By Beverly Clinkingbeard

There is a new face in Elmo on Sunday morning at the Elmo United Methodist Church.

Recently Cathy Riggins, who during the week is working as a veterinary technician at Atchison County Veterinary in Tarkio, was appointed to pastor the Elmo congregation.

For Cathy this started several years ago. Her childhood was in Villisca, IA, the daughter of Dave and Susan Rhany. Her family, a sister and a brother, attended the local Methodist congregation in Villisca and she was active in Sunday school and youth activities. When she was in high school she worked in the local veterinary clinic as she has always loved animals and gets on well with them. Fast forward to after graduation and she gained an associate degree as a veterinary technician.

Fast forward again, and she was working at NSK in Clarinda, IA. She met a Westboro’ian named Justin. Once they established their home in Westboro, Cathy became involved in activities of the United Methodist congregation that was next door to their home. She joined a Bible study and with Rev. Julie Sanders as mentor, stepped into leadership of the youth group and realized she was called to do more.

After consulting with Sanders what a pastorate would involve she became committed to fulfilling a pastoral call. She thought a small, rural church would be a good place to start, a place where she could grow as a pastor and at the same time serve as a catalyst for others to deepen their faith and Biblical commitment. Enter the availability of a pastorate at the Methodist Church at Elmo. Cathy is so excited for this new ministry. She’s prepared and will continue preparation to be who God needs her to be. Cathy believes the church should be the center of family and community.

Her husband tells the story that when Cathy worked at a farm store, if she thought a customer needed a confirming word of Biblical encouragement she would recite a verse for the occasion. If a card for a parent was sold she’d quote, “Honor thy father and mother,” a get well card was often greeted with, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and for one particular customer she showed him three different colored horse collars. The first was for $25, but he said his horse was worth more than that. Next she fetched a $50 collar and that wasn’t satisfactory either, as he explained his horse deserved an expensive collar. She showed him the $100 collar and quoted the scripture to her co-workers of, “He was a stranger and I took him in.” Perhaps she will have verses of encouragement for her new Elmo friends, and would be delighted if the same were handed back to her.

Cathy and Justin have a daughter, Hallie. Seven years ago the Riggins moved to South Blanchard. Cathy loves to grow flowers and veggies. She bakes and cooks and her neighbors are recipients of her generosity. In addition, there is a menagerie of goats, sheep, chickens, three dogs and a vile cat that ate the neighbor’s baby wrens.

Cathy is looking forward to becoming better acquainted with the folks of Elmo and is excited for realizing the possibilities God has placed before the congregation and her involvement as their minister. A favorite Biblical verse is Romans 8:28. Welcome, Cathy!