The Pastor

Pastor Marianne Cotter

Hi.  My name is Marianne Cotter. I’ve been pastor of First UMC Baraboo since 2014.  I love serving this church for many reasons. Here are two: it’s great to be pastor of a church that does hands-on mission twice every week, through our Neighborly Free Store.  I also love serving here because there are so many people here who love God and truly want to do the right thing.  This church deserves its reputation in town for being “the church that helps people.”  (Check out our Missions page and you’ll see a list of what we do.)

Here are a few facts about me:

  • I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • My home church is First Unitarian Society in Madison.
  • From 1984 – 1991, I served as a Unitarian Universalist minister, helping small churches that wanted to grow.
  • I became a Christian as an adult (It happened when I took Communion for the first time, at Marsh Chapel at Boston University School of Theology. I was twenty-six. Ever since that day, I have tried to keep God revealed in Jesus Christ at the center of my life. )
  • My husband Jim and I met in seminary. We’ve been married since 1985.
  • For six years, I was an ‘at-home mom’ to Samuel (born in 1987) and Carl (born in 1990).
  • I’ve served as a pastor in the Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist church since 1997.
  • I like to play piano, cook, read novels, ride my electric bike to the fitness center three times a week to get exercise.
  • I’m mother-in-law to Kimberly (who married Samuel in 2010) and Brianna (who married Carl in 2015) and grandmother of Amelia (born in 2013) and Hannah (born in 2016).

Here’s my “why” (what gets me out of bed in the morning): no matter how bad things get in the world, change is possible.  That’s true for society in general, and it’s true on a personal level.  Social justice is one of my passions.  I love helping churches to be part of changing the world for the better.  And I love helping people who want to grow spiritually. Both of these things happen here at First UMC Baraboo.

That’s a bit about me.  I hope to learn more about you, when you visit our congregation. Join us and become part of the good things God is doing in this place!