Asked about programs underway at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Waunakee, Pastor Scott Walters often touches on the theme of inclusion.
One of his goals is “finding ways to include everyone,” Walters said. “I think this church has done that anyway.”
Walters has served as a pastor for 38 years, and he began his seventh appointment at Crossroads in mid-October, replacing Kristen Lowe, who is now in Montello.
Like most pastors, he said, he wants “to bring a spirit of openness and a positive sense of what the Christian faith is all about.”
The church’s inclusivity extends to opportunities for the LGBTQ community.
“We’re working on instituting a new way of growing ourselves, working through the divisions at the denominational level of our church regarding the ordination of the LGBTQ community and persons,” Walter said. “Crossroads is open to that.”
Children and adults with special needs, including developmental, are also part of the church family, Walters said.
Walters was in high school when he began to entertain a career in the clergy. He was asked to write a devotion for a visiting Youth Fellowship and related the story of the prophet Jeremiah.
“That initiated in my own mind that somehow, God is calling me to service,” Walters said.
A graduate of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, Walters earned his bachelor’s degree at UW-Stevens Point before completing his degree at Boston University’s School of Theology. Prior to coming to Crossroads, he was the pastor of Peace United Methodist Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He also served at Lodi United Methodist Church.
Most rewarding in his career has been seeing members apply their faith outside of the church, he said.
It’s “seeing the growth in the congregation, in the members in which they connect their personal faith to the larger world when they find that having a faith only for Sunday mornings is inadequate,” Walters said.
Building relationships of faith and trust among the members and pastor that extend into the community is also rewarding, he said.
Currently the church is exploring the idea of prayer walks, where members go into the community “not to proselytize, but to uplift people in the community and pray,” Walters said.
Walters lives in Madison with is wife. He said he enjoys “trying to golf,” reading, and walking in places like the Ice Age Trail.