Clark County Press, Neillsville, Clark Co., WI

December 1, 2010, Page 2

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon


Mohr retiring after serving 10 years at UCC



Neillsville United Church of Christ Pastor James Mohr, who enjoys studying history, posed in front of the many books in his church office. After 10 years pasturing the church, Mohr plans to retire in January. (Photo by Peter Spicer/Clark County Press)


By Peter Spicer


After nearly 40 years in ministry and over 10 years at Neillsville’s United Church of Christ (UCC), Pastor James Mohr will retire at the beginning of next year.


Mohr has been pastored Neillsville’s UCC, located at 515 West Second Street, since April 2000 and will attend his last Sunday service Jan. 9, 2011.


“I like to tell people I started on April Fool’s Day 2000,” said Mohr with a smile.


Mohr is a third generation pastor since his father and grandfather – who emigrated from Germany – were both pastors.  Mohr’s father pastored several congregations in multiple states; therefore, the family moved a few times when Mohr was growing up.  He was born in Illinois, moved to Minnesota and then moved once again to Sheboygan, where he graduated high school.


Mohr’s decision to become a pastor was not made immediately after high school – he initially studied to become a history teacher.


However, Mohr decided during his college studies to become a pastor and follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps.


“I always had an interest in issues of faith,” explained Mohr.


Mohr graduated from Lakeland College in Sheboygan, received a Master’s degree from Kent State University in Kent, OH, and completed seminary at Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis.  He nearly completed a doctorate degree – which included a thesis about the Swiss Reformation – at UW-Madison while pasturing his first UCC church in Milton, which is the state’s third oldest UCC church.


After eight years in Milton, Mohr was named pastor at a Ripon UCC church.  He pastored there for nearly 20 years until his children graduated from high school.


With just Mohr and his wife, Karen, at home, he decided he “could use a fresh challenge” and accepted the job of pastor at Neillsville’s UCC, which has approximately 350 members and averages 130 congregants each Sunday morning.


During Mohr’s 10 years at Neillsville’s UCC, he enjoyed “a number of good things” that took place at the church.


During Mohr’s tenure as pastor, he received a different office area which includes additional space to converse with others.  An elevator and stained glass windows were added to the church during Mohr’s time at UCC.


Mohr was able to witness others grow in their faith and enjoys the church’s adult education class, titled the Laity Empowerment Project, that helps congregants grow in their faith and “become more whole people,” said Mohr.


“[Class members have] grown from it,” stated Mohr.


Karen Mohr has also been involved with the church and is involved with its musical groups, especially children’s musical groups.  Karen leads the “Chimers,” a children’s hand bell group at the church.


Although Mohr gave up thoughts of becoming a history teacher, he maintained his love of history through-out his pastorate career and put it to good use by helping several historical groups.


Mohr helped co-write “That All May Be One,” a book of historical essays about the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, written in 2007.


Mohr is also the chair of the Historical Committee for the Wisconsin’s Conference of UCC and is working to help publish a book giving a brief, one-page-per-church history about each state UCC church.


At Neillsville’s UCC, Mohr is attempting to locate pictures of each pastor and display then on a church wall.


Initially, the Mohrs plan to stay in Neillsville after James retirement and enjoy the house they purchased after first moving to Neillsville.


Mohr “has really enjoyed [the home],” which is the first home they owned and put a great deal of work into remodeling it.


Although they will remain in Neillsville initially, the Mohrs will find a new congregation to attend in order to allow the new UCC pastor to adjust.  The new pastor will probably be an intern pastor until a new pastor is named, said Mohr, who explained a full-time pastor could be named within six months to a year after he retires.


In addition to historical projects Mohr will keep busy with his many hobbies, including cross-country skiing and mountain biking.  He plans to compete in several cross-country ski races this winter and also enjoys biking at Levis Mound and the city arboretum in his spare time.


Although Mohr isn’t sure what the future holds after his retirement, he encouraged many at Neillsville’s UCC to grow in their faith and has enjoyed helping them do so.





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