Ahlschwede to succeed Anglemyer in Missouri River

David Burke


A 28-year veteran pastor and the current chair of the Great Plains Conference’s board of trustees has been selected as the Missouri River District superintendent.

Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede
The Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, 55, will begin at the start of the appointive year on July 1. She will succeed the Rev. Dr. Chad Anglemyer.

“Stephanie has the skillset needed to serve as a superintendent and knows that area very well. She has much respect from her colleagues and from laity in the annual conference,” Bishop David Wilson said in a statement. “I appreciate her zeal and passion for Christ and her desire to serve all of God’s people. She will be a great asset to the cabinet and certainly to the district.”

Ahlschwede currently is serving a senior pastor at St. Paul Benson UMC in Omaha.

“I just have such great respect for Bishop Wilson that if he is going to ask me to do this of course I’ll say ‘yes,’” she said. “I think I’m a pretty traditional itinerant pastor. I’ve learned to just wait and see what’s next, so I don’t usually think too much about what’s next. I just try to do the best job I can where I am.”

A Lincoln native, Ahlschwede earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina and a master’s of divinity from Vanderbilt University. Her husband of nearly 33 years, Todd Wyatt, is a professor and research scientist with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

Ahlschwede served as associate pastor at Lincoln Trinity and Bellevue St. James UMC East, and as pastor at the former Bellevue Heartland UMC and Omaha Dietz Memorial UMC before spending nine years as executive director of United Methodist Ministries, based in Omaha. After leaving that position in 2013, she spent six years as pastor at Lincoln South Gate UMC before moving to Omaha Saint Paul Benson, where she has served since 2019.

While at Saint Paul Benson, the church received national attention for its COVID-inspired PianoSide worship services, with Ahlschwede and the Rev. Jerry Brabec, music director and deacon for the church, recording in an informal service specifically for an online audience. Ahlschwede said she’s also proud of the neighborhood engagement the church has had, including bringing arts groups into the building.

“Those are all exciting, but they’re in a good position to keep moving forward,” she said. “We have an increase in lay participation in the leadership of the church, and the congregation has a really good sense of who they are.”

In 2020, she was selected as the chair of the conference board of trustees, whose work during that time included the aftermath of the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy, renegotiating conference insurance, and making decisions regarding disaffiliations.

“Those were three very different, simultaneous things,” she said. “I enjoyed finding the best way to try
and lead that forward. It was in great contrast to the very specific contextual work at Saint Paul. I’m
hoping I can bring to our district both experience with contacts and how the larger experience of the
church fits and a lot more administrative knowledge than I had before I was trustee.”

Anglemyer, 60, has been the Missouri River District superintendent since 2017, adding portions of the Elkhorn Valley District in 2018. His first appointment was in Arnold, Kansas, followed by Hays First UMC and Omaha St. Luke. He served 18 months as director of the hunger- and poverty-righting group Together Inc. Omaha and nine months with the Nebraska Children and Families Fund before returning to pulpit ministry at Omaha First UMC from 2001 to 2007.

He was director of connectional ministries for the former Nebraska Conference from 2007 to 2010, then as pastor at Ralston UMC, before serving at Omaha St. Luke from 2010 until his appointment as district superintendent.

“I’m probably having more fun doing it than not in this more chaotic time than ever before,” he said. “It’s gratifying to be part of this significant moment in the life of the church.”

Anglemyer said he is proud that four of the seven largest UMCs in the Omaha area had female pastors appointed to them during his term.

“I wanted to provide opportunities for women to take strong leadership roles in the district in some of our strategic congregations and was able to do that,” he said. “I don’t take a lot of credit for that other than lifting up names. Those who are doing it are doing a fantastic job in their appointments.”
Rev. Dr. Chad Anglemyer

On July 1, Anglemyer will become the senior pastor at Papillion St. Paul UMC, succeeding the Rev. Amy Lippoldt, who in January was named to succeed the retiring Rev. Cindy Watson as senior pastor of Wichita First UMC.

Bishop Wilson said he appreciated Anglemyer’s thoughtfulness to his work and passion for ministry.

“He loves the local church, and he will be a great pastor for St. Paul Papillion. He has a love for preaching and serving and for doing social justice wherever he is appointed,” the bishop said in a statement. “He also knows the area, and that will aid greatly in his service to the church and community.”

Anglemyer said he was looking forward to returning to local church ministry.

“I like the opportunity and the privilege of being able to preach Sunday to Sunday, local care and connecting with people,” he said. “Building relationships is important to me.”

He praised Ahlschwede for her work in the local church and conference.

“She has energy and creativity, the ability to keep a group focused on their work through her leadership on conference committees and organizations and the ability to be entrepreneurial as well,” he said. “She started a lot of great projects through her ministry and is a real gift.”

Ahlschwede said she has enjoyed working with Anglemyer.

“He’s just been such a friend to both his pastors and his congregations, a real advocate for all of us,” she said. “I think it’s a true legacy of being a good listener who’s been present and much appreciated.”

Ahlschwede said she enjoyed working with all of the churches in the area during her time with United Methodist Ministries and was looking forward to reconnecting with congregations.

“We’ve got such great congregations in the district, and it’ll be fun to revisit those congregations and see how they’ve grown and see what the next steps for everyone are,” she said.
Contact David Burke, content specialist, at dburke@greatplainsumc.org.

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