Welcome to the Driftless Regional Ministries!

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What is the Driftless Regional Ministry?

Driftless Regional Ministry - driftlessministry.orgThe Driftless Regional Ministry is a network of churches spread out across the Driftless Region of western Wisconsin.  Those four United Methodist churches are: Faith on Salem Ridge, New Hope in Red Mound/rural De Soto, Retreat, and Westby.

We are the product of an opportunity that arose in the winter of 2015-2016.  New Hope and Retreat United Methodist Churches in rural De Soto were facing a situation.  Their pastor was going into retirement in July of 2016 and they were now in the search for a new pastor.  After much prayer and searching, Pastor Judie Jacobson (New Hope/Retreat) and Pastor Jim Aniol (Faith/Westby) proposed an idea.  It was the formation of a new ministry network. The four churches would combine into one larger family of faith.  Together, the four churches would be able to work together much more effectively in fulfilling the Great Commision:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

And from this idea, the Driftless Regional Ministry became established on July 1st, 2016.

 

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Faith UMC

New Hope UMC
Retreat UMC
Westby UMC

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Meet our pastor!

Pastor Jim Aniol - Driftless Regional Ministries
Pastor Jim Aniol & his wife Christy - Driftless Regional Ministry

Pastor Jim Aniol

After thirty plus years in business in the Chicago area, I was always in positions of leadership, yet I was always seeking something, never fully satisfied with my career or religious life.

Fast forward to today, and I find at age 59, that I am finally doing what God created me to do, pastor His churches. I wake up every morning thanking God for calling me to ministry, and preparing me to lead part of His flock. Having worked almost an entire career in business has prepared me mentally, technically, and educationally for the life of an itinerant United Methodist Church pastor.

In 2007, at age 49, I moved my wife Christy, and daughter Elizabeth, to De Pere Wisconsin. I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel loved by the Father, walking with Jesus and filled by the Holy Spirit. In 2008 I was invited to attend New Hope UMC in De Pere and for the first time in my life I felt part of a Christian community, heard preaching that inspired me and finally uplifted my spirit. I began to study the Bible for the first time in my life and God began to place additional key players in my life.  During Bible study, certain verses began to speak to me, among the most significant were.

39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:39-40 (NRSV)

So in verse 39, if you are to love your neighbor as yourself, how could you not invite them to church?  After all, that is how I was directed to true Christian community. If I love my neighbors and friends shouldn’t I share what I have? And in the following verses from Matthew, Jesus gave me my marching orders when He told me to “Go”. 

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NRSV)

 After being selected to be the Evangelism Lead, our evangelism team started to attend outreach events and get involved in the community. I was now inspired by the Holy Spirit and hungry for a deeper relationship with my God. My Bible study teacher detected this need and served as my sponsor for the Fox Valley Walk to Emmaus in April 2012.  This weekend was the most spiritual event to occur in my life up to this point, a major turning point in my life, it was here that I found out about the Local Licensed Pastor path to ministry. 

After the Walk I knew that things would never be the same, but I had no idea how drastically my life was about to change.  I received my answer during a sermon in May 2012 when I clearly heard the word “Lead” and I felt the message to my very core, it felt like Jesus was hugging my heart, it was a feeling that I shouldn’t do anything else much less argue with my Savior, but I did anyway, saying that I am managing people, and then He repeated “Lead”. With tears in my eyes, I grabbed Christy’s hand and told her that we have to talk. Later at lunch when I told Christy what had happened she said “well, you can’t argue with God”, and I began to investigate the next steps and those steps led me to Westby Wisconsin to be appointed to Faith and Westby.

New Hope and Retreat were added to my charge when Pastor Judie Jacobson retired and the Driftless Regional Ministry was created with the purpose to reach out to the least and the lost as Paul directs us to in Romans 10:14-15 (NLT)

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Hidden meaning of the Driftless Regional Ministry Logo!

There's more to it than you think!

Driftless Regional Ministry Logo

Meaning of the Driftless Regional Ministry Logo

There is more to our logo than just the beautiful scenery of the Driftless Region and the United Methodist Cross.

In the center of our logo is the light of this world, the sun. For us, the light of our world is the Son, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Flowing from the Son of God is living water. Once we have this living water, we never thirst again.

But there is also a divided land, a land divided by a wide deep chasm. There are two ways to get across a chasm. The first is to go down one side, cross the body of water and climb up the other side. This takes a long time, and a lot of energy. The other way to get across a chasm is more efficient.  You can use it every time you want to get to the other side, you build a bridge.

Bridges are built between people through relationships, just like Jesus did every time he entered a new town. Bridges heal divides between people and create understanding.

The bridge between God & Us - Driftless Regional Ministry

The relation between God & Us in the Driftless Regional Ministry logo

A more significant vision that the bridge brings to mind is a quick sketch that evangelists like to use to explain the relationship between God and us.

Can’t you see our logo in this picture? That’s what we see! But there’s more.

This picture shows us that all humans are on the left side, divided and separated from God.  There is only one way across the chasm between us and God, Jesus and His sacrificial death on the cross.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6 (NIV)
and
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." ~ John 3:17-18 (NIV)

There are a few other things that we see in our logo.

  1. The chasm also divides us, the families that make up the United Methodist churches of Faith, New Hope, Retreat and Westby, from those that have not yet heard the Word of God. This chasm can only be breached when we bring Jesus and the Good News of salvation to the people on the other side.
  2. The flame of the Holy Spirit rises from the base of the cross and the living water.

What do you see in our logo?