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Small-town Iowa pastors keep serving even after retirement

Judy and Merle Paulsen retired from Monmouth Methodist Church in December 2020. That hasn't stopped them from being at the heart of the church.

MONMOUTH, Iowa — A couple from Monmouth, Iowa was ready to retire as pastors at their church at the end of 2020. But they haven't slowed down one bit.

"If it wasn't for them, probably would have been closed by now," says parishioners Connie Bonney. "Instead of leaving our church without a pastor, they have stayed on and done all their services free of charge." 

That includes saying or organizing services on the weekend, visiting the sick and dying, and helping with volunteer efforts.

And that's why Bonney nominated them for the Pay It Forward Award. That comes with $300 so she could pay it forward to the couple.

"Oh man, it feels, it feels great, feels good. it's been a fun 18 years that we've been at that church, and we just love those people," Judy says.

Even after nearly two decades, she and her husband Merle say they won't leave their church until someone can take their place.

"I never thought I'd be doing this," Merle says. "But here I am. God works in mysterious ways."

The Paulsens say they could have a new pastor sometime this summer.

If you know someone you'd like to nominate for the Pay It Forward award, click here.