Pastor Wally and Linda Schwarz
Pastor Wally and Linda Schwarz have been at Stockholm UMC for the past 5 years and love to work together, whenever possible, as a team. Their gifts are complementary and it gives them great joy to be used by God to encourage and strengthen others in their faith. They believe they are far more useful together than they are separately. Both work outside the church to help support their ministry here.
Pastor Wally graduated from Wagner College in 1976 with a BA in philosophy and religious studies and later from Drew Theological School with a Master of Divinity. He began ministry with an InterVarsity Chapter in college where they both experienced a wonderful fellowship and outpouring of the Holy Spirit among many students there, many of whom went on to other life long ministries. During these years in college, he attended church at Salem Gospel Tabernacle in Brooklyn and was a student at the Bible School there started by Malcolm Smith. Later during seminary, he pastored the Johnsonburg United Methodist Church in Johnsonburg, NJ. In 1979 he began an independent church which began meeting in Hope, NJ and later in Newton and while there had an extensive ministry to inmates at the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility. Leaving the professional ministry for family reasons in 1985, he became a member and a ministry leader (elder) at Christian Center Church in Morristown, NJ and later in 1998 also at the Philadelphia Church (now known as the Freedom Church) in Oak Ridge where he spent he next 14 years.
Wally and Linda dated at Wagner, but followed different paths after college. Linda headed to Manhattan and the American West. In addition to her work in the church, she had a successful career working to resolve severe conflicts in communities. She is a certified change management professional, as well as a trainer of sustainability. She worked professionally for years in the addiction recovery field, and is still involved as a founding board member of New Jersey Recovery Center. Prior to that, she enjoyed a ten year career in national advertising, film-television production, and public relations in New York City.
In 2012, after finding each other after many years, they finally married and dedicated themselves to ministry when a door opened, and the offer came to pastor the United Methodist church in Stockholm. Between them, they have three children, three grandchildren and a dog who is almost human, named Buster.
Wally and Linda believe in the power of the Trinity and Christ to deeply transform and renew everyone who will say yes and enter the flow of this experience. It is their desire to help create a community of love, acceptance, and forgiveness that experiences the presence of the Holy Spirit powerfully. They feel Christianity is a practice, in addition to a faith. Together, they are committed to the ongoing practice and growth that comes from following the Christian path. We hope you will come visit us and grow with us too.