Bio: Gilbert, Rev. Marlea (Installation - 2009)

Contact:: Robert Lipprandt


Surnames: Dix, Gilbert, Schultz 

----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, Clark Co., WI), Wednesday, October 1, 2009, Online Edition 

Yoked parishes welcome new minister. By Ben Schultz. 

The Rev. Marlea Gilbert will come in as an interim minister at First United Church of Christ in Colby and Christ United Church in Athens. 

She is a native of Wisconsin and calls Baraboo home between interim assignments. She also lived in Iowa and Minnesota growing up. 

Gilbert went to college at UW-Stevens Point before earning a bachelors degree in architecture at the University of Minnesota. She worked as an architect for a number of years before joining the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in the 1990s.

Gilbert explained the uncommon transition of careers as a matter of fascination with people. While she was designing law offices she found she was actually more interested in how everybody got along in those offices. 

"I wasn’t quite doing what I had hoped I’d be doing," she said. While she still worked as an architect in her first few years in the seminary she eventually had to choose one over the other. Gilbert was ordained as a minister in 1996. 

She headed to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois before earning a Ph.D. in liturgical studies and congregational studies. 

Gilbert said serving as an interim minister means helping churches through the transitions that come after a long-time leader has left. Rev. Ken Dix, her predecessor, served the two churches for 44 years. She said now congregations should ask themselves some significant questions. 

"What does it mean to be the church in Colby or Athens or wherever we are?" she said. "It’s time for people to think a lot more deeply and broadly about their church." 

Gilbert will try a few new things with both congregations. She said it’s typical for an interim minister to try out new things like music and technology when they step into a new pulpit. 

"It can be a time to experiment, but that doesn’t mean we have to set a pattern," she said.

Gilbert will also be calling on the congregations to think about what has been successful in both the church and the broader community. She hopes events like potlucks and group discussions will help them as they enter a new era. 

"How do we remember what is good about the past, and how do we build on what we’ve done?" she asked.



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