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First UCC, Mount Zion install new pastor
Zaynas Installation
Members of First Congregational and Mount Zion United Church of Christ participated in the installation of Rev. Zayna Thompson (front center) as both churches new pastor. Thompson replaces interim Rev. William Wineke (left).

First Congregational United Church of Christ of Platteville and Mount Zion United Church of Christ of Cornelia welcomed Rev. Zayna Thompson as their new pastor Oct. 27.

Thompson recently received her Master of Divinity from Garrett–Evangelical Theological Seminary of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. This position is her first as a full-time pastor.

Thompson has studied across the country and around the world, including four months in Ghana as well as classes in France and Italy. Before college, she spent two years with the United Church of Christ’s Partners in Service, where she served as a full time volunteer at Evangelical Children’s Home in St. Louis. She later served as a volunteer intern in Eastern Kentucky with Faithful Advocates Serving Together, an Appalachian service project of the UCC, eventually receiving the Wider Church Ministries Heart of Service Award for Volunteer Ministries.

She has settled in Platteville where she lives with her dog, Brett, an 8-year-old rescued collie.

Ordination in the UCC is not passed down exclusively through other ordained clergy. Thompson’s family, friends and new congregation were all able to come together, lay hands on her, and set her apart as one ordained by God to do this work.

“I take that calling, and the responsibility it entails, very seriously and feel so grateful they have trusted me to be their pastor,” said Thompson. “To say I felt loved would be an understatement. The day was one filled with excitement as we all took this huge step in ministry together. That’s what was so amazing; it wasn’t just about me. It was about all of us, together answering a call to spread the word of God’s love for all people.”