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2003 – 2010
The Early Years
In April of 2002 about 20 people met at the Menomonie, Wisconsin library for a “vision” meeting to hear about a new
church that was about to be launched. Our goal was to rethink church for people who had given up on church but not on God. We wanted to make God accessible to the average person by talking about faith in relevant and down-to-earth ways. We took the rest of the year to develop a core group that would soon become known as Cedarbrook Church. On January 12, 2003 we held our first meeting at the Cinemagic Theater in Menomonie. Within a month we knew that our approach had struck a positive chord as people came from a variety of churched and unchurched backgrounds to experience church in a refreshingly new way. In the fall of 2006 we moved to the Shops Off Broadway Banquet Center and Mall. Cedarbrook Church continued to grow so we purchased land and eventually were able to break ground on our own building in September of 2009. On May 30, 2010 we moved into our new building. The following 100+ stories were gathered as a testament to God’s faithfulness to us during our first seven years in existence. Like the memorial stones that God had Joshua erect after crossing the Jordan River, these stories serve as a reminder of how God does amazing things in the lives of his people if we will only believe and obey. We hope these stories encourage you in your faith. Remy Diederich June 7, 2010
1. Jodi Martin When I came to Cedarbrook I was an emotional and spiritual wreck and in recovery. I heard a guy tell us all about how they have a class that was called Celebrate Recovery, so
out of curiosity; I went and found out when the church services were. I knew my grandson and I needed God in our lives. When we came to Cedarbrook, I heard pastor Remy say ‘Our passion is to first experience, then share the life-changing love of God!’ and boy did that hit home! Since I’ve been at Cedarbrook that's exactly what happened to me. The classes I have taken at Cedarbrook have been life changing for me. I even recall a time I asked Remy to pray for me because I felt he was closer to God than me. Today, I have my own personal relationship with God and I'm able to pray and feel the closeness to God as I’ve always dreamed of having. My grandson and I found a church that we are already growing in and I thank God for showing his love to us at Cedarbrook. Thank you so much and may God bless you all! 2. Mindy Connors In September of 2009, we moved to the Spring Valley area from the Madison area. We can certainly relate to the recent messages about transitions, as this past year we had quite a few major transitions; we moved, my husband became the owner of his own business, I started a new job and in March of this year, we were blessed with our first child, Madelyn. We tried out several churches in the area but immediately felt at home at Cedarbrook as everyone was very friendly and welcoming, worship was joyous and a celebration of God's love and the sermon messages were practical and help us to have a stronger faith and closer relationship with God in our everyday life. We have been blessed to be a part of a small group led by Jeremy and Amy Burns, and although we have only been a part of it for a short time, God has shown his love for us through this group. An example is that when Madelyn was born, even though we had only met some of the group members only once or twice, they all took turns bringing us a meal which was so thoughtful and helpful--and much appreciated. I think this is also an example of what was recently talked about in a sermon---related to the fact that although the new building will be a wonderful blessing, the bigger picture is that it is not about the building but about God's plans for how that building will assist in reaching out to people and bringing glory to His name. Though we have only been attending Cedarbrook for a short time, it has already become an important part of our lives and strengthed our faith. We look forward to the move into the new building and what God has in store for Cedarbrook there. Thanks! 3. Andy Hahn I found Cedarbrook in the latter half of my career as a UW-Stout student. I wanted to experience the Menomonie churches while in school, and I began my church shopping journey with Cedarbrook. It was my first and last stop. I had developed some destructive habits while at college, and felt that they were cutting me short of my faith walk. Getting back on track with God through Cedarbrook was perhaps the biggest and best decision I made in college.
4. Kris Tice I have always been a Christian and had been involved in church to varying degrees. But it wasn't until becoming connected with Cedarbrook that I really began to see what connectedness and relationships were all about. I have felt gently nudged by God with a calling to volunteer more and be more involved in relationships with others than I have in the past. My bonding with people at Cedarbrook and beyond has made me realize how God wants to use me and others in our interactions. We are all his children no matter what our culture or experiences have been. It has been and will continue to be a refreshing blessed experience, one in which I can continually grow in my faith. 5. Bill Tice Both Kris and I appreciate the many opportunities to meet so many people who have turned into good friends. Being able to be involved with mission trips has been great. You return for each trip feeling really blessed after you were able to reach out to other people. There was a pastor that we heard about in New Orleans who said "I don't know exactly what is going on here, but I see God's hand at work at Living Witness Church. I want to be part of it". With the well drilling trip to Honduras, we encountered many people were so happy and yet they seemed to have so little. We are able to get more involved with helping others as time goes by. I pray that more doors of opportunity will be opened in the years ahead. Thank you Cedarbrook Church for these opportunities to reach out to others in Menomonie and neighbors who are farther away. 6. Diane, Steve & Peter Duerst In September of 2006, (just before the move to the mall) our family was looking for a new church. We had just spent three years in a church that had become very heavy-handed and harsh in their approach. We were at a low point spiritually when we arrived at Cedarbrook. Our plan was to visit several churches in the area and then pray and decide which was the best fit. When we came to Cedarbrook that first Sunday, Remy was just starting a new sermon series entitled “Who Moved My Cheese”. It was so interesting; we decided to hold off on visiting the other churches until the sermon series was done. Then, when he finished that series and began another, we wanted to hear that one also! We never did make it to the other churches … we figured we had found the right one since we didn’t want to leave! Like I said we were at a low point spiritually. The church we left tried to get people to serve and grow in their faith by making them feel ‘guilty’ and exerting a lot of ‘control’ over people. When we first started attending Cedarbrook I remember thinking it was the exact opposite of that and I wondered how they would ‘get’ people to do what they should. As we attended and got involved in small groups, our relationships with the Lord became much closer. Because of His great patience, mercy, love and forgiveness, we ‘wanted’ to do the things that the other church had tried to make people do. Amazing! We have appreciated getting to know so many wonderful people at Cedarbrook and really appreciate the accepting and encouraging atmosphere. We want to pass it on to others! 7. Christine Ruth When I moved to Menomonie several years ago, I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have any friends or relatives in the area, I really felt overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to
build significant relationships in a new community. Thankfully, we tried out Cedarbrook out first Sunday in Menomonie, and we were sold! Our kids loved the multi-media children’s ministry, and we loved how relevant the sermons were. Soon after, I joined the Cedarbook mom’s group and found my new family. The women (and their husbands) that we’ve gotten to know through that small group have become some of the closest friends we’ve ever had. We have been so grateful for the spiritual growth we’ve experienced here and the way our kids have inherited a new “extended” family so close to home. 8. Jamie Winsand When my wife dragged me to the church in the mall, let’s just say, I had my doubts. What I never expected was to find something much more than a Sunday obligation filled with rituals and bad music. I found a wonderful place that made me interested in God for the very first time. Not just the message in church, but the way Cedarbrook gets you involved in helping others by using your own talents. The projects that I have been involved in at Cedarbrook have enhanced my life far more than I have given. The sermons from Remy give great perspective on the word of God and without him I would have probably dismissed Cedarbrook as just another church with a really good band. I have never said a prayer until I came to Cedarbrook, unless it was something before a meal or in a church when the whole congregation did it as a group. I am not volunteering to lead any sort of prayer at church, however it does give me great joy to pray every day and have that connection with God that was never there before. The last thing that makes mine and every other Cedarbrook members story complete is to know that by going to Cedarbrook our children will not only know the Bible stories but truly know Him. It is so wonderful to see my children enjoy their religious experience because of the extordinary effort put forth by the Children’s Ministry staff. Thank you for changing my life. 9. Angie Sullenger Since coming to Cedarbrook four years ago, God has ROOTED me in many areas. I have learned how to say yes and no and let people own their own emotions, even if it is anger. That, just because someone is mad at my decisions, doesn't mean I need to change them. I have learned to ask God what he is busy doing around me that he wants me to be a part of, and that direction, not intent, determines where I am at and where I am going to end up. I have started to learn that if I don't take ownership of my space in this world, it will be encrouched on and the reflection God wanted to show of himself through me to the world and those around me will go without being witnessed or discovered. 10. Bonnie Asher
Here is our story of how we came to Cedarbrook. Our son and his family had been looking for a new church to join and they found Cedarbrook back in October of 2009. They invited us to just come and see how it was and we fell in love with how things are run. In January, I lost a job I loved for 12 years due to budget cuts. Pastor Remy did a sermon that week that I swear God had him do just for me. It was on loss and I was crying the whole way through it. After the sermon, my son put his arms around me and said "Now aren't you glad you came today, Mom"? I told him for the first time ever I felt like God had been talking to just me. God touched my soul that day and we have been coming to church ever since. Thank you Cedarbrook for all you have done for us as a family. 11. Jodi Jennings Our experience with Cedarbrook Church is a great experience. My marriage was at an all time low. My husband and I were thinking of splitting up and we did for a short time. I was so low emotionally and spiritually, but I knew I wanted to be closer to God. I was staying with my parents and decided to go to Cedarbrook Church. My husband and I decided to give our marriage another shot. He started coming with us to church and God's work was there. The series was about Love and Marriage. So fitting for us. We also took the class by Dr. Emerson (Love & Respect). We learned so much and our family has grown so much. My husband is now a believer in Christ. 12. Julie Lundy I first met Remy while attending inpatient treatment for alcohol. I did not have a good understanding of God or the role of forgivness in our lives, etc. I asked Remy, "How can I turn everything over to someone that I cannot see or talk to physically and how can I forgive someone who did a great injustice to my children?" Remy's answers were, “You have to have faith that there is a powerful force much greater than yourself out there, and forgiveness is not about letting the other person off the hook, it is about letting yourself off the hook”. Those two statements, made to a person who had lost all hope, gave me something to believe in for the first time in a long time and that is the belief that I had about myself and life in general. After leaving treatment, I began to attend Cedarbrook Church. I have remained sober and have seen the proof that there is a God out there and He will provide everything that I need in life. I have a renewed sense of faith and a passion to live each day to its fullest. I am learning that by forgiving I am able to move forward in life and that all things are possible with a little prayer and belief in God. I am and will be forever greatful that I had the opportunity to meet Remy and to become involved with Cedarbrook Church. 13. Rosann Slagel For many years before Cedarbrook, I was un-churched. I never lost faith in God but I'd given up on humans creating anything that resembled a fellowship of believers that wasn't judgmental, harsh, critical and just plain mean. God spoke to me to join a church and the only reason I pursued it was to prove to Him that I wouldn't be able to find one. I Googled Dunn County churches. Cedarbrook was the first church that came up. I'd noticed Cedarbrook in the past especially when it was still at the theater and I would think "Look at the nice Christians going to church" The Sunday after I went on line, Remy was hosting a Cedarbrook 101 at the Stout Ale House and I must admit I was impressed. "This must be some church that can rent space in a bar and not be threatened." So I
