For Rev. Dan McCurdy, becoming a pastor was not about answering a call but rather admitting it.
“I’m the son of a pastor, so I fought it. In a conversation with God, I flat out said, ‘I’m not going to do it,’” said the new pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Weyauwega. “My wife is in a similar boat. She went to seminary and said, ‘I’m not going to marry a pastor.’”
They were married about a year and a half ago.
Of fighting the feeling he had to become a minister, McCurdy explained that in addition to his father being a Presbyterian minister, his maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister.
“So, it was like going into the family business,” he said.
McCurdy was initially an English and history double major, with an emphasis in education, at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“I felt like I was already doing the ministry. I wanted to make it official,” he said of his decision to shift to the study religion and theology.
McCurdy was already leading worship and doing a lot of Young Life work.
Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged students.
It was then he admitted the call to ministry he felt.
McCurdy graduated from Calvin College with a bachelor’s degree in religion and theology.
“In the Presbyterian Church, when you decide to go to seminary, you go before the Session, which is the ruling body of the individual churches,” he said. “You are asking them to walk with you. The call is shared between the church and the pastor.”
The 32 year old is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, a PC(USA) school in Decatur, Ga.
It was a three-year program.
“It took a decade for me to do,” he said.
McCurdy said it took him longer to complete the program because he accepted internships in a number of churches.
Some were one-year internships, while others were for two years.
Often, the focuses were on children and youth ministries, although he also received a fair amount of experience working with older adults.
“One of the big things when you are an intern is inevitably you are working in bigger churches, because those churches can afford to have staff working in specialized areas,” he said.
McCurdy worked throughout the country, including at churches in Alabama, Ohio, Florida and Wyoming.
He and Rose, who is from Texas, met at seminary. She recently accepted a position as a hospice chaplain in the Green Bay area.
McCurdy primarily grew up in Ohio, although he also lived in Chicago, Indianapolis and in Alaska.
He graduated from seminary last May and was ordained at his home church in Alliance, Ohio on Sept. 29. He and Rose moved to Weyauwega in early October.
“This is my first call,” he said. “I’ve been in and around churches all my life. This is the first time I’m introduced as Pastor McCurdy.”
In addition to living in various areas, he grew up around different demonitions.
His father was raised Catholic, while his mother was raised Methodist.
McCurdy said the core of the Presbyterian Church is to bring voices together.
He went before the congregation at First Presbyterian as a candidate and preached.
“The entire congregation votes,” he said. “Everyone has a voice.”
When asked what drew him to the church in Weyauwega, McCurdy said, “It was just so full of friendly people. This is my first call. I’m not just looking for my first career in this job I’m pursuing. I was also looking for a home.”
The church welcomed him, and through stories, he learned of how people came to join the church.
“It’s a fantastic group of people,” McCurdy said.
He and Rose live next door to the church with their puppy, a Shepherd mix named Reyn.
“It was about a three-month search for the position,” McCurdy said. “I was totally broad. I opened myself up to everywhere.”
He was interested in working in a small church and said his philosophy will always be about “loving my people.”
McCurdy said, “I’ve really gotten the impression that as long as I keep the love that attracted me in the first place, people will want to check it out.”
To help the church grow, he let the members be who they are through their evangelization.
McCurdy is trained in improv theater and describes himself as an avid reader, writer, musician, game player and sports fan.
He taught himself to play guitar when he was in college, because he heard “girls like guys who play guitar.”
Both he and his wife are Green Bay Packers fans.
He explained how that came to be.
McCurdy’s father grew up in New Jersey, where just about everyone was a New York Giants fan. McCurdy’s grandfather loved Vince Lombardi, and when Lombardi left the Giants to coach the Packers, McCurdy’s grandfather remained loyal to Lombardi and thus, became a fan of the Packers.
McCurdy’s father, wanting to please his own father, also became one.
When Lombardi left Green Bay to coach the Washington Redskins, McCurdy’s grandfather followed Lombardi, but McCurdy’s father remained a Packers fan.
As a result, McCurdy became one as well.
Rose grew up in Dallas, but her family was not interested in sports.
She took her first step to rebel, McCurdy said, by signing up for tennis lessons.
Her coach was from Wisconsin and had a daughter about Rose’s age.
The two girls became friends, and it was understood that if Rose was at their house on a Sunday and the Packers were on television, she would have to watch, too.
“She thought her coach was the coolest guy,” he said.
When it came time to talk about moving to Wisconsin, McCurdy said, “I actually led my pitch to her with, ‘We will be 50 minutes from Green Bay.’”
“We both fell in love with the church and the town,” he said of Weyauwega.
As for winter, he lived in Ohio and in Alaska for three years, so he says he “knows how to roll with them.”
McCurdy loves games, and while he is very much a people person, he admits he can be competitive.
“I love people, and I love being around them, and I don’t see competition being contrary to the Christian lifestyle,” he said. “I think you see a lot of people pushing against each other in Scripture and being better for it.”