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Popular Elcho congregation offers warm welcome to new pastor, Rev. Dana Schindler
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Elcho United Church of Christ, known as the village’s “community church,” has welcomed a new pastor.

Rev. Dana Schindler began duties at the congregation, know for its local philanthropic efforts, earlier this summer, coming to the ministry after a career in education and speech therapy.

“I felt called to the ministry in high school and all through the years I have still felt that pull,” she said. “It was one of those things that kept niggling on me.”

Schindler became a world traveler at an early age, growing up in the military family before settling in Huntsville, Ala. where she received a degree in speech pathology and taught school for nine years.

Her husband, David, was also in the military and the couple met in Germany, where she was a speech therapist for the Department of Defense.

They later were stationed as Fort Knox and then settled in St. Louis, where he was employed as a systems analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank and she continued work as a speech therapist.

At age 49, Schindler decided on a career change.

“I decided it was time to go to seminary,” she said, adding that it is not a uncommon decision. “There were a lot of us who were 40-plus.”

Schindler studied at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis and, for a time, worked as a fill-in pastor for congregations in Missouri and Illinois. In March, she attended a search and call program at the seminary, where she was out into contact with a recruiter from Wisconsin.

“She painted a very nice picture of the area and, with our son graduating high school, we decided it would be a great time to move,” she said.

Telephone interviews with members of the church’s search committee followed.

“Everything just seemed to click,” she said.

Schindler began duties on June 29, just seven days after her ordination. Her husband remained in St. Louis until his retirement became official at the end of July. Their son Joshua, 18, is continuing his studies in the St. Louis area.

At Elcho, Schindler said she “sees a group of people who want to work together to make things happen. Everyone is really super nice.”

The church is strong, with food pantry open to the community and an extremely active Men’s Club, she said, and she is already making plans to increase outreach with the local schools and add children’s programming.

“Hopefully we can keep this church as a center of the community,” she said.




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Rev. Dana Schindler, the new pastor of Elcho United Church of Christ, known as the town’s “community church.”
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