registered and attended. The next Sunday I came to my first service and started crying during the music. It took almost a year before I could attend and NOT cry at all. I still cry sometimes but not near as often. Only God, through the patience of Cedarbrook, could have brought me to the place where I am now a member. And, only Cedarbrook, through the patience of God, could have brought me to the place where I am now a member. I'm not sure which is truer. But I'm here now. I still don't have much faith in humans. God can and will do all things through those who trust Him. And this has become the place for me to practice my faith. 14. Dave and Joyce Johnson Before Cedarbrook was, I have listened and watched and walked Remy as God has unfolded His incredible plan and purpose for this very unique church. When I look at Cedarbrook today, I see Jesus doing exactly what He said He would do in Matthew 16:18 ... building His Church ... and He's doing it with "living stones" ... a people for His own possession ... who give Him all the credit and glory for making all things new! As God transforms their lives, I see Cedarbrookers being energized and motivated to reach out and serve ... for the Glory of God and the good of others. It's this type of atmosphere that I see God doing His greatest work. Since we've been married, Joyce and I have centered our lives in God and His work in and through the local church. Cedarbrook is only the second church that we have ever been members of. This is our church! We consider it a joy and privilege to serve and lead with Remy ... and are blessed to be a part of what God is doing in our midst ... and to have Remy as our pastor and friend. 15. Charol Karnick Since going to Cedarbrook I actually enjoy going to church – I want to be there –I don't like to miss. I see people not only talking the talk but walking the walk. I am challenged not only spiritually but to reach out to others. There are so many opportunities to deepen your faith. The message each Sunday is always challenging. It's a good place to be! 16. Beverley LaPicca I first met Remy at Arbor Place Treatment Center. He was teaching a class on guilt, shame, forgiveness and anger. I really liked his freeing approach and decided to attend Cedarbrook. That has been almost five years ago. In those five years, I have also been in a small group called Sassy. My Sassy group is the best friends I have ever had. Not only do I feel a part of Cedarbrook but Cedarbrook has helped the Lord fill many voids in my life. With Cedarbrook, I have an extended family that has come together for me many times. Thank you to all that reached out to me when my brother Joey died recently and so many of my Cedarbrook family came by my side. Cards are still coming! 17. Jim & Cheryl Welch
My husband and I have been coming to Cedarbrook since it was at the theater. Shortly after the church moved to the mall, we joined a small group. This group of people has become family to us and it has changed our lives! Through these people, we have gained knowledge, friendship, support and love. We laugh, cry, work and play together. We pray for and encourage one another. This has made us grow in our faith and step out of our ''comfort zone''. We now volunteer for Lend-a-Hand, are involved in mission outreach and participate in other opportunities offered at Cedarbrook. God's love is about relationships! We thank you God for Cedarbrook Church and for our relationship with our small group. 18. Betty Verdon Cedarbrook has meant a great deal to me. The information has been wonderful and helpful to my growth. Cedarbrook reflects an even higher and more eloquent sense of humanity. It thinks beyond the mundane and sees life with the zest of a child. It looks at the world with all its complexity with answers. I prefer to surround myself with positive imagery and this church has it. This place respects my ideology even if it doesn't understand it. 19. Dave Verdon Looking to the past, when we first met at the theater, I was use to a more traditional setting. It impressed me that the focus of Cedarbrook loved people through their every day concerns. This really grew on me. It was freeing and I became more open. When we moved to the mall, I believe the messages became even fuller in the word. The worship and fellowship became inspirational. When I had my heart attack in 2008, it was a time of release of self and truly understanding of who was in control of my life. After 12 days, I returned home. I knew I had to return to worshiping and being around the people I learned to love. Walking into the mall, the worshiping filled my spirit. It is my prayer for the future, that Cedarbrook continues their mission of loving people where they are at, developing their character through the blood of Jesus, and understanding even more, the church is the people and not the building. 20. Joe Draxler One of my favorite movies is Miracle on 34th St. Miracles come in many ways shapes and forms! When I had my blood clot, after my 2nd hip surgery, I was referred to a cardiologist. He did the whole gamut of tests and found I had moderate to severe blockage of an artery in my heart. Today I went in for an angioplasty and they were going to install stints, or as I prefer, little culverts in my heart. I had NO veins today in my arm or hands and 3 people poked me several times to get two IV's going. I kept praying for God to guide their hands, because it really hurt. Then, I got put on "RUSH" because the Doctor's were ready early and I was not fully prepped. Finally, a chaplain came into to pray and the words that shook me to the core were, "God just show yourself today and let the prayers of many be a true sign of your healing power, and make it a witness to many" Down the hall I go, with arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. I told them that they could put me to sleep and wake me in three days and I would be fine with that. They laughed. We got in the OR and I even had time to tell a couple of stories as they stole all my clothes and covered me with nice warm blankets. The plan was to do
the angioplasty through my arm but when they got to the elbow, my veins do a curly curly and they could not make the bends. So, down to the femural artery and as I can feel the tube being fed up through my entire body, the nurse continued to encourage me to tell more stories. Imagine that, she liked my stories! The tube got to the heart and they released the dye and as we watched on 4 TV monitors, the dye flowed freely thru every port, artery, valve, etc. The pictures of the blockage were right next to the monitor and they were different, THERE WAS NO BLOCKAGE! The veins and arteries were as good as new. The Doctor looked at me and said I have a perfect heart in perfect condition! I had shared earlier about our mission trip to drill a well in Honduras with LWI, He smiled and said, “You have some wells to drill my friend and you are very healthy to do that!” MY STORY IS- a miracle on 320th Street and I am sticking to it! 21. Tanya Young My husband and I were newlyweds when we started regularly attending Cedarbrook Church. We have experienced noticeable growth in our marriage as a result of worshiping together, hearing the sermons and discussing the sermon notes. We truly appreciate the vibrant church leadership and all of the nice folks we have met through growing and serving in the Cedarbrook community. 22. Nikki Schnell I am so thankful for all that Cedarbrook did in my life and will never forget where the spark started for my passion for Christ. I have learned so much these past few years since I have been walking with Christ and I am so thankful for all of the people I have encountered along my walk. Those who have prayed for me and helped me grow in my faith through various Bible studies, and of course all of the great sermon series Remy would give. The staff at Cedarbrook is so incredible and again, I am so thankful that I had joined the church while I was living in Menomonie. Cedarbrook laid a concrete, unbreakable foundation for me, and was certainly a season I will always cherish. 23. Anonymous I was lower than I’d ever been. Within the last two months my extramarital affair had been publicly exposed, my husband left me and filed for divorce, I lost my job, I was not welcomed at my old church, and my reputation was ruined. I lost friends, respect for myself, and any self worth. I had been coming to Cedarbrook for about two months; my attendance to this church was prompted by my shame keeping me from any church where I thought I might see someone I recognized. I welcomed the thought of being able to melt into the crowd. I didn’t know that Pastor Remy was going to talk about forgiveness that Sunday. I was trying hard to hold back the tears, but they flowed like a river from my eyes.
I’m a woman who prided herself on being tough, who blinked tears and held her head high despite disapproving stares due to the scarlet letter that burned brightly on me…but that Sunday when Remy talked about forgiveness, I sat in my chair with my Bible clutched tightly in my hands and I hung on every word. I felt like Remy was talking directly to me. At the end of the sermon when the offering was taken and the worship team played Amazing Grace, it was all I could do not to choke back sobs that were coming from my broken spirit. My two young children looked at their mommy with uncertain looks in their eyes, not understanding why mommy was crying. But I knew. I knew at that moment that I truly was forgiven by my Creator. The blanket of shame I wore so heavily every day had fallen from my shoulders, at least for that one precious hour in church that Sunday. I knew I had a long road ahead of me, but knowing I was in a place where God’s Word was being taught and I felt the sweet presence of the Jesus…I knew I had found my new church home. Thank you, Remy. Thank you all. And most of all – thank you Jesus. 24. M.O. In 2005, I was trying to get used to the idea of staying home for a year with a new baby and parenting a 2 1/2 year old; it was not going well. I needed a new sense of purpose and I needed to talk to other moms. I went to one group of ladies in our church (not Cedarbrook) at the time and after about an hour of discussing knitting, baking and cleaning, I went home to cry. The next Sunday, I received two phone calls from different people and a visit from my neighbor telling me about a person I needed to meet. Her name was Christine Ruth and she was starting a mom's group. This was a God-thing! I went to Christine's house and met these fantastic women who were so supportive and shared willingly the struggles and questions they had about life and God. Without these women and their prayers to God on my behalf, I would not have made it. Ironically, the first study we did as a group was about Breaking Free and how to live a God-centered life. It changed me forever. We started coming to Cedarbrook because all these people we knew were attending and my kids were happy to participate. Now Cedarbrook feels like home. God works in mysterious ways and loves us too much to see us in pain. Thanks. 25. Fran K Before going to Cedarbrook, I wasn't very happy with where I was at in life. After attending Cedarbrook and listening to Remy’s message every Sunday, God seemed more real to me. Also, belonging to a small group puts me with others who aren't afraid to talk openly about Jesus and their faith.
26. Linda Monroe I helped type these expressions of love for Cedarbrook Church, I find that most people are overwhelmed by the friendliness and accepting attitudes our church members give out.
