Who Are We?

Mizpah UCC is a moderate to progressive congregation dedicated to spreading Christ's good news of God's extravagant welcome.

We can enthusiastically lift up Mizpah as a welcoming, justice-minded Christian community. At a time when religion is too often portrayed as narrow-minded and exclusive, we hope to raise our voices for an alternate vision:

  • Where God is all-loving and inclusive
  • Where the Church of Jesus Christ welcomes and accepts everyone as they are
  • Where your mind is nourished as much as your soul
  • Where Jesus heals and seeks social justice
  • Where together we grow a just and peaceful world

‘...and the pillar was called Mizpah, for he said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other.’”  Genesis 31:49





Garth Schumacher
Interim Pastor

Rev. Garth Schumacher is serving the blessed community of Mizpah UCC as Intentional Interim Minister.  Before beginning at Mizpah, Garth traveled on a sabbatical for three months with his wife, Rev. Norma Rae Hunt to Ireland and Iona Scotland to study Celtic Christianity. Along with other interims, Garth has served as the Executive Director of the Resource Center for Churches.  The RCC supports the ministries of the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopal, and UCC denominations in Minnesota.  Earlier in his career, Rev. Schumacher served Union Congregational Churches of both St. Louis Park and Elk River as Associate Minister; and as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Minnesota Conference.  In his “other life” Garth was a professional actor performing at Chanhassen Theater, Minnesota Opera, Children’s Theater, The History Theater, and various movies including The Mighty Ducks, and Herman USA. He is honored to have been called to this congregation and hopes and prays that our combined ministries will grow in Spirit and God’s love!

Nancy Johnsen
Administration, Education

Nancy has served Mizpah as Administrator, Sunday School Coordinator, and Youth Programs Director for 17 years.  In her Youth Program Director role, she co-leads YOUth events, collaborates with volunteers to design and teach class curricula, as well as plans, coordinates and manages Mission Trips. As Sunday School Coordinator, Nancy works closely with the minister to blend the Church School curriculum within the worship experience.  Before worship, Nancy sets up creative tasks which meld the day's scripture within the Children's Message itself!  In her administrative role, she acts as the central nervous system for the church, coordinating membership, facilities use, performing some accounting tasks, creating and disseminating the Mizpah Messenger newsletter, as well as administering the social media and website communications.  Nancy says that this is “the best of all possible jobs” and is passionate about her work with church members, and especially children and youth.  It Shows!

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Andy Pokel
Music Director

Andy Pokel grew up in Neenah, WI and attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where he studied K-12 Vocal Music Education. After graduation, Andy toured for two years with Missoula Children's Theatre, bringing theater and music education to thousands of children in twelve states and two provinces. In 2011, Andy relocated to Houston, TX, where he taught middle school music, wrote and directed an original musical, and instructed students with special needs. Andy returned to the midwest in 2013, joining the staff at Mizpah United Church of Christ and continuing to teach vocal music. In his free time, Andy writes and records music, enjoys walks along Minnehaha Creek, and cooks up a storm. Andy is very grateful to work with such talented, dedicated musicians, and to be part of the Mizpah family.

Charles Scarborough
Organist and Pianist

Charles Scarborough grew up in Shakopee where his mother was also an organist and pianist.  He earned his bachelor’s in piano performance from Macalester College where he studied with Beatrice Giere.  Charlie went on to study and work with many other local musicians, including Edward Berryman, organist at Westminster Church.  Since then, Charlie has held positions at numerous churches, schools and colleges, including Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis and Calvin Presbyterian in Long Lake   He is currently accompanist at Benilde St. Margaret in St. Louis Park, and maintains a private teaching studio in addition to his position at Mizpah UCC as organist and pianist.  Charlie loves to play for church services and believes it to be the highest calling of a musician.  He currently lives in Hopkins and enjoys biking and everything else with his 14 year-old son. 

Church Leadership

Sue Scully

Sherry Niles
At Large

Cindy Clint


T. David Williams
Moderator Elect

Mark Scully

Bink Semmer
At Large


Andy Babula

Kris Edmonds
Combined Boards



Sarah Woodyard
At Large