVER — Pastor Christine Bergquist of the Bark River and Hermansville United Methodist Churches is retiring after 30 years of ministry.
Bergquist began her ministry in 1990 when she became a Licensed Local Pastor in the Detroit Annual Conference and Marquette District of the United Methodist Church. She began her course of study at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., continued at Appalachian Local Pastors School in Wilmington, Ky., and completed her studies in Delaware, Ohio, graduating from METHESCO in 2001. She started serving her home church at Bark River in 1990 as a quarter-time local pastor, and the Hermansville parish was added to her ministry in 2010.
In addition to local parish ministry, Bergquist has served on both Cursillo and Emmaus Walks as team member and spiritual director. She currently volunteers with OSF Hospice of Escanaba and has served as chaplain for five years. Outreach ministries have included worship services at Pinecrest, Bishop Noa nursing facilities, and Cedar Hill Assisted Living. She serves as chaplain for American Legion Auxiliary, Post 438, in Bark River and is a coordinator for the senior meals program in Bark River.
Bergquist expresses her thanks to God for the blessing of serving Him through parish and extension ministries, and for all the people who have been a part of her life through that time. During her 30-year pastorate, she has baptized infants and children, watched them grow through church school years (Kids-for-Christ), had them as confirmation students, celebrated their graduations from school, presided at their weddings, and now has baptized some of their children.
“It’s been such a blessing to be a part of people’s lives for so many years and watch that circle of life continue,” she said.
She has been at the bedside of many dear saints as they passed from this earthly life, claiming it is like experiencing a birth.
“When one believes in God, it is such a joy to know they are ‘birthed’ into eternal life. That’s the bottom line of the good news of Christ that I have tried to share these past 30 years,” she said.
Bergquist has seen many changes through her years of ministry.
“When I began, I was one of very few women pastors in the Marquette District, so it was like being a ‘pioneer’. Also, there weren’t many local pastors serving at that time. Now, almost half of the churches on the newly renamed Northern Skies District are served by local pastors. Recently, the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences came together to establish the new Michigan Conference. Issues and debates on the conference floor have brought about new understanding in many areas,” said Bergquist.
Bergquist will have her last worship service at Bark River and Hermansville on June 28, with full retirement beginning July 1. Because of COVID-19, a celebration is being planned sometime later in July. Bergquist and her husband, Gary, look forward to traveling and sight-seeing around the states.
“I couldn’t have had the blessing of being in ministry if it wasn’t for my ‘silent partner,’ Gary. He has helped in so many ways, serving alongside of me from day one,” said Bergquist.
Gary and Bergquist have a daughter, Erin, and son-in-law, Jesse; two grandchildren, Isabella and Ashton; as well as a son, Ross. Family and friends time will continue to fill their lives.