The Rev. Sarah Gengler of First Presbyterian Church in Schuyler found the ministry after starting in journalism.

Liz Morales, Lee Enterprises

A good work ethic has always been an important value for the Rev. Sarah Gengler, who was raised on a dairy farm in southwest Minnesota.

For the past year and a-half home has been Schuyler, where she serves at First Presbyterian Church.

However, the ministry was not Gengler’s first career choice.

“When I was an undergrad, my major was political science with an emphasis in journalism,” she said. “My first reporting job was with The Messenger in Fort Dodge, Iowa. My beat was education there. I loved writing the feature stories about students and things going on at the school.”

Sundays in Fort Dodge were spent at church, where she befriended the youth pastor. This friendship opened a door for Gengler.

“I took a look at what she did for the youth and told her, ‘I would love to do what you do,’” Gengler said. “After I found out I didn’t need a degree to work in that field, I started as soon as I could. I got to work with preschool to college-aged kids and felt a pull to something more.”

This pull was toward the ministry.

“I got to see that there are too many people at the lowest point in their lives,” she said. “They need to know that God is there for them, and I can be their reminder.”

Gengler graduated in 2014 with a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. She served at Federated Church in Brookston, Indiana, before making a change a little over a year later.

“In the Presbyterian Church, we get to choose where we want to serve,” she said. “There are no assignments or anything like that. We are able to find our own parishes by relying on the Holy Spirit to call us. That is how I chose Schuyler. I saw so much outreach here and bridge-building that can take place.”

Another draw is the community's diversity.

“I wanted to be in a place that was diverse in the people and community,” she said. “This work that can be done together is beautiful and glorifying to God and it can broaden horizons just by taking that step of faith."

Gengler, who also serves as the Schuyler Police Department chaplain, enjoys spending time in the kitchen.

“I love to bake,” she said. “I like to bake anything. Cookies, homemade lasagna, just anything. It relaxes me."

Gengler says her plan is to be in Schuyler "long-term.”

“I love what I do and I love this church,” she said. “This church and community have been a blessing to me and I can only pray I’ve been a blessing to them.”


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