Meet Our Pastors!
Pastor Pam Harkema - Serving the Liberty Pole, New Hope and Retreat United Methodist Churches
As a pastor of one of the charges in the Driftless Regional Ministry, I serve three congregations: Liberty Pole UMC south of Viroqua, New Hope UMC in De Soto, and Retreat UMC. While spread apart geographically, these three unique churches are bound together in their love for the Lord and their call to serve the community.
I was active in the United Methodist Church as a lay speaker and music leader for more than 20 years, and never thought I would do more than that. But God always wants us to grow. I was called to pastoral ministry in 2015 from a professional career in marketing and communications related fields. I served for three years at the Randolph and Courtland United Methodist Churches and moved to serve the Driftless area in 2018. As a Licensed Local Pastor, I am taking seminary coursework through Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio and with the Native American Course of Study which connects me with native peoples from all over the country. I feel blessed to have the experience of such a rounded education.
Above all, I believe we are relationship people. This means we are connected to each other uniquely. We care for each other. We learn from each other. We grow in our faith when we worship God and serve together.
As God’s creation, God seeks to have an active relationship with us: Our relationship with our Creator God, with the Son Christ, and with the Holy Spirit means we are called to be humble, to listen, to hear God’s calling on our lives, and to respond with joy.
Most of the time, God calls us to take a small step each day. Every day God places a person in our path who we can uplift. Every day, God gives us an opportunity to learn something, experience something, feel something, and do something that aligns us more closely with our life purpose. What a mighty blessing that is! We are never asked to do more than God knows we are capable of doing because we are never asked to do anything alone. God is with us always.
Join us at one of the Driftless Regional Ministry churches on Sunday and walk with us on a faith journey for a connected and deeper relationship with God.
Pastor Pam Harkema
Pastor Erika Martinez-Flores - Serving the Viroqua and Westby United Methodist Churches
My name is Erika Jezael Martínez-Flores, I was born at Mexico City. My husband’s name is Rev. Jorge Alberto Ochoa-Lonji and we have been happily married for 11 years. We don't have human children, but we have two “furry girls”, a dog named "Winky" and a cat named "Rosita".
I'm an ordained pastor of the Methodist Church of Mexico and was ordained in 2009. I have bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Methodist Seminary "Dr. Gonzalo Baéz-Camargo" and a bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, both in Mexico City.
We arrived in the USA six years ago in North Carolina, and my first appointment in North Carolina was as the Executive Director at El Refugio Family Resource Center at Jonesboro UMC, an outreach to migrant community. I have been in Wisconsin for over two years and I served as a pastor at Whitewater Area Regional Ministry at two of their four churches: Richmond UMC and Bethel UMC.
Now, my husband and I, we have received the Call to serve in the Southwest District; my husband in the congregations of Faith UMC, Dell UMC and La Farge UMC. For my part I will be serving in Viroqua UMC and Westby UMC.
I grew up in a Methodist family, my faith and the way I understand my ministry is based on the principles of Wesleyan biblical-theological. I believe that the people of God should bear witness to the love of God through our interrelationship with others. I believe that we are called to ground the foundations of social justice, peace and a full life for the Kingdom of God. I believe that there is no sanctity without social sanctity.
Therefore, my ministry has focused on serving my churches and my community through concrete acts of love. My leadership is based on finding ways for our communities of faith to be the light and the salt, that is, to help transform the environment to which we belong.
I'm so excited and honored to be serving at these two beautiful churches. We will certainly face new challenges, and with them we will have the opportunity to grow together and be blessed. May the love of God be what keeps us firm and united, may His Holy Spirit inspire us each day and may Our Lord accompany us in our journey as brothers and friends.