Organized religion played a major role in the settling of our region and continues to influence its culture. We enjoy highlighting places of worship, one in the country and one in the city, in each issue.
Country Church: Durand United Methodist Church • Est. 1840
102 E. Main St., Durand, Ill., (815) 248-2461, durandumc.org
Methodists have been active in the Durand area since 1840, when itinerant circuit rider clergymen conducted worship services in log homes.
Today, Durand UMC focuses on personal spiritual development and the sharing of Christ’s love locally and across the world. It supports local blood drives, Rock House Kids, the Closet and distributes holiday baskets as well as school backpacks with school supplies. It works with the Crop Walk, food pantries and Habitat for Humanity to help provide food and shelter.
Globally, the church supports Haiti mission trips, Operation Christmas Child and relief for hurricane victims.
The church is led by the Rev. Dr. Nicole Oliver Snyder, whose doctorate is in Leadership in Community Spiritual Formation and Theology. She’s a licensed professional counselor with a master’s of divinity and a background in multi-ethnic community ministry.
In 2012, Snyder co-founded Just Church, an online and local community blending spiritual practices and action in greater Chicago. She’s also an author and retreat developer and teaches mindfulness leadership development and theology of social justice through podcasts and her website, eirenicole.com.
Snyder is married to Pastor Howie Snyder, who leads Rockton United Methodist Church. The couple has four children.
Blended worship services normally are at 9:30 a.m. Sundays but are now live-streamed Sundays at 10 a.m. due to COVID-19.
City Church: St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Parish • Est. mid-1800s
1760 14th St., Monroe, Wis., stclaregreencounty.org, (608) 325-9506
The Roman Catholic Parish of St. Clare of Assisi traces its roots to the mid-1800s when Irish-Americans established St. Victor’s Parish. In 2011, the parish merged with St. Rose of Lima, in Brodhead, Wis., and assumed the new name of St. Clare of Assisi. The parish of 900 households serves Green County and beyond, including residents in northern Illinois, with St. Victor church in Monroe and St. Rose of Lima church at 1005 W. Second Ave., in Brodhead.
The parish has operated St. Victor School for ages K-5 since 1916. The school is located at 1416 20th Ave. in Monroe and its curriculum includes religion and Spanish language along with other core subjects. There are about 140 students enrolled and the teacher-to-student ratio is 1:13.
This parish is involved in helping people in Honduras and Tanzania to access clean water through the Sister Water Project begun by Franciscan Sisters in Dubuque, Iowa. The cost of one well is $5,500 and St. Clare Parish has so far purchased 15 wells since it joined this project.
The church building in Monroe was constructed in 1893 after an earlier one was destroyed by fire.
Fr. Larry M. Baake, who was ordained as a priest in 1975, leads the parish. He also serves as the director of the Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities in the Catholic Diocese of Madison.
St. Victor’s is open for in-person Mass at reduced capacity, with no hymnals or singing; mask wearing is strongly encouraged. Weekend Mass is streamed live at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Find it at YouTube.com. Mass times at St. Victor’s are 4:40 p.m., 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. weekends; Mon. 5:30 p.m.; Tues., Thurs. & Fri. 8 a.m.
Mass times at St. Rose of Lima are Wed. 8:15 a.m., Fri. 8:30 a.m., Sat. 5 p.m. and Sun.