Periodically, we will feature a person within the church to give the members a more in depth look at some of the phenomenal people that attend this church.
Meet Our Moderator
Margaret “Maggie” Wallin
By, Maureen Derenzy
The Moderator of our church sets the agendas and presides at meetings of the Church Council and all Congregational Meetings. Maggie Wallin has been serving in this role since 2021. She brings a wealth of experience and ability, having earned a degree in Divinity from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, completing an internship at the First Congregational Church in Laingsburg, MI and serving for over 6 years as pastor of First Congregational Church in Breckenridge, MI.
Maggie’s career life has followed a varied and expanding path, which to the best of her ability has followed her sense of call on her life and talents. In her words, “it took a long time to figure out what I wanted and needed to be when I grew up.” She was born in Lansing and grew up attending the Methodist Church right across from the Capitol Building, where “the village that raised her was her church.” She was active in Sunday School, choir, and bell choir. She also played the violin and became concert mistress for the Lansing Junior Symphony. Maggie was raised in a home with a father who worked as an attorney and a stay-at-home mom, and her family supported her college education. She shared that she felt a “profound sense of privilege,” which may explain why her career path includes a series of public service jobs that has allowed her to give back to others.
Teaching jobs were scarce in the 1970s when Maggie graduated from the University of Michigan with a teaching certificate in Elementary Education. Instead, she went to work for Florence Crittenden Services in Jackson, working with troubled teens who had been abused, neglected, or had committed an offense. Some were also pregnant. It was a position that gave her a great deal of satisfaction, but she left when an opportunity to teach in inner city Detroit allowed her to use her degree while supplying more financial security. It was not long, though, before she found herself back at the “girl’s home”, this time as their Education Coordinator, serving as a liaison between the school and home for girls with special needs. Recognizing that she needed a new and different method of serving, she decided on a second career in law and earned a Juris Doctor degree from Cooley Law School. She clerked for the chief judge of Ingham County Circuit Court for two years and clerked two more years for the Michigan Court of Appeals. She then spent 20+ years writing opinions and giving legal advice to the Michigan Public Service Commission, gaining more experience in helping others. She began deepening her investment in her spiritual path while serving in various positions in her original church in Lansing. First, she completed Stephen Minister training for lay ministry and became a Stephen Leader. Then, while still practicing law, Maggie attended seminary one day a week. It took a decade to complete her MDiv, but she managed to graduate in 2010 with no debt!
In 2002, Maggie bought a place on the river in Frederic as a retirement home. When that day came, she began searching for her “up north” church home. With a big smile, Maggie spoke about her new church in glowing terms, referring to the people that are so nice, a welcoming and friendly environment, and a place that lives out its mission. At this point in her life, this accomplished woman just wants to fulfill her desire to bring love and joy to others. Our church is lucky that she has chosen to do it here.