For the first time in 16 years, newly installed Roberts Congregational United Church of Christ pastor Burt Williams is back in Wisconsin, after growing up in Merrill.
"It feels good to be home again," Williams said. "It is a great time to be here and there is a lot of potential in the area with all the growth going on."
Williams started at Roberts Congregational on Sept. 1, after spending almost nine years as a pastor in Iowa. He was installed by the church Nov. 19.
"I started out at about 18 years of age thinking about becoming a pastor. Despite that, I went to school for electrical engineering for a while, but then decided that wasn't for me," Williams said. "I also opened my own business after a while before eventually giving into the call when I realized that I wasn't happy doing these other things. I thought I might as well be doing the things I was meant to be doing."
Williams' desire to be part of the church comes from growing up in the church with his family.
"My dad and mom kept us there quite a bit, but it was always a fun thing for me," William said. "I grew up under a gentleman who was very inspiring and had several other pastors come through the church I grew up in that helped to get me to where I was."
And although he tried his hand at being an engineer and owning his own business, being a pastor has been more than a job to him.
"The little moments are what keep me doing this. Ministry can be the hardest-easiest job you've ever had. But it is those times that you get to walk with people and watch where they're moving in their life," Williams said. "You aren't doing a whole lot other than being there, but we are are allowed places most other people aren't allowed to go. Whether it is the joys or the hard times."
Williams has been a pastor, worked at and been a part of several churches throughout his life, but he will be the first to admit that all churches are different in their own ways.
"Every church has its unique flavor. What is interesting about this church is, given their size, how busy they are," Williams said. "We just did our stewardship Sunday recently and just looking at all the different things they are part of and the mission work that they do, it is impressive. For a small congregation, that is an oddity. They really do get involved in their community."
Despite growing up in a larger church, Williams said he prefers to work in a smaller church because it allows him to get to know the people in his congregation better.
"I like the feel of a small church because you get to know your people a little bit closer," Williams said. "My job isn't about programing and making sure everything is running right. My job is to be out and do things and be with the congregation. That is where more of my skills lie."
Along with his love for the church and his job, Williams also has a passion for guitars.
"One of my loves is guitar. It is one of those where I can't seem to keep enough guitars," Williams said. "Quite often I will sing or play or accompany somebody. It is just one of those things that I enjoy doing."
Williams moved to Roberts with his wife, Toni, their 2-year-old, Zachary, and their newborn Elijah. Williams also has two older children, Uriah and Tori.
"One of the other things about this place that is so amazing is all the things that they have for kids," Williams said. "The Hammond Library will hold this, and the other places will make sure they aren't holding something at the same time."