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. 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 the ways we show love in action.)  During this time of COVID-19, we are finding new, creative ways to be in ministry with the Baraboo community.  Rooted in God, we are stronger together, reaching out to others.  We’d love to have you join us!

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 my two (now adult) boys.
  • I’ve served as a pastor in the Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist church since 1997.
  • For fun, I like to play piano, cook, and read the “New York Times.”
  • I’m a mother-in-law twice over and a grandmother of two amazing girls.

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.

COVID-19 is big but God is bigger.  In-person worship may be suspended for now, but the work of the church continues!  Join us as we follow God’s leading in this current time.