You are accepted for who you are here. I noticed that Day One also, back in December of 2008, when I first came. That is a wonderful attribute for any church to have! I have severe emphysema and am on oxygen 24/7. I came to Cedarbrook looking to increase my support team, because my present support team at that time was small and not very positive. I came with my granddaughter/daughter (we adopted her in 2005) hoping to also give her a support group if and when my Lord calls me home. I came in a wheel chair, unable to walk even ten steps without help. Today, I walk in with my walker, and can sit down and still breathe! That is thanks to my God! I have made some friends, and know if I need to talk, there are people I could call for encouragement and prayer. (Although, I still sometimes call my sister first for the prayers. She too, is very much grounded in the Lord). Cedarbrook was there to come and help me with some home chores I could not do alone. They came with equipment and huge smiles and hugs! It was so wonderful. And, I get to volunteer for the office type stuff, as I love to feel needed and worthwhile. I am now a member of Cedarbrook Church as of May and hope to bring smiles and encouragement to others, and to be an inspiration to others in the future. My daughter/ granddaughter is also getting grounded in the youth group, having some ‘first’ experiences and meeting new friends. And, I do know that if I should pass, Emily will not be forgotten and that some church members will continue to encourage her to come to services and to bring her sadness and sorrows to God with their help. I know that Amy Burns (teaching Gifts and Strength Investigation) has really made an impression on Emily’s life already. Thank you to all of you but mostly thank you to those volunteers who greet us every Sunday with that warmth and bright smiles! And thanks to Remy for the sermons he presents for me to keep growing in God! 27. Bev Doornik Five or so years ago I was faced with a situation in my life that I found extremely difficult to handle. We had been thinking about finding a church at the time when my husband’s co-worker suggested the church that meets at a theatre in Menomonie. We wanted something non-traditional with a band. When we arrived at the Cinematic Theatre we were astounded at the number of people and when entering the theatre we found 2 empty seats way at the top. From the moment the band started to play we knew this was what we wanted. Friendly, genuine, godly people, praising God! It was not a coincidence that this church was suggested at this time of my life. In facing my situation I found that they offered TPM (Transformational Prayer Ministry). Not knowing what I was getting myself in to, I agreed to give it a shot. During that first
session God showed himself to me in such a powerful way, for the first time in my life I realized that there was a living God. Since then, I have been shown that we need to love people the way that Jesus loved people, without judgment. And at the right time, God would show me exactly what he wanted me to know about my situation. Cedarbrook Church accepts people where they are at with their faith. The people there are non-judgmental and show love in such simple ways. I have since been baptized as an adult (I had already been baptized as an infant but wanted to make that fresh start and commitment). I have girlfriends! This is something I have been praying for years for. I have a church family and most importantly I have a relationship with Jesus. Last fall, I underwent rotator cuff surgery that went bad. I got a mursa staff infection and since have had 4 additional surgeries and 6 weeks of antibiotics to get rid of it. In the mean time, folks at Cedarbrook Church have visited me, brought us meals, cleaned my home, sent cards, called, emailed and prayed for me. I have never in my life felt so much love. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have managed these last 6 months if it hadn’t been for my faith and those wonderful God loving people at church. Thank you. 28. Jerry & Julie Burg When the mall was being renovated into a Sports bar and banquet room, I was installing a sliding room divider. I had been praying for two years about finding another church that had more of an outreach to its neighbors – a church that you could feel comfortable about bringing someone in that attended a main denominational Church. One day while I was working alone in the banquet room. I felt a very strong impression that God was going to use this place. I remember thinking; God is going to use a Sports bar? Two days after receiving that impression, I was back in the Banquet hall taking care of a few finishing touches on the room divider. While doing that I noticed two men and a woman looking around and I asked if I could be of help. The woman, who turned out to be Jane Wellumson, said that she was part of a church that was meeting in a theater and that they had outgrown that facility and were considering the banquet room. I felt that this might have been the answer to my prayers and decided to check the church out on Sunday. Remy (one of the two men I saw earlier) was preaching. After hearing him I knew that this was the church I have been looking for. My wife was in Southern Illinois visiting her mother at this time and was not with me, so I wanted to see what she thought before making a decision. We attended the next Sunday service and she wholeheartedly agreed with me. We started attending a few of the
services at the theater and then helped with the move to the mall. We are very grateful for Cedarbrook's ministries and will do all that we can to see it expand its outreach. 29. Orland Abel Through the ministry of Cedarbrook Church, God has shown me the importance of using a positive approach to reaching people for Jesus. I have experienced change in my growth and have also seen it in so many others. It makes you want to learn more about what God has for you while you serve Him here on Earth. With the positive approach, you have the desire to serve rather than you are expected to. The many ministries in place from the little children through adulthood are great opportunities to learn and to serve. 30. Judy Abel Connect: The summer of 2004, when I became a regular attendee, my desire was to get to know as many people as I could and for them to get to know me. I began my journey with the 40 days of purpose small group. I then went on to Alpha, The Christmas Tale Musical and other small groups such as Remy's seminars on spiritual gifts, shame and membership and Bible and book studies. Grow: I became a believer at a young age, but about 16 years ago, God little by little began a deeper work within me as I became willing for Him to do so. Although a healing began then it wasn't until I joined Celebrate Recovery that I realized how much in denial I had been over the years. God opened up the eyes of my heart. I also received healing and mind renewal through our Transformation Prayer Ministry or TPM. Also, the Boundaries class was offered and I attended. At the end of the class I wanted more! I began to work in depth with this area of my life and continue to this day. Also, God has taught me much through Remy's sermons and others who have shared from their heart on Sunday mornings. Serve: I have had various opportunities to serve such as hosting small groups, Neighborhood Tables, variety of parties, Cedarbrook Center extreme makeover, R2R, VBS, Lend a Hand, etc. My focus is: Boundaries -facilitating classes –mentoring - Prayer Ministry Team -Point of Grace (praying with others on Sunday Mornings)-TPM (facilitator) -KneEmail (communicating prayer requests). As God gives me opportunities. To God is the glory!! 31. Rick Larson After coming to Christ 2 ½ years ago, I’ve been looking for a Christian church with similar beliefs and values. Cedarbrook is that place. We have very sound leadership; dedicated to loving God and living this life consistently…striving to reach people like myself, wherever we are at with our relationship to God. Cedarbrook shows empathy, kindness and respect to it people. With humble grace, giving all honor and glory to God the Father, through his holy, holy son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
All good things in our lives are blessings, gifts from above. Cedarbrook is one huge blessing! Strengthening my faith in true Christianity, lifting my spirit through fellowship and worship and allowing me true joy through service; this is what I get from Cedarbrook. And more, real people, real values, real cool…oh yea, the music is excellent too! Cedarbrook, a uniquely special church, all by the awesome Grace of God! 32. Jayne Rechtzigel I've been involved with Cedarbrook from the beginning. As I look back there have been many changes for Cedarbrook; some monumental and some, because of growth, are gradual. My faith journey in the past seven years has been similar; some gradual and some monumental. Many of those changes have been a result of the culture at Cedarbrook to allow people to be transparent and honest about their own struggles and where they are in their spiritual walk. I have been able to grow as I expressed my personal struggles and others have come alongside me to help me make sense of them and grow closer to God because of them. The opportunity to use my gifts and talents for God and His church have stretched me and grown me beyond anything I might have imagined. 33. Lisa Diederich For me, Cedarbrook Church has been a place to get involved on the ground level. Nothing was sacred (in the early days) because it was “the way we had always done it” – but we were able as a group of followers of Jesus to try new ways to make Him known to our community. I received a gifting and calling to Children’s Ministry that stretched me out of my comfort zone to lead and inspire others. It challenged me to new levels of trust in God weekly as I sought to communicate the truth about who God is to little hearts and minds, and allowed me to have more fun than I thought possible when working so hard! It was a challenge to try to make the Cinemagic movie theater into a safe and welcoming environment for kids, but one good thing from this demanding environment was that it helped us to throw out traditional ideas about how “Sunday School” should look and seek to create a program that fit the learning styles and spiritual needs of Cedarbrook kids. Cedarbrook has allowed me to move out of the box, learn to risk innovatively, and given me the freedom to explore and grow as a person. As much as I have given of myself to the Cedarbrook vision and mission, I have received so much more. Through conferences I’ve been able to attend, relationships with other serving alongside of me, and the joy of being used by God to make a difference, I have been forever changed. 34. Lindsay I am a sporadic attender at Cedarbrook. I grew up going to a different church here in Menomonie, but when I graduated high school, my parents, mainly my mom, switched churches. This because she has such an active member at this other church but really wasn’t feeling the Lords’ word in that church anymore. She started to move her attendance to Cedarbrook and I could really see a change in her. She was enthusiastic
about God again and was seeking his Word wholeheartedly. She had me come to church on Sunday when I came home from college; I am not going to lie, it was hard for me, I don’t like change, but I really liked Cedarbrook. I enjoyed the upbeat music, it reminded me of my church at college, and I also enjoyed how genuine and honest Remy is about God’s word and just life as a Christian. At our old church, I could literally recite 95% of the entire church service. I didn’t feel like I was getting as much out of it as I should be. I like how we pray here and the practical sermons. When I came back from college, I enjoy waking up Sunday mornings and listening to the band and hearing what Remy has to say. My dad even enjoys coming to church now, so that’s a blessing in and of itself. All and all, I am really thankful for Cedarbrook and what it has done for my family, so, thank you! 35. Becky Brooks My family and I have been going to Cedarbrook for about eight months now. I would be lying if I told you that during the first few months I wasn’t uncomfortable going to the mall for worship. Where was the church steeple and the sound of the bell ringing outside before service? I missed the feel of my back against the hard wood pew and the comfort of the sound of the organ playing as I entered the church. This was the first time in my life that I felt out of place at church. My husband loved it right from the start along with my children. I remember thinking “what am I missing?” Then it hit me. What if I rid my mind of the things I missed or what was different and just focused on the here and now. I was willing to give it a try and I am so thankful I did. While sitting on a padded metal chair in the old Thunderbird mall, I began to truly listen to the words of Pastor Remy. He spoke of the word of God like no pastor I had ever heard. I remember thinking, I have heard this subject many times before but tor the first time, I truly understood it. I will miss our church at the mall because it is the first time I realized that it’s not about the building or church traditions. It’s about worshipping freely and openly with other believers even if it’s in the same building as a bowling alley. 36. Allen Crowe I have had many fond memories of Cedarbrook. I’ve witnessed baptisms, baby and child dedications, and marriages growing and for being saved and souls that were lost but now have been found by God by putting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I pray often for Cedarbrook. I pray we have a bright and vibrant future, and that I have made an impact at Cedarbrook and was part of Cedarbrooks growing legacy. Bottom Line; the reason why I served as passionately as I did here is simply said in three words, “I Love You”. 37. Jason
I was going through a hard time with the loss of my dad from cancer. My dad found out on a Friday and passed away the following Saturday. I didn’t have much time to say the things that I wanted to say to him; I was at college and didn’t make it back in time. I was angry and blamed God for taking him away from me. I met the love of my life that was coming here and she invited me to come to Cedarbrook. Because of all the positive things I was getting from the church, I have been able to restore my faith in God! 38. Garrett Anderson Cedarbrook Church has been a major instrument in my walk with God in these past seven years. As going through some of the toughest stages of life (middle school and high school) I have always felt like Cedarbrook has been a place to go and keep my mind focused on what is most important in life. The Youth ministry has also helped me stay committed in my walk with God thanks to Andre, Brad and now, Andy. You guys have been great! Cedarbrook has also been the location that I can call my baptism site. I feel like God is always able to give a message to me in some way through Remy’s words and for that I feel very blessed. As I now am heading off to college in a short time, I thank God that he has brought me to Cedarbrook to learn and apply his word to my life and future. God Bless Cedarbrook! 39. Anonymous Our daughter went to Kidmo (children’s ministry) a few times with a friend and she wouldn’t stop asking us to go to Cedarbrook until I took her. She loves Kidmo and is excited to every Sunday. After I went a few times, my husband also decided to go; after 20 years of marriage, I finally got my partner to go to church and worship with me. 40. Anonymous I was looking for a church for my two boys and I to attend and feel welcomed. We went to several churches and the kids and I were never really excited-it felt like a chore. We tried Cedarbrook and it just felt ‘right’. The boys and I are so excited to come and look forward to it all week. There are so many times I feel like the lesson is being spoken right to us. I feel touched every Sunday. I have shared my experience with my friends and my boyfriend and now we all come every Sunday. I am looking forward to getting actively involved at the new building. 41. Karen Hofland This is the first time I really looked forward to coming to church. I love the originality, variety and acceptance. I have made many good friends. It is fun to be passionate about a place to invite others to join. It has made worship exciting. Small groups have been wonderful ways to visit and go deeper outside of Sunday service. I am looking forward to the new experience and growth in our own building will offer.
