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First Baptist welcomes interim pastor

Pastor Jim Winter

Ministry is third vocation for the Rev. Jim Winter

The Rev. Jim Winter has taken the pulpit at First Baptist Church of Hudson following the recent retirement of the Rev. Randy Fredrikson, the former pastor.

Winter will serve as the interim pastor until the church calls a new pastor. The search process could take up to a year or more.

This will be Winter's third stint as an interim pastor after having previously served the congregations of Woodbury Baptist and Woodbury Community Church.

Prior to that, he was on the pastoral staff at Woodland Hills Church for eight and a half years. Woodland Hills is the St. Paul mega-church led by Senior Pastor Greg Boyd.

Winter was the care pastor during much of his time at Woodland Hills. In that role, he would do pastoral counseling, conduct weddings and funerals, and visit the sick in hospitals.

The 63-year-old Winter came to the ministry late in life, after vocations as an engineer for the Milwaukee Road Railroad and as an electronics technician.

He began thinking about the ministry during a three-month period when he was laid up with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Dissatisfied with his work and the direction of life, Winter said he had a conversation with God about what he should be doing.

Then he asked himself what he liked doing. The theology books he enjoyed reading provided a clue.

Winter entered seminary with the goal of graduating by the time he was 50 -- and succeeded in doing it at age 48. He began at Luther Seminary in St. Paul and finished at Bethel Seminary, the Baptist seminary also located in St. Paul.

"I love the ministry. I really do," Winter said.

He sees his role at First Baptist as helping the congregation prepare to welcome a new pastor.

Winter enjoys the relational nature of a smaller church and a community like Hudson.

He said that before taking over the pulpit at First Baptist on July 1, he had mostly passed through Hudson on Interstate 94 bound for other places.

He's liked what he's found since coming here on an almost daily basis.

"I like the small-town thing," he said, surprised the find it so close to the Twin Cities metropolitan area and its 3 million people.

"I can't wait to explore more and meet more people," he said.

Winter also is intrigued by First Baptist's 160-year history. Officially founded in 1852, the church is the oldest in Hudson, with a sanctuary built in 1866.

"I've been imagining the days when the town started," he said.

Winter is a native of Milwaukee. He and his wife of 37 years, Willie Love-Winter, both completed their undergraduate studies at UW-Whitewater.