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Bridge pastor passes the baton

Rev. Brian Williamson is leaving the Bridge Bible Church. His last service will be June 9.

Rev. Brian Williamson is leaving his position as pastor of The Bridge Bible Church in Somerset.

Williamson started as the Bridge's pastor, even as the church began.

Williamson said the Bridge has grown a great deal since he helped found it, seven years ago.

Williamson was called to Somerset by Faith Community Church of New Richmond in combination with a network of other area churches, that now includes: Faith Community Church of Hudson, Faith Community Church of River Falls, The Village church in Baldwin and Torrent church in Prescott.

While Williamson said he has enjoyed watching The Bridge Bible Church grow physically, and find a permanent location, he said he's enjoyed watching the spiritual growth of his congregation more.

"To see Jesus change people's lives is a great privilege," Williamson said. "That is our focus. Our mission as a church is to lead everyone toward full life development in Jesus."

Williamson said much of his preaching inspiration comes from the experience that led him back to God while he was living what he described as a life apart from God.

Williamson was on active duty in the United States Marine Corps in April of 1995 when a friend and fellow Marine convinced Williamson to come to church with him. Williamson said it was his friend's persistence that convinced him to go.

"Eventually, one Sunday, I gave up and I went with him and God really met with me in that church service," Williamson said. "My heart was changed and I was forgiven of my sins."

After that service, Williamson said he began to spend hours on his knees, praying and reading the Bible. This began a progression that Williamson said eventually led him to become a pastor.

Williamson said he and his wife Bethany prayed for a long time before deciding to leave The Bridge Bible Church. The Williamsons and their children will move to Lansing, Mich, where they will work with college students.

"Our departure, in part, is about God saying 'I want you to serve my church in this way, in a different community," Williamson said. Bethany Williamson has family near Lansing, Mich., which, Williamson said, was another factor in the Williamsons' decision to move.

As for the Bridge Bible Church, Williamson said he thinks the next pastor will lead the church well.

"I am honored to be able to pass the baton to Sean Strubbe," Williamson said. "My hopes are the best days are ahead for this church."

Williamson's last service will be Sunday, June 9. That service will also be the Bridge's last service at Somerset High School.

Williamson said the plan is for Strubbe's first service at The Bridge Bible Church to be June 23.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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