42. Heather Remington
I came to Cedarbrook in the spring of 2009 when Pastor Remy was just introducing “The Shack” sermon series. I ended up buying the book. The experience helped me to reconnect with Jesus. It was just what I needed after going through some tough personal times and losses. I was impressed by the organization of the church and how easy Remy and staff made it to become connected at Cedarbrook. I have since joined a couple of small groups and have become a greeter on Sunday mornings. I have met so many wonderful people here-I can’t think of any other church where I’ve felt so welcomed! Thank you Pastor Remy! Thank you Cedarbrook! 43. Carol & Phil Grape We moved here in August of 2007; a job change and engagement brought us where we are today. For me, God has always been a part of my life, but I wanted more. I wanted God to be first! I wanted him to be a part of all of our decisions. So, when we looked for a church, we looked in the phonebook and Cedarbrook stuck out. One service and we knew this would be our church. I was so very happy that my husband and I could start our life with the Pastor that married us in the church that we call home! What a great way to start our lives with God! Another WOW; to watch our daughter Fern to be on fire with the Lord! It’s all so worth it! 44. Kris Slattery My thoughts go back to a time of sneaking into the theatre, hiding in the top row and letting the comfortable chair engulf me. Then, sneaking out before the service ended. I felt so unworthy to be in “church”, but what kept bringing me back was the fact that I felt I was right where I needed to be. I felt comfort in being surrounded by others in pain. Even though I didn’t talk to anyone, I felt the pain around me. I knew in my heart that this wasn’t a perfect church for perfect looking people. But a real place for real people with a real leader named Remy. As Remy spoke Sunday after Sunday about his struggles, it allowed me to feel safe and from that safety, I learned to trust and then, ultimately feel loved-genuine love from my Almighty Father. As I let others in, I felt God’s love and acceptance. I took in everything offered at Cedarbrook. Today, I hope others feel that same love and acceptance through Divorce Care and Grief Share. I am now turning on the lights and opening the door and not hiding in the dark. Thank you members of Cedarbrook and Remy. Freedom feels so good! 45. Jean D ‘Angelo I would consider myself ‘new’ to Cedarbrook. From the first time I stepped into Cedarbrook Church, I felt welcome and comfortable. The past three years of my life have been very difficult for me with major life struggles. God has been very gracious by allowing these challenges to enter my life and create change in me. Of these changes is the desire to learn, grow and serve God. Cedarbrook has become my family.
46. Teri Knutson In May of 2007, after I left L.E. Phillips, I came to Menomonie to Arbor Place Treatment Center. This is where I met Pastor Remy. I needed to find a higher power so I would be able to stay clean, off drugs and alcohol. Remy had a spirituality class at Arbor Place. I was so angry at God I didn’t believe I would get anything out of it. Was I wrong! Remy answered many questions for me and I came to church for the first time in years. I now have a spiritual life and know that God never gives me more than I can handle. On May 14th, I will celebrate 3 years clean and I never would have been able to accomplish this without a spiritual program. 47. Susie Ziebell Cedarbrook has been our church for six years now and it’s the first church that we truly feel at home and connected to. It’s almost like a second family. We want to be a part of anything that is planned here. It is fun to see God’s will taking place here. I like how someone can visit our church and may not be familiar with the Bible and leave understanding what the sermon was about and be able to apply it to whatever is going on in their life at that time. We regularly invite people to Cedarbrook. I love seeing my children grow spiritually also here at Cedarbrook! Me too! 48. Anonymous I have been attending Cedarbrook for six years and it has truly been amazing to realize what the Lord is doing here. Even though I have been here for six years, I was recently shown how to get up close with the Lord and have a personal relationship with him. By going to Cedarbrook, the Lord has shown me his loving heart of warm compassion for all of his children here. Every person I have met has made an impact in my life and I am so blessed to say that God has used these wonderful people to move me and his other children. We are so blessed to have such a great Father here at Cedarbrook and He really does move people here. It’s been an incredible journey he’s taken us on! 49. Jim & Queenie Stewart I’d really have to start with Thank You to everyone! My life had really gone down hill. That is without Christ in my/our lives-We can’t live free! That is living in Christ’s word and following Christ’s plan for me and my family. I got baptized on 8/23/09. That’s how and why I really started living by Christ’s Words (the Bible). My life has just soared from positive words and positive feelings, love and caring. A church is what people make of Christ’s words and actions and living with love and sharing. Participating in group sharing and learning about Christ and living with Christ is #1. That is what Cedarbrook is truly doing extremely well. The word church again is the people and that is Cedarbrook. You all have made God such a good, positive feeling; I just cannot live without giving back. That’s Love. At Cedarbrook, people are all the same in Christ’s eyes. Whoa, putting down on paper my thoughts and feelings is exciting and also scary. I don’t want these feelings to stop
togetherness and Christ’s love and giving. It’s like being on a roller coaster ride, very few up but a lot of downs. Cedarbrook says-‘What can we do for you? ‘That’s scary because before, I heard that but it wasn’t really there. My past is just that, my past. This is really a great place to be, everyone loves from their heart, that’s the difference, and the Love of Christ shows everywhere I look. That is what Cedarbrook is all about. Because of all the kindness, one cannot come away without the feelings of Christ love and caring and giving. God’s Blessings for Eternity! P.S. Queenie wanted to say thank you all for setting such a positive feelings and accepting us for just being us! 50. Steve J. When I left a treatment center, I was looking for a church to reacquaint myself with God. I was invited to Cedarbrook. When I came as a stranger that feeling was left at the door. Ever since, God has constantly opened opportunities for me to serve God and others. I thank God and Cedarbrook for this new life. 51. Millie Kotulek I was there when SNA (Saturday Night Alternative…a ministry that Remy led at the Alliance Church before Cedarbrook) was started, to reach out to the community in a new and exciting way, seeing everlasting relationships beginning with Jesus Christ. Our first service was at the Wellumson barn-I sat on bird mess! I always had a fervent desire to say “Hey, this good news of Jesus Christ is for you and it is relevant to your life here on earth!” I will stay at Cedarbrook unless my God moves me elsewhere. I like the freedom to worship unrestrained and unashamed, and Cedarbrook facilitates and invites just that. 52. Josh Bleskacek My family started coming to Cedarbrook over a year ago and have enjoyed every moment here. This is the first time that we can say that we feel part of a church. Everything about this church is wonderful…Sunday services, the Children’s Ministry, staff, music, people and the presence of God! I am glad to call Cedarbrook home. 53. Talberg’s We moved here from Minnesota about three years ago. We were very active in our church there, making finding a new church that much more difficult. The open, casual spirit at Cedarbrook has made us feel at home and the growth and activity makes the future exciting. 54. Phil Lark Praise our Lord. When I first started attending Cedarbrook, I met a friend who told me she had been going to church her whole life but not until she attended Cedarbrook did she learn she could have a relationship with God. A Sunday after that, one of Remy’s sermons made clear to my dear wife that her hopes of maybe coming in the back door at Heaven
were no more, because of our Lord’s blood on the cross; she was as welcome as all his children are. Praise our King! Just this year my sister joined us at a service. The sermon that day rang clear that we are saved by the blood of Jesus’ death, forgiven once and for all and welcomed into the presence of the Mighty God because of Jesus. It is my hope and prayer that as we switch to our new building, not a Sunday goes by that the way to God through Jesus is told, preached on and pointed to. Many of us may know but if there is one soul in our midst wondering, or one who came that day searching, I pray they hear the good news of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. To him be the Glory! 55. Anonymous This church has been an eye opener for me. This is the first church I have really felt like I belong to and have it influence my life with God. God has blessed me in my relationship with God and also relationships between people. And, the music Rocks! 56. Mark & Jennifer Schneider Jennifer and I truly believe by coming to Cedarbrook, God has opened our hearts and minds to what Jesus had in mind to be his followers. How the church is so devoted to helping others, teaching God’s word, not preaching it. It is so fresh and rewarding. We enjoy the love and fellowship that we find in our church family. 57. Julie Fenter I heard about Cedarbrook from a friend several years ago when I was going through abuse and an extremely difficult separation and divorce. I’d been visiting many churches but when I heard the worship and messages here, I knew it was where God had brought me to heal. That was just the start. Both Pastor Remy and Lisa spoke much needed words of encouragement, mercy and forgiveness into my broken heart. Jayne Rechtzigel gave hours of her time to give me healing through the TPM Ministries. Countless people at church reached out to me with concern and caring. I learned so much from Remy’s sermons and also through small groups. The caring prayers in the Point of Grace Ministry have been a continuous blessing to me also. There is more; the sound team devoted time to train and welcome my son so he now has that uplifting and fulfilling opportunity. When I needed to move two different times and was desperate for help, on both occasions wonderful and giving people from church came to my aid. The church even helped me to pay my rent when there was no money. I turned to the church and they responded by helping me pay the rent. It is impossible to express in mere words all the ways that Cedarbrook has touched and healed my heart. The messages and music are so true and meaningful that they often bring me to tears as they fill the needs of my soul. And to every single person at the
church who has shown so much kindness, caring, encouragement and love of Christ over and over during the past years. This is my chance to say thank you from my heart. It meant the world to me. May God bless each of you as you have been a blessing to me and my children. Love in Christ. 58. Laurence & Faith Sipple How God has moved in our lives since we came to Cedarbrook. My husband and I were both churched all of our lives and were born again Christians; my husband since he was 12 and I was 22. Cedarbrook has given us a church to attend where we have: • Much enjoyed the music. • Been blessed so many ways by practical messages to living in this world on subjects such as marriage, parenting, right sexual living, attaining financial stability, how to face life and act if one had only 30 days left to live, forgiving, dealing with anger, grief, addictions, how to look at others who aren’t yet where we are spiritually and balancing time and resources well. • Been challenged to give to helping the poor children at Christmas with useful and fun items, trips members of the church take to needy areas of the world, the building fund, giving pure water sources in needy countries and youth activities. • Gotten to know new people at Neighborhood tables and had a great time at a Valentine Banquet and other social gatherings. • A non-threatening place to bring people who are seekers to be introduced to the message of Christianity. Also, a place where we can bring people who are dealing with special challenges in their lives. • Been able to take part in an immersion baptism. • Been inspired by other peoples’ testimonies and dedications. • The ability to converse with the pastor at any time on any points made in the sermon. • Been inspired, enlightened and more focused on my personal ministry calling by a class on leadership I took at Cedarbrook. • A pastor and his wife we could truly admire for their Christian example morally and intellectually. 59. Greg Ritchie I moved to Menomonie in 2004 for work. At this time I was single and starting a new career. I was feeling very in “control”. Within a matter of months, I met and began dating a single mother of two beautiful girls; Kanyon and Elizabeth. As our relationship developed, we were both seeking to deepen our relationship with God and we began to attend Cedarbrook Church (at the theater) in 2005. Over the course of the next eighteen months, Cindy and I married and welcomed our first son, Ainsley. Single to married with three kids in just over a year!
