Pastor Gerhardt Miller serves Faith United Methodist Church in Sleepy Eye and Oakwood Methodist Church in New Ulm.

On Sunday, June 30, the congregations of Faith United Methodist Church in Sleepy Eye, and Oakwood Methodist Church in New Ulm, welcomed their new pastor, Rev. Dr. Gerhardt Miller, and his family, with a potluck dinner after church services at Oakwood. Miller came to this area after serving as pastor at Parish of the Hills: First UMC, Bethel UMC, and Linden UMC in Mineral Point, Wis.

Asked how he preferred to be addressed — Pastor Miller? Pastor Gerhardt? Miller said, “Call me Gerhardt.”

(That’s for conversation, for this article we’ll stick with Miller.)

Miller and his wife, Ling, and their 8-year-old daughter, Heidi, live in New Ulm. Miller has two more children, a 12-year old daughter, Sophie, who lives in South Carolina with her mother, and a son, Hans, who is a sophomore at UW-Madison.

“We love the people here,” said Miller. “They’ve been very gracious and helpful to this family new to Minnesota. I always say, ‘Where you feel love, that’s home’.”

The Sleepy Eye and New Ulm area is not much different from the Miller’s last home in Wisconsin, so they are comfortable here. Miller is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, but has adjusted to small town life.

“We love the rural area,” he said, “and the communities and congregations are so welcoming.”

Miller shared his passion for the Church, written in response to introductory questions for the Southern Prairie District of the Minnesota Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church:

“The Church is called to represent God’s grace. We are all included in the invitation to participate in a great purpose: love. That means we are called to manifest a divine love that a) is inclusive and affirming, reaching out to all, b) is redemptive, elevating all of God’s children to higher purpose, and c) saves humanity from harmful forces from within and from without. The Church, at its best, is a dynamic force of good in our world, in all manner of social settings and personal circumstances.”

Miller looks forward to learning more about the congregation members he serves and the communities that his family are now part of.

Miller earned his Master of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary in 1986. He left the work of ministry in 1989, to attend art school (ask to see his beautiful paintings.) Miller worked as a self-employed artist, and adjunct faculty member at community colleges in Baltimore, until 1996, when he moved to China and worked at universities and colleges there as a foreign teacher.

Miller re-entered the ministry in 2002 and earned a Doctor of Ministry, again at Wesley Theological Seminary, in 2010.