Meet Our Pastor
Rev. Grace Janeanne Baldridge
Rev. Grace Janeanne Baldridge was born in Dekalb, IL into the Dekalb First United Methodist Church. Perhaps she wasn’t born directly in to it, but it was pretty close. Her father David was the Youth Director at the church while working as a Social Worker. The church parsonage was open as the two pastors had their own places of residence. Grace’s mom was a Doctoral student in Education at NIU. Naturally, growing up in a church parsonage, an attached church parsonage more specifically, put Grace on a path to being an integral part of church life. The church trustees may or may not have known or minded Grace riding her Big Wheel in the church gym, or her and her sister Sarah playing hide and seek in the education building. But if they did, there was no comment made by them or the Reverends Kell or Holtsford.
When the family moved to Whitefish Bay, WI, the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay was less a place to ride a Big Wheel and more a place for 5 year old Grace to begin singing with the choir, playing bells and attending Sunday School and VBS. While there, Rev. Susan Patterson Sumwalt was one of Grace’s pastors and someone to look up to in the coming years. Grace attended Hamline University, a United Methodist College, in Saint Paul, MN for her four-year degree. She graduated in 2000 with a double major in Communications Studies and French Language.
While there she was a part of the choir, student government and college ministry. Grace and her fellow students helped to revive the United Methodist Student Movement in Minnesota. Leadership at the National level of UMSM allowed Grace to meet some of the future pastors of the UMC, future lifelong friends and Garrett seminary classmates.
After three years as a youth director in Albuquerque, NM in an ELCA church, Grace returned to the Midwest to begin her seminary education at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She graduated from Garrett in 2009. Grace has also been working on a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from St. Catherine’s University in Saint Paul, MN. Hopefully, she will finish that by the time Jesus Christ returns in all his glory.
Grace has been blessed to have been Licensed as a Local Pastor from 2006-2022. And is now commissioned as a Provisional Elder in the Wisconsin Conference. Pastor Grace has served Caldwell UMC in Mukwonago, Parkview UMC in Turtle Lake, Diamond Bluff-Ellsworth, and Hartland UMC and now for the past 8 years Durand UMC in Durand. At the four-and-a-half-year mark of serving at Durand UMC, Pastor Grace became appointed as well at the Ono-Plum City and Maiden Rock UMCs. The three churches became one charge in February 2018. On July 1, 2022, Pastor Grace began a new appointment at Hayward UMC in Hayward. She brings with her a love of singing, photography, and her almost 4-year-old Australian Shepherd, Hercules.
Grace says, “God’s faithfulness and welcome has been evident in every step of my ministry. A special thanks to my family, friends and mentors who have journeyed with me all the way.”