We found that we were developing strong relationships with other attendee’s of Cedarbrook. This community became critical for our family as we did not have any immediate family anywhere near the Menomonie area. We were both baptized together at Cedarbrook the following year and started attending small groups with our church family. In May of 2009, we welcomed twin boys to our family; Preston and Patrick. When I think back over the course of my relationship with Cedarbrook and the few years that have gone by where I transitioned from a single guy in “control” to a husband and new father of five great kids, I can find great comfort in the fact that I was never in “control”. I truly feel led, and my faith journey with Remy and Cedarbrook has been a profound impact on my life: personally, socially, professionally, and spiritually. 60. Justin Bartz I’ve been with Cedarbrook from the very beginning. The very first service in a hay loft of a barn. It’s been amazing to see where it has gone. From a small handful of people to a large community who’s presence has been felt all over the world. I have been blessed to have been a part of several of those mission trips and use the gifts God has given me to make a positive impact on people’s lives. I’m glad to have been and continue to be part of a church and community whose impact has been felt by so many. 61. Anonymous God has given me a home to worship in without feeling judged; teaching that encourages and inspires; and opportunities to serve; in short, Freedom. 62. Lynn Yaeger I started coming to Cedarbrook a couple years now, here and there. Looking for something not sure for what reason but it was there. Remy started talking not preaching. He talked like I was the only one in the room, like he knew what was going on in my life without him even knowing me. Remy just met me officially putting face with a name the other day at the Close the Gap banquet. Remy and God has touched my heart and soul. I’m thankful. I thank God and Cedarbrook. 63. Anonymous I had drifted away from going to church and from God. My sister invited me to go to church with her here at Cedarbrook. I came and was surprised at how different Cedarbrook was from my former church. I continued going and found how enjoyable church was again. I have recommitted my life to God and am glad that God sent me an invitation through my sister to come back and renew my faith. 64. Anonymous Like many of the people that attend Cedarbrook, I had stepped away from other organized religions. I found the rituals meaningless and the significance of those rituals to the church making Jesus’ sacrifice mundane. I didn’t fit their idea of a “religious” participant. They weren’t happy with me or me with them. At Cedarbrook my faith has deepened and I have made connections with others. We may not necessarily worship the same way but we worship the same God. I have found the sermons meaningful and insightful as well as being able to apply them to everyday life and relationships. The talented pool of individuals that have spoken from the pulpit also spoke from their hearts as have the small group leaders that have led the groups I’ve participated in. In the move
to the new building, I hope that the way Cedarbrook expresses itself still comes through as authentic and the people of Cedarbrook as caring 65. Brenda Brinkman Koehler I grew up going to Church, Sunday school, and I was confirmed. Once I was out of high school I kept God out of my life, for years, up until three years ago this August when I started going to Cedarbrook. I had been threw a lot… that is why I shoved God away because I thought… what kind of God would put someone through the things I had been through? I get it now, but still learning. I am who I am today because of what God has done for me through Cedarbrook, and it gets better, and better. I do have regrets of not raising my older kids by going to church, but it is never too late. They can learn from me, and they see a difference in me, and they do question me on some things. God has helped me through so much. I love where I am at with my faith. I will be on a rollercoaster for the rest of my life, but my life is in God's hands and I trust him! I do not hide my faith from anyone. I notice so much more of what God has created, and it makes me smile! 65. Mike Fekete In response to how Cedarbrook has used God in my life. I have attended Cedarbrook since shortly after it opened. God is present in my life daily whereas he was an afterthought or not thought of at all previously. God guides my daily life and I make sure to give him credit in all that I do and accomplish. God helps keep me disciplined and I look to him for patience when I am faced with situations requiring patience and restraint. I feel God's presence and he guides me as I work my way through life. I do things for people and expect nothing in return. If I "pay it forward" at Burger King I know God knows when no one else does. God and I realize my time on this earth can be taken at any time and my charge is to be as giving as possible while he allows me to be here. 66. Gary Doornink Cedarbrook was recommended to me by a co-worker that goes to the Alliance church, He thought that it would be a good fit for my wife and I. Since we have been coming to Cedarbrook my relationship with Jesus has grown because of God working through Remy's messages, the great worship music and the many small groups. We have made a lot of awesome friends. God has changed my life with the music I listen to, reading the bible daily, praying often and even sending me on my first mission trip. God is good and He is making things happen thru Cedarbrook Church.
67. Greg and Jennifer Holden
We were introduced to Cedarbrook in the fall of 2003. I had been begging my husband to come to church with me; however he wasn’t excited about a small rural church with just a few remaining active members and we were not at all interested in attending the church he grew up in. I prayed that we would find a church for several years while we were first married. Even though God was very important in our wedding ceremony and in our personal lives, he was almost absent in our marriage and day-to-day decisions. It was soon after the birth of our daughter that I really started pushing the issue of our family needing a church that we called “OURS”. As we started seeking out a church a friend invited us to Cedarbrook and, well, the rest is history. From the first time we entered the theatre we were hooked. I prayed to get connected and we were connected
in several ways! I prayed for friendship and we now have many church friends that we consider part of our family. Cedarbrook has been such a blessing to us! Cedarbrook has also made a huge impact in our daughter’s life. She is growing up seeing my husband and I very involved in our small group, dedicated to our church (in good times and some rough times too) and she has seen, felt, and heard God comfort her while I was both preparing for and in Honduras on a mission trip. She loves to hear Pastor Remy’s sermons and talks about them during the week; often reminding us of topics that were brought up and words to live by. But most importantly she has shown us a true example of what it’s like to depend on God at all times, to live with a giving heart, and to be proud to be a Christian.
68. Michele 'Shelly Munson' Scott
At the bottom of what I thought was a bottomless pit, I found God and Cedarbrook. All MY efforts had gotten me there, with no other options I grabbed on. I spent a year white knuckling my life repeating "God's in charge." I went from going through a divorce, homeless, jobless, moneyless and (felt like) friendless to engaged, employed, a house, money in savings and an awesome relationship with my creator. Thanks to a grace giving God and the people of Cedarbrook Church.
69. Alison Glapa
Several years ago I was asked to join a small group (all women). I was very reluctant initially because I didn't really know any of these women. I couldn't see myself ever 'fitting in' or liking the small group experience. Today I can honestly say that I dearly love every single one of those women; I consider them sisters and friends. God has taught me many things through my relationships and experiences from being part of that tremendous small group.
70. Jim Walker At our small group, one person suggested these stories could include how God has used Cedarbrook outside the boundaries of the church itself. Immediately I thought about the Free Clinic. The initial church leadership team was loaded toward a medical perspective with three physicians involved plus the Northlake building we were using at the time had been a clinic. So as we thought about how we could positively impact our community, the concept of a free clinic was suggested. I agreed to investigate this concept further. I discovered a group of people who were interested in starting a free clinic, joined them, and together we were able to found the Free Clinic of the Greater Menomonie Area. In the five years since the clinic started, over 1800 people from our community have been able to receive free medical care and prescriptions. Although this is not a direct ministry of Cedarbrook Church, the concept for a free clinic was partially a Cedarbrook idea. And Cedarbrook people play a significant role in the operation of the clinic. Mary Blanchard is the nurse coordinator. Kathy Markham oversees the lab. Patti Walker organizes the annual Gift of the Heart benefit dinner. And Cedarbrook was the only church to include the Free Clinic in its annual budget. 71. Anonymous
I became a believer when I was 17. A 17 year old believer in a lost world of friends… secretly letting God change me inward first then outward. I started in Menomonie looking and seeking for a church…trying one after another…satisfied but not welcomed until I went to a Methodist church. I was invited to the church by a 91 year old woman. Then unfortunately she set aside her faith and took her life. The pain was too great to go back. Until Cedarbrook!! The Lord met me! 72. Mike Dusso I was looking for something different in a church. One day last year, I was walking in the mall for exercise. I stopped at the Cedarbrook Center information wall. I read some flyers to see what Cedarbrook had to offer. I decided I needed to see in person what Cedarbrook was like, so I went the next Sunday. I liked what I saw and heard and have been there ever since. That was 18 months ago. Since Day One, I’ve felt that this is where God intended for me to be. The people at Cedarbrook are truly special. They make you feel like you’ve been a Cedarbrooker your whole life. The hospitality is outstanding. The hellos, handshakes and fellowship are truly genuine. My life has changed a whole lot since going to Cedarbrook. I’ve grown as a person and renewed my faith in God with the assistance of friends and in small group. I truly enjoy attending Cedarbrook. Something is always happening at church. It’s different and exciting all at the same time. That’s my story. 73. Anonymous Cedarbrook Church has had a very positive impact on our family. It has been amazing how timely the sermons and discussions in our small group have been for helping overcome hurdles in our marriage. It is obvious that God is showing up and has a plan to help us build a healthier family and stronger relationships. 74. Anonymous Our family was searching for a church. We went to a church but felt worse when we left than when we arrived each Sunday. Upon invitation, I attended Cedarbrook at the movie theater. I felt an immediate warmth and welcome. I attended a few more times and convinced my husband to attend as well. Our children, due to the children’s ministry, talked about God and his teachings for the first time ever and could relate the messages to their lives. God invited us into a comfortable, welcoming, renewing relationship. One that had never been present and, frankly, abandoned. We are all growing and learning about God and how to live a life to serve him. Cedarbrook was the place we were welcomed and felt comfortable in our new relationship. Our lives have been blessed and changed forever. God called us back to a new home.
75. Dave and Donna Utpadel
Our “Cedarbrook Story” began with a simple invite to visit a “new church” in Menomonie. We had been members in a local church. We went to church occasionally, taught Sunday School, served on committees, sent our two sons to Sunday School and Confirmation. After the completion of confirmation, our church attendance dwindled. One Sunday in early 2004, our son, Justin invited us to go to church with him. Justin was a student at UW-Stout and had become active in Campus Crusade (a campus ministry). Justin thought we would like Cedarbrook. He was right … we did like Cedarbrook! The message and the music was uplifting and meaningful. We needed to renew our faith to
face the challenges that were in store for us. As a member of the Army National Guard, Justin served two tours in Iraq. Our faith and Justin’s strong faith along with the prayers and support from our Cedarbrook friends/small group helped us endure both deployments. Our first “Cedarbrook Small Group” experience was the result of another invitation. We were asked if we would like to join a small group study on “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Having never participated in a church small group, we were hesitant at first. We joined and have been active in a small group ever since. Being a member of a Small Group is now a “habit” for us. Through our small group, we have grown spiritually and have a great group of Christian friends to learn about God with, laugh with, cry with and pray with. We officially became members of Cedarbrook Church in June of 2009. Our church attendance in the past was because it was the right thing to do. Our church attendance now is because we want to know more about God and we want to develop relationships with other Christians. We are using our “God given gifts to serve others” by participating in “Lend a Hand” opportunities, and serving as Cedarbrook Café volunteers. We have enjoyed the opportunities we have had to work at the Cedarbrook Church building site. In April of 2010, we were privileged to experience our first New Orleans Outreach Mission Trip. Being retired and in good health, we hope to join more outreach trips in the future and continue our service to others. Amen! 76. Remy Diederich Cedarbrook is the first church where church “worked” for me. I’m an idealist at heart and never found a church where I felt the life of Jesus being lived out as a community. There were good sermons and good music, but I was looking for much more than that. I was looking for something where the church body functioned together to help each other and serve others. Cedarbrook is increasingly becoming that place. In the early years we were all getting to know each other little by little. But I think the journey to getting our own building has really pulled us together as have the many small groups and service projects. I’m excited to see how things develop as new people are added to our community. Thanks Cedarbrookers for your passion for God, for each other and for serving others. It’s restored my faith in church.
77. Jill Lewis (and Jim) as told to Remy
Jill said that when she first walked into the church it was a feeling of coming home. She came to realize that faith is about a relationship with God not just formal religion and that relationship has opened doors to so many things for her. She appreciates how nice and “regular” Remy is…not all religious. She said she always leaves on Sunday feeling more spiritual but still regular (not religious). She got a kick out of her son’s response to his first time at Cedarbrook when he said that he “kind of liked it. He wasn’t always wondering when it would be over.” Jim commented that he is surprised how much he and Jill talk about the sermons throughout the week…that they are very thought provoking.
78. Amber Schoenick
In short, Cedarbrook has helped renew my faith in prayer. I've always believed that prayer can do wonders for people. Growing up, whenever I faced a seemingly impossible situation, I prayed. This was brought to life again recently while we dealt with my son's
health issues. He went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester with the imminent prospect of needing surgery on his cranium because of his cranio-synostosis. I believe it's through the prayer of church and family members that not only caused him not to need the surgery, but also to have a full recovery and not require any follow up therapies or medical devices. He can live a normal life, and we'll always remind him that prayer can work miracles. We might not necessarily tell him about his specific medical issues, but we will reiterate how prayer can help him in the future, because it already has helped him so much.
79. Jane Salazar
Let me start off by saying I love Cedarbrook!! I have been to a few churches and never really "felt" a connection. I didn't attend church on a regular basis. When I first started attending Cedarbrook I was going to college full time, had a 8 year old, a baby on the way, was in a relationship for past 10 years with the kids dad who is an alcoholic so of course every day was a surprise. I didn't have any family or friends in Menomonie. I was drained emotionally and felt very alone. That all changed when I started attending Cedarbrook. I was growing as a person, I was meeting others who I was able to talk to and I never once felt judged!! I trusted the people who were smiling at me and taking time to talk with my kids and I. I have never felt closer to my spirituality and trusted in God as much as I do now. There were many times when I would go into church feeling very overwhelmed and walk out feeling lighter and stronger. I remember one Sunday I was starting to second guess myself and started having doubts about being able to be a single mom of two and make it financially. I got up and forced myself to church. That was the best thing I ever did. During worship that Sunday I just had a moment, the tears wouldn't quit coming. I had a feeling that I never had before. I honestly felt God in my presence and he was ensuring me to trust him because it was going to be alright, he was going to take care of the kids and I. I am so grateful for the people at Cedarbrook not only for myself but my children as well. My daughter loves going to church. I love it when she teaches me what she learned during Kids Time, whether it be a story from the Bible or a story one of the leaders taught them. I am blessed to have met so many wonderful friends whom I consider family now at Cedarbrook. By attending Cedarbrook and finding strength and believing in God I was able to end the unhealthy relationship. By the Grace of God I am free, I am enjoying life and able to stand on my own two feet while holding Gods hand.
80. Chris & Tiffany Ehlert
A little over seven years ago Chris and I were living in Eau Claire, attending Valleybrook Church, and expecting our first child. Just two years later we found ourselves with two more children, living in Menomonie, and beginning to dread the Sunday morning exercise of loading, travelling, trying to juggle 3 little boys for the entire morning. We knew we needed to make a change to keep our sanity, and our joy of Sunday worship. We knew that Valleybrook had helped launch Cedarbrook, and we decided to give it a try. At that time, Cedarbrook was meeting at the Cinemagic Theater, and it made me chuckle
a little. Valleybrook is an old theater, Cedarbrook was meeting in a theater, and I wondered if my then 3 year old (Ben) understood that not all churches had stadium seating and cup holders. The music, the message, and the warm welcome confirmed that we were in the right place. God has been so faithful at providing for us. Five years later we have found ourselves in the midst of a community we call our own. We have a small group that is an extension of our family, and Cedarbrook truly is our home. We love where we have been, we love where we are, and we love where we are going. God is so good! All the time!
81. Dina Babb
About four years ago we had a very painful experience at another church, and felt hesitant about getting involved in any church. We visited around a couple of other churches in Menomonie, and decided to try Cedarbrook. We had heard only bad things about it! Cedarbrook was still meeting at Cinemagic then. You were just getting ready to move to the Shops Off Broadway. We just kept coming back. Every week it seemed that Remy's message was what I needed to hear. It was very relevant and down to earth. My kids really connected with Brad, who was the interim Youth Leader at the time. We met a few people that we became friends with. When Andy came as the Youth Pastor we all really liked him and his family. By then I had decided I wanted to be involved and started volunteering in Kids' Church. I really love being there! I had heard rumors that the "sermons" at Cedarbrook were watered down and that Remy didn't use the Bible much, but I found that to be completely untrue. I found that the application was much clearer and the messages were honest and very challenging. One of the first series of messages Remy shared was the Beatitudes, and I got so much out of what Jesus was really saying, and how radical he was. I was already familiar with Theophostic Prayer, and was excited to find out that Cedarbrook had an active TPM ministry. I started meeting with Jayne Rechtzigel (TPM facilitator), and received so much healing and wholeness and decided to go through TPM training again. It has been a very liberating experience. I also was able to join a Women’s Bible study, and went through "Principles of the Path", and "Breaking Free". They have both been life-changing, and I look forward to our next study together! I'm excited to see Cedarbrook grow and expand, and am glad to be a part of it!
82. Joe Draxler (another story)
I was a devout Catholic and came from a very devout Catholic home. At the age of 28 I went to my first Bible Study. I was totally intrigued with the Bible as I had never read or studied it before that time. I could not get enough and went to every class or conference that I could attend. I also studied alot and read every author and every bit of information that I could find. I was also fortunate to sit under some very great men of God and be taught by these people. This continued for 15 years. I was exposed to so many things and to so many people that I can only thank God for the events and people that God put in my life.
Through various circumstances I left the church that I had helped to establish. I was devastated and decided that maybe Christianity really wasn’t what I thought it was. For several years I did not attend a church. Occasionally I would attend a church at Christmas or Easter etc. We finally began to attend the Alliance Church in Menomonie and I was determined to be sure not to expose myself or set myself up to be hurt again. I came in at the very last minute and left immediately when the service ended. One day Pastor Jack caught me as I was running for my car. We became very good friends, I still was determined to never set myself up or expose myself for another experience as I had had years before. One Sunday morning we came to Menomonie for church but we were running late. We decided to stop at the theatre and check out the new group in town. We were so impressed with the people and the teaching and the true Christian atmosphere that we kept coming back. One day a gal asked us to help usher. That was the beginning of the healing. We went from ushering to joining a well drilling mission group to Honduras with Living Water International. Cedarbrook has taken me "just as I am". And Cedarbook has brought me back to the relationship I had years ago with the Great God who has loved me through every day of my life. 83. Paul Warren I started coming to Cedarbrook several years ago. I liked that it offered a fresh alternative to church that I really hadn’t seen much of before. I had tried several other churches but never felt like I fit in there. Most Sunday mornings I would just stay home. I didn’t view going to church as being important to being a Christian. I didn’t realize what I was missing. Being able to partake in a worship service every week and enjoy fellowship with other Christians is hugely important. I appreciate that there is a comprehensive children’s ministry in place to help my daughter learn more about the Bible and make it relevant and fun for her. I had been concerned about how to teach her about the Bible and about being a Christian. I am thankful for it. I feel like I have a deeper relationship with Jesus that has been fostered by coming to Cedarbrook. Cedarbrook means a lot to me and I hope to come for many more years. 84. Bennett Jones Ever since I heard about Cedarbrook through "Cedarbrook Sunday" (a service at UW-Stout) I have been inspired by the worship team and their passion to be led by the Lord through music. I was amazed by the amount of Stout students that turned up to these events, and have always been impressed by the event. The Lord has been, and continues to do great things through Cedarbrook's own worship team, and all other ministry leadership staff. The worship has always been moving at Cedarbrook as the Holy Spirit's presence is ever evident. Praise God.
85. Kari Mogen
God has used Cedarbrook to change not only my life....but my family! I volunteered in the beginning thinking I would do it to help out now and then....I never dreamed I would end up teaching every Sunday! But that's what I needed....a non-threatening consistent way to learn the simple truth about God and how He really does love everyone--even me! Watching these kids...MY kids...soak up the lessons and use them in their daily lives has taught me to do the same. Volunteering also led me to meeting one of my best friends, has given me the ability to trust in people, to let down my guard and reach out to a few
people (which I don't easily do) when my family seemed to hit a lot of testing times these past few years, and has led me to wanting to grow my faith and has started me down the path to do so. I know for a fact that if I never signed up to volunteer in children's ministry, we would still be that family that only goes to church for the major "Christian Holidays" and my kids would never have had the opportunity to grow in their faith at such a young age.....and I know I wouldn't have been able to grow in mine. To that, I am eternally thankful to God for Cedarbrook! 86. Ryan Peterson Long story short, Cedarbrook just fits. The church itself presented a feel unlike any others I found in my search "post Catholicism". I contribute this to your acceptance of anyone no matter where they are in their faith. For that - Cedarbrook has allowed me the opportunity to be comfortable enough to join small groups and participate in the worship band. I absolutely love playing, and am blessed to be a part of something so special. As a result, my faith is far deeper then it has ever been before, and I thank you for that. 87. Kristen Schroeder To our family, Cedarbrook was a warm, loving, safe place during a difficult time in our lives. Maia (daughter) had to have open heart surgery, Pete (husband) was downsized and had to find a new job and decided to change careers and become a teacher, and Bethany (daughter)and I (mom) were in the terrible accident with the semi. Throughout these big events and the regular day to day stuff we always felt supported and knew people were praying for us. Each of us found a niche in the church which helped us to feel connected: Pete with Move Crew and Power Point team, Bethany with youth group, and Maia and me with the Children's Ministry. Cedarbrook has always been there for us in amazing ways and though we've moved from the area, we are still very attached to Cedarbrook for all these reasons and, of course, the great music and authentic lessons taught. We miss you, Cedarbrook and always look forward to when we can visit! Kristen Schroeder 88. Jason & Brenda Frugere For our family, the Cedarbrook Children's Ministry has been the greatest blessing. Each week, our children share stories with us about Jesus, Noah, Jonah, and more. We are astonished to hear them share those stories with us 2-3 days after they have been to Sunday School. That is awesome to have our children share their interpretations of the Bible. Thanks Cedarbrook!
89. Dawn Anderson
Our journey with Cedarbrook began not as a couple but as separate individuals; each of us looking to be closer to God. Daniel (my husband) had just moved back to Menomonie from Florida and started to attend in the winter of 2006. He became a regular attender with his Mother and son. I started attending in the Spring of 2007 with my parents and two children. It never ceases to amaze me how good you feel when you leave a service. And our entire family never realized how much the church would come to mean to us. Daniel and I met through an internet chat and we realized that we both attended Cedarbrook. He liked the early service and I preferred the late so we hadn't run into each other. Our journey was just in the beginning stages when my family learned that my Mother had lung cancer. Our entire family is very close and this news was devastating to say the least and on that very weekend when we went to church we discovered that they were having a picnic on the
church land. We had people pray with us at the church and also Remy said a prayer with us at the picnic. My mom passed in December of that same year and it gave us such strength to know that the Lord was with her and that she was no longer in pain. Although losing my mother was one of the most difficult times of my life, I truly believe that the Lord had a plan for Cedarbrook and Daniel to come into my life at a time when I was going to need faith and love to guide me through all of the sorrow. Daniel and I were married in August of 2009 with Pastor Remy officiating. As husband and wife we attend Cedarbrook and whatever trials and tribulations that we might face we know that we are not alone. 90. Kristin Charles I started coming to Cedarbrook at a very broken time in my life. My parents had recently divorced and it was a shock to many as we were a missionary family whom many looked up to. I remember coming to Cedarbrook cringing on the inside, waiting to be judged again, but instead I was enveloped, loved, cherished and carried through a very difficult time. I love Cedarbrook. Another thing that has always stuck out to me about Remy and the church is that they are not afraid to get into the mess of people's lives. I've seen over and over again how they've helped, encouraged, challenged and supported someone in a tough spot that some churches and pastors would have turned their back on because it looked too controversial from the outside but they are willing to step into the inner circle of people's lives and look at all that’s really going on... all the facts. I'm so thankful for Remy and the staff here at our church. We are very very, very blessed! 91. Cherise Nielsen As I am writing this, I am overwhelmed with emotions. So much has happened in Cedarbrook’s short life…some of which led to a transformation in my own life. For many years now, I have been living a lie. With some key people God has put in my life through Cedarbrook, I am able to put that part of life behind me and rest in God’s grace. I have never been part of a church that is so loving, compassionate, accepting and forgiving. It is good to be home!!! 92. Anonymous I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for the profound change I experienced through the theophostic ministry at Cedarbrook Church. Through this lifelong held, deep, personal beliefs of mine were changed in an instant. All the credit goes to the work of the Holy Spirit Who made such amazing and astonishing changes instantly inside me. For this, I am very thankful to God, and to the people at Cedarbrook who followed God's vision, to make people whole in all areas of our lives. 93. Renee I grew up in what most would call "a healthy Christian home". We attended church on Sunday mornings regularly, my siblings and I attended youth gatherings and were confirmed, and joined the church after completing confirmation classes. We did all the "right stuff". But something was missing. I drifted away from the church at the start of my late rebellious teen years for a number of years. After growing up some, marrying and having children, I went back to the church because it was the right thing
to do and I also felt pressured by my parents to have my kids in Sunday school. I was a Sunday school teacher, superintendent, on committees and again was doing all the "right things" but still something was missing. I had times when I felt complete and at peace, but not many of them. I started attending Cedarbrook from the start at the foot clinic (Northlake Office Building). We continued to attend because my husband enjoyed Remy’s messages. To begin with I only continued to attend because this is where he wanted to go. That was a big thing, if he wanted to go, we went. Again..I felt pressured/guilted into going and still something was missing! It wasn't till I jumped in & started attending studies, small groups and doing service that my life really started to change consistently. It was in doing the service that I began a two way relationship with God that made this change possible. For many years I did the right things and ended up burned out, so I thought that by just sitting in the "pews and being fed" would be cure for the feelings I had. As it turns out; that didn't work either. What I finally learned from Cedarbrook was that I had to get up and start doing for others (serving others) before I could find a relationship with God. Before learning this, it was like trying to carry on a conversation with a wall. I could talk the talk and walk the walk all I wanted but until I started serving I wasn't able to hear what God really wanted to do through/for me. Now as I continue to attend small group studies and volunteer my time in service that He has designed me to do, I can see, hear and feel God around me all the time. I have a peace that I have never had before! This doesn't mean that things always go perfectly for me, but even in the middle of a hectic life, I still have a peaceful feeling. I know God will never leave me, it is I who chose to leave Him. By keeping my steps in stride with His, I continue to see this two way relationship growing deeper and deeper. In conclusion, I have to agree with the songwriter who said "it's all in the serve!' 97. Cassandra Smith Being a young person and trying to swim against the fast current of society towards God has at times been trying and challenging. God has used Cedarbrook in my life to help me stay anchored in my faith and grow me deeper in who I am in Him. I have been so blessed by the relationships that God has brought to me through Cedarbrook. 98. Samantha Amdall A few of the things I am thankful for at Cedarbrook... I am thankful for the many years of "Mom's Group" at Cedarbrook...for the patience they have shown me in all my insecurity, the struggles I wrestled through, the desert time in my faith, and the blessing of being able to build community with other moms. To study topics like Beth Moore's Breaking Free, life issues, and parenting. I am thankful for each and every one of you. You have imparted many things into my life and faith whether you knew it or not. I am thankful for the volunteer opportunities at Cedarbrook...without which I would
possibly have stopped coming because it was so much easier to say that it was "too hard to get there with all four kids on my own"...or "no one likes me there---I just don't fit in". Insecurity and anxiety are bitter friends and I believe that Cedarbrook has a passion to see lives set free in Christ. I am excited and thankful for what my children have learned there and how they've grown. I am hopeful that they will pursue a relationship with Jesus as they grow up that is so much stronger than even my own. Having a 9 year old daughter that struggles with deep anxiety decide to call on Jesus in her own quiet way, to help her talk at school after 4 years of being silent, was an amazing blessing and I know that what she has learned in Children's ministry, outside of her home influence, has played a role in her trusting of Jesus as well as God providing a teacher at school that also attends Cedarbrook and prays for her. (Answers to prayer here!!!). God works in amazing ways!!! 99. Katie Morrissey Huff A little over a year ago, I was attending a small Baptist church in a large city. I had been through some tough church experiences. When I learned that my family was going to be moving to Menomonie, my thought was that I would not join another church because congregations of people cannot seem to find a way to exist without leaving people out, forming hierarchies based on non-Biblical attributes and generally becoming everything Jesus denounced when he spoke about the Pharisees and the Sadducees. I was convinced that not being a part of a church would be better than being a part of something that I had begun to see as repugnant. So we moved here. My husband began to attend Cedarbrook. He invited the pastor over. I poured out my heart to the pastor and told him all of the reasons why I was done with church. He said, "Ok. Well, you've tried everything else. What's one more try? What could it hurt? You've already got a clear sense of what could go wrong. What if this was the one that was different and you didn't get to find it because all the others ruined it for you?" So eventually, I went to church a few times. I joined a small group. The small group has been a saving grace in my life. I've never regretted being a part of Cedarbrook and God has enriched my life tremendously through the teachings and the relationships I have formed, or God has designed, while I've attended. Of course, like any group setting there have been ups and downs, but the integrity of the believers I have met at Cedarbrook is unique. This is a place where I feel I can be myself and be accepted. It is a place to learn and grow. It is a place where you can feel safe to allow your "grave clothes" to fall away as God reveals the person he was always intending for you to become. 100. Lyn Fekete My story is a happy story, like all of the other stories that you’ve received about how Cedarbrook Church changed and “saved” our lives. Mike and I were invited to attend Cedarbrook Church by our neighbors Linda and Phil Newman in January of 2003. Like the Newman’s, we had left the same church for about eight months and were “searching”. In February of 2002 I had been diagnosed with CML, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. I
went through all “the stages” that they write about when you find yourself dealing with devastating news. I knew I could turn to my family and friends for support, but there was such a symbolic “hole” in my heart spiritually. It was filled with sadness, fear, hurt, and anger. I didn’t feel there was anyone I could turn to at “my church” so Mike and I just stopped going. I had always believed in God…attended church elementary school, church every Sunday, received all the sacraments, but didn’t have the personal relationship with God that I needed and longed for. I felt lost. I’ll never forget the very “moment” that I walked into the CineMagic Theater to attend our first worship service with Cedarbrook. I remember it feeling awkward. There were no hymnals and no kneelers! Coffee and donuts IN THE CHURCH DURING SERVICE! Oh my!!! Then the band starting to play. That was it for me! That was all I needed. I remember tears slowly falling down my cheeks and thinking….this is what I need. People truly worshiping God! I remember listening to Remy speak and thinking how relatable it was to daily life. We kept coming to Cedarbrook every Sunday and became members a couple years later. I’m at “home” here now. I’ve made friendships with fellow Christians that I love and hold a very special place in my heart. I have a personal relationship with God that has been nurtured by Cedarbrook, Remy’s sermons, the people that I’ve met, reading the Word of God, and learning how to truly pray, talk”, to God. It wasn’t about the “building structure” of the church. It was about the people that made up the church. I know that it sounds almost ridiculous when I say that I am grateful for the challenge of my illness, but I honestly look at my illness as a new beginning. God took me by the hand, walked me into Cedarbrook Church that January Sunday in 2003, opened more new doors, and changed my life in SO many ways. Today I am a much happier, content, spirit-filled person! I know that He is doing the same for my family. I see little changes happening all the time. This may be the end of my story here on paper, but it certainly isn’t the end of my spiritually journey with Cedarbrook and God as the center of my life. 101. Bill and Jennifer Hewitt I am thankful for the New Orleans trips, the Nehemiah Boys (in New Orleans). The opportunity recharges me every time I am able to go there to do Gods work. Thanks, Cedarbrook for that opportunity (Bill) I am so thankful to be a part of a church that truly serves the community, families in need, as well as supporting the world in need. You’re always here, How can we help? What can we do? That’s what God wants for his people, and that’s what Cedarbrook is all about. Amen. (Jennifer) 102. Ivy Joseph After years of looking here and there for a place we could go on Sundays to worship, feel connected, and comfortable, it is wonderful to have stumbled upon Cedarbrook. It is the first place that we feel we can go and learn about God's love for us and to renew our spirits and still be able to be ourselves, nothing more, nothing less. I like that my son and I feel welcomed and at home every time we walk through the doors. Thank you for taking all the steps that you have in order to make Cedarbrook not only a place to worship but to give and receive support and comfort to
others--all while ensuring the sermons are exciting, educational, relatable, and useful in our everyday lives, and always very moving. I do not think I have left there once without a tear or two welling up in my eyes because I have been moved and/or inspired by Remy’s words, God's words, or the people who continue to make a difference in other people's lives inside and outside of Cedarbrook's walls. In my opinion, Cedarbrook appears to have been responsible for many positive changes in the people who have chosen to take the time to check it out. It appears to inspire, educate, and motivate people, young and old, whether they attend the services or have seen or heard what Cedarbrook has personally done in those people's live around them. It seems it even strengthens people's belief in God, and has even changed lives entirely in a very positive way. In addition, it has provided support and love to those who are in need or to those who just need to feel renewed. Most importantly, it is a place where people can go to learn about God's word and not have to worry about being judged regarding their differences or even the clothes they have on their back. Thanks to pastor Remy, his family, and staff, people can actually feel whole again or maybe even for the first time in their lives, or simply feel encouraged to make their lives even more meaningful by connecting with others who need a helping hand and an open heart. 103. Chris Dudley Cedarbrook came at a time in my life when things were at rock bottom for me. I was struggling and am still struggling, but it helped me get through and process things and help me understand that people out there do care, even those who are not family, or friends, but those in the church and pastor Remy and the other ministers there at Cedarbrook! I felt valued, and I hadn't felt that way for a long, long time! As I stated, I am still going through a tough time, and when I get those "flashbacks" of things that have happened to me the past four years of my marriage I think of pastor Remy and the people at the church there that helped my thinking and process it all. It's been a long battle and I feel that without God I cannot get through things. I pray a lot, sometimes during the day I pray to God and ask him to help me through this suffering. My spouse is an alcoholic, he also has done other things and this was so hard for me to do, but "let go, let God" basically. I trusted in my husband, and I was let down so badly, heartache beyond belief and every time I started to "dwell" on it I would think of the church there and try very, very hard to put God in my mind rather than think about what someone had "done" to me. I knew that if I didn't continue to let go that I would fall backwards and this has happened to me a few times, but then I pulled myself up and told myself that I had value, that I was a good person and that I needed to leave it to God to tend to. I knew that I had to take care of myself and this also has been a battle, such as not eating right for example, but again, I would say to myself that I needed to be strong and that God can give me this strength that I needed. Cedarbook and pastor Remy are a "God Send" to me in a time of my life that I might have given up.......THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT! 104. Kathy Jensen Ever since I started coming to Cedarbrook I’ve felt closer to Jesus. I had cancer five years ago and now it’s gone. The Lord has been close to me the whole time. I just love Cedarbrook and how it encourages me.
105. Teresa Ayres My path crossed with a man who carried a Bible and spoke the Word of God. He answered questions, explained God’s forgiveness, unconditional love and God’ will for his flock. This man’s concern for the shamed and wounded and damaged spirit was amazing to me. The Saturday Night Alternative (a meeting Remy started at the Alliance Church , preCedarbrook) was a warm welcoming worship service I attended. There I had the opportunity to meet people from our community who were praising God with new age worship music and who were from different walks of life. “Trading My Sorrows” was the first song I sang at this service. Tears rolled own my face as I lifted my hands to God. Realizing God had brought me out of my save corner to gather and feel the camaraderie with these people, I was hooked! As SNA faded out, a vision for a new church was shared. I started to attend meetings, gatherings and events. Smiling faces welcomed me, stories were shared and friends developed. The man with the Bible has a vision…these people called it Cedarbrook. Christ is the center. WE are loved. He Died for our sins And Rose from the dead We Bring him glory We pRay for his will not ours Le gO and let God. Open your heart Keep the faith. God has given me a second chance in life. I truly believe my purpose is to carry the message to others who feel wounded and shamed and damaged…that our spirits and souls will be lifted in God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. The man with the Bible once told me, all I had to do is ask for God’s help. I am learning these lessons at Cedarbrook…it’s my choice one day at a time. God bless. 106. Sean & Kristy Smith The first time we came to Cedarbrook I knew we found our church home, we visited a handful of other churches prior to coming to Cedarbrook, but I did not have the feeling of this is the one. First it was the music for me, I believe God speaks to me through music a lot and actually I think I cried during our first visit because the music moved me so much. Then it was the sermons I felt Pastor Remy was speaking directly to me and I actually understood and was interested in what he was talking about and I did not even daydream so that is good for me. Next it was the children's ministry my two older children really enjoyed the first time in there and wanted to go back and bring their friends. Now if we miss a Sunday they are sad, and my younger toddler asks to go to church during the week, so he really enjoys it as well.
Finally, I recently dislocated my kneecap late April and my husband just left out of state for work for two weeks. I received a call right after it happened from Christine Ruth who is in Cedarbrook Moms group and she wanted to send out an email to the rest of Moms group and to some neighbors of mine that she knew and ask them to make a dish for us or to call and ask if we needed grocery's until my husband got back in town. Now that is what I call an awesome church family, to not even hardly know someone or even know them at all and there offering to bring dinner to you and your family. I did call Christine after the second meal was brought though and told her that we would be okay for the rest of the week, because I did have my mom here and the two older kids were very helpful, but I know the list that was emailed out to bring us dinners was full for every night of the week and that was really truly a blessing to know that when you’re fairly new to the community and church and no other family close by, that you have your church family, your brothers and sisters in Christ. 107. Marie Booth I started attending Cedarbrook shortly after the church moved into the theater. My husband and I had separated. I was alone for the first time in almost 36 years. I was confused, scared, lost. I sought God for reassurance, wisdom, peace, comfort. Cedarbrook became my rock in a hard place. I came on Sunday mornings looking for encouragement, hope for the future and found all that and more. I cried through many of the songs. One song, “Hope for the Nations” – from the cd You Shine by Brian Doerksen became so important for me that my family used it at my father’s memorial service a few years ago. The band unbelievably played that song at – what I felt – was some of the “worst” times in my life. The Theosophic Prayer Ministry changed my life. Through this ministry I learned how I unknowingly set my marriage up for failure. I believed a lot of Satan’s lies. Through prayer and with Jayne’s help I was able to break free from some old stuff. After more than two years of separation my husband and I are, happily, back together again. Only by the grace of God and many prayers given by many people, from Cedarbrook, have we been given a second chance. Many of the Point of Grace (Sunday prayer) people have become like family. I always feel a renewed peace and understanding enter me as we pray. There have been many times when I could actually feel the tension leave my body, as we prayed. Thank you friends for giving. The small group I belong to is grand. The time, the learning, the sharing and the laughter is something I wish everyone could experience. Thank you small group for being our friends. The people we met through other studies that continue to support us and remain friends are fantastic. Thank you for loving us. Thank you Cedarbrook for having a prayer line that I never hesitate to call. Thank you Cedarbrook. I hope that at some point in time we can give you as much as you have given us. 108. Kyiara Fassel (age 5) My mom and I moved to Menomonie in August, and we knew no one. We found Cedarbrook online and decided to check it out. I am glad we did! I took dance classes
at Jewelry Box Dancer with Kristin Johnson. She has been really good to us and introduced us to Andy Britz and his family. Andy danced with me at my winter dance recital! I am grateful to the wonderful people we have met. My mom and I hope to continue to grow with God and make Cedarbrook our home. 109. Kendra Heifner Cedarbrook was the true start of my relationship with God. I found God’s truth, love and grace through the children’s ministry. Through serving, I learned the valuable lessons of what it means to walk with Jesus and be more like him by giving your heart to those in need with gladness and heart. 110. Sandy I have always had a strong belief in God’s love, grace and forgiveness but I have not always believed in church. The churches I had experience with seemed more concerned with their rituals than with their people. I couldn’t reconcile “my” God with the one that I heard about on Sunday, the church’s God that cared more for the “proper” way to worship Him than the people that needed Him. I married a man with similar disillusions and for 14 years we were unchurched believers. When we were told that a new church was starting in Menomonie and we were the people it wanted to reach, I didn’t clap my hands, jump for joy and say “oh goody” but instead said “yeah, right”. We agreed to at least check it out, more for our daughter than for ourselves. We kept coming, with me waiting for Cedarbrook to show that it was just another church. Well, we’re still coming. We have found a church community that cares for everyone, that reaches out to people no matter what their past was like and accepts them with love. The sermons taught through the giftedness of the presenters, brings God’s words into the world of today without losing the timeless message of Jesus’ teachings. When we decided to become regular attendees of Cedarbrook, we made the commitment that we would be active in the church. We have enjoyed the privilege of serving all over the church and have gained more through serving than we thought possible. The various small groups that we’ve been part of have enabled us to meet many new people, become more service oriented and deepened our faith journeys both individually and as a family. God has nudged me and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone more times than I would like to dwell on but I hope I’m a better person for it. Cedarbrook has been a big part of the person that I am becoming. 111. John Buckner I was baptized and "grew up Catholic" (attending a parochial grade school). While "growing up Catholic" was true, my father, however, was not Catholic. He would occasionally attend Mass, but otherwise did not participate. This bothered me greatly as a young lad (I knew what the "rules" were), and I asked him about it one day. I can't recall his answer, but it apparently mollified me because I never dwelt on it thereafter and I was convinced that he was “okay” with God. My father would be best described as a spiritual maverick or perhaps a spiritual rebel. My father was on his death bed and my brother asked his parish priest to come visit. The priest went in to see him, and when he came out, the priest said "that he'd come to offer comfort to my father, but he felt that my father had given him all the comfort." The thought that my non-Catholic father could give comfort to an official of the church gave me pause for thought. Some time before or after was probably when I sort of went adrift,
religion or church wise. God, really, brought me to Cedarbrook. My wife and I had always talked about connecting with some local church, but never made a great effort. We were also looking out for a place for our daughter to hang out and socialize with children her own age (outside of school). Again, not trying that hard. In 2000, we kept driving by this sign that advertised: "The Barn, Sat @ 6:00 P.M.". I finally asked a neighbor about it. The neighbor had recently helped "The Barn" dismantle and take down old and possibly dangerous farm equipment. He said they were having some religious youth gathering there. I was sure that they were some fundamental/evangelical group, but I figured I was "safe". My daughter and I soon became regulars at the Wellumson “Barn”. Two years later, our family was invited to a church service at the Wellumson Barn. The church was to open up in Menomonie later that year. Again, I figured I was “safe”. We went to the Cedarbrook services at Northlake (an office building where early meetings were held) and each of the official premier services at the Cinemagic Theatre. My “first impression” of Cedarbrook, or any church is, in fact, its people; first I felt blessed by the Wellumson and the Cormican families (during “The Barn” years)…and then I met pastor Remy. Remy fit in very well with what I needed in a pastor; he was no glad hander, smiling and assuring me that I was where I should be. Calling Remy aloof wouldn’t be accurate, because I always felt he was only giving me the space I very likely needed. Clergy were always authority figures for me and always seemed in charge (of everything). I’m not saying Remy doesn’t have authority or isn’t “in charge”. He just never acted like he was “in charge” of me. I think I even tried to get Remy to “paint” a “Dogma” picture for me (maybe hoping that he’d paint me into a corner so that I could wash my hands of or shake dust on the whole operation). Remy, I think, is a “true” pastor or shepherd, letting God do most of the work. Cedarbrook has become very important to my spiritual life. Crossways two year Bible study allowed me to dig deeper into my beliefs and the mission trip to New Orleans following Katrina enabled me to form deeper relationships with other people. I look forward to our on-going journeys together, Cedarbrook’s and mine. 112. Swen and Nancy Erickson Our story started in a very strong Bible based church. The church was very exclusive and law heavy. The one thing that they did very well was community. We grew up feeling somewhat separate from "the world", but VERY connected to one another. When Swen and I were getting married, the church went through a break-up and left us in a bit of a query. We felt a bit lost and also a bit angry with church in general. We avoided joining a church all together for several years. Sometimes we would dabble in attending different churches, but we never found ourselves fully engaged. Finally, we just quit entirely for about four years. We felt justified in our decision and thought that churches did more harm than good. After a few years on our own, I began to feel lonely for other members of God's family. I prayed that Swen would become convicted too. I felt it best to not say much, but just hang tight and see if anything happened. I figured if God wanted us to
be in a church he would provide one for us. Along comes a postcard from Cedarbrook. Swen was motivated...and guess what...I was NOT! I went with lots of excuses on why we shouldn't go. Dragging my feet (and emotions) for several months, when little by little I started to have a change of heart. Now, five years later, we are here and we are connected. Cedarbrook took us by surprise. Swen "STRONGLY encouraged" me to join a Mom's group, and Swen and I joined a week night small group together. These people...they were so ordinary. So REAL! We even joined a small group with "the pastor" and his wife. We wondered what we were getting into. Here again...SO REAL! The pastor showed up in sweatpants and sat on the floor. It felt more like coming to a neighborhood barbeque than a Bible study. There were no pretenses. These people were Christians that came as they were and it spoke straight to our hearts. They came with humble hearts, loving arms and amazingly open spirits. It was exactly what we had been looking to find. Cedarbrook has taught us how to walk in our ordinary everyday lives with God AND with other people. Being a Christian now feels very real and very normal and very doable. We love this group of people, we love what we stand for, and most of all we love how God is working through all of us to cut through the pomp and circumstance and live lives that are nonthreatening to other people…lives that hopefully help others to see that they too can just "come as they are" and "be who they are", and then with support, grow into who God wants them to be. 113. Cecil and Kelley Hayes Our Cedarbrook Story is one of healing. When we first came to Cedarbrook, it was to find rest, a place to be ministered to and heal. One thing we knew was that in order to do this; to survive; we needed to find a small group. We contacted the church office and obtained a list of the active small groups and after reviewing them found there was only one that fit our schedule and so we hoped our needs would be met. Well, as they say, “the rest is history”. Four years later we are STILