Meet Our Pastor

julie 2-6-16

          Pastor Julie Goranson has been privileged to serve Grace United Church of Christ, first as Licensed Lay Pastor since April, 2012. She served as Co-Pastor until June 1, 2016, when she was called to be the full time Pastor of Grace UCC, Wausau, WI.
Rev. Julie writes:
“I am a Minnesota native, born and raised in Hastings, MN, a small town south of St. Paul on the Mississippi River.   While growing up, I participated in many activities; church, choir, dance, Girl Scouts, band, musicals and operettas. While in high school, I was as a state officer in a student organization and worked part-time as a receptionist for a large beauty salon. I attended college at the University of St. Thomas, majoring in business administration with emphasis in accounting. While at St. Thomas, I worked in a number of jobs; fry cook in a student restaurant, the library, catering, retail apparel sales, student aide in the business administration department, internships in banking and public accounting. Following graduation, I was employed in public accounting in Bloomington, MN, as a taxation specialist. Soon after beginning my professional career, I was married. After my son Daniel was born, I began work as the Executive director of a small non-profit focused on assisting low-income individuals and businesses with tax and accounting issues. The non-profit also conducted classes for start-up businesses and non-profits in accounting and assisted other small non-profits with tax issues. Upon the birth of my second son, Kevin, I became a full-time mother, using my business skills by serving on the board and as treasurer of a student housing cooperative and as vice president and then president of a graduate student spouses’ support group.
My family moved to Overland Park, KS, in 1992 to allow my husband to continue his studies. While living there, I became a volunteer at my son’s elementary school and served on the PTA. In 1994, my son, Matthew was born. Completion of my husband’s studies and a job search brought us all to Wausau in 1995. This move allowed us to put down roots in this community. My two oldest sons were in elementary school and I became involved in volunteering in their classrooms and with their school, scouting and sporting activities. I sang with Wausau Pro Musica, eventually serving as President of the group and guiding their incorporation as a non-profit organization. Serving as president of Bridging the Gap Childcare, I supervised the hiring of a new director. My kids and I joined First Presbyterian Church, where I taught Sunday school and Wednesday night kids’ activities, sang in the choir, and served as a deacon, creating a partnership with Franklin Elementary School and growing the Christmas Angels program. Later, as an elder and head of the mission committee, the Community Suppers program began and two mission trips to Katrina ravaged New Orleans happened.
Once all my children were in school, I enrolled at UWMC, taking courses in creative writing, psychology and even statistics. I thought that I would continue coursework in psychology, leading to a graduate degree in that field, but, it just didn’t feel like I was doing what I was supposed to do. Following much searching and much denial, I realized I was being called to ministry. In 2007, I enrolled at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, an ecumenical and UCC seminary, and began part-time studies. This time in my life involved many changes; divorce, single parenting, and changing denominational affiliation.
Happily in 2011, I joined Grace UCC and was licensed in 2012 to provide sabbatical coverage during Rev. Wayne’s absence. My licensure was continued so that I could continue serving Grace UCC while in seminary, allowing me to gain valuable experience. Following graduation from seminary in 2014, I served as Co-Pastor in a  Shared Ministry at Grace. I was called to be the Full-Time Pastor at Grace UCC beginning June 1, 2016.
My current community involvement includes serving on the Marathon County Domestic Abuse Intervention Team, and volunteering at The Women’s Community as a receptionist and spiritual advocate. I relax by doing yoga, learning new things and keeping up with friends and family, especially my darling granddaughter.”
Julie enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, golf and yoga, as well as reading and spending time with friends and family.
Pastor Julie shares: “Grace United Church of Christ has embraced and supported me in my journey through seminary and ministry in a manner that truly exemplifies this congregation’s name. God’s unlimited grace, mercy and love is at work here. Like our sign over the entrance says, ‘Jesus didn’t reject anyone and neither do we.’ All are affirmed and supported here.”



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