Reverend Bill Novak, Associate Pastor
Like you here in Cheyenne, I hail from another part of the Rocky Mountain Front: Chester Montana, a small town 90 miles north of Great Falls and 40 miles south of the Canadian border. Though I come from ranching families on both sides, my parents left the southern Montana ranches of their parents to start a grocery store for the dry land wheat farmers that inhabit Chester. There I slaved away with my sister boxing groceries and making sandwiches for all those descendants of the homesteaders. My family attended Chester UMC where my mother was particularly active and I was particularly good at irritating the congregation and our piano player with requests for the more obscure, tricky numbers from the hymnal for hymn sing.
After high school, I left Montana for Whitman College, a small liberal arts school in Walla Walla Washington. Both my sister and I graduated from there in 2003 (me) and 2005 (her). From there, she moved to New York City, and I moved first to Portland Oregon to try my hand at acting and then, when that failed, I left the country altogether to join the Peace Corps and serve as a crop extension agent in the tiny village of Fatíma Paraguay in South America. Besides drinking a lot of tereré (a cold tea of yerba mate) and sitting in my hammock all day, I met my wife Abby who was serving as a Peace Corps beekeeper in another village.
After a brief stint as a graduate student of political science at the University of Montana, Abby and I moved to Evanston Illinois where I attended Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Abby completed her R.N degree at Oakton Community College. In Evanston, we got married and had our three daughters Wynne, Beatrice, and Mabel. In the interim, I finished my M.Div, and currently I am in the middle of the Ph.D program in Christian Moral Theology.
This is my first appointment to the local church, and we in the Novak family are thrilled to be back in the West, especially in this great, wide open city of Cheyenne. Personally, I look forward to the work we will do as a church at First to discern and follow God’s will in this tricky contemporary cultural moment wherein we seem to have everything—historically unprecedented riches of security and comfort—and nothing—a bewildering poverty of communal and individual spirit—all at the same time.
May God’s grace and peace guide us to the salvation, fulfillment and true riches of life in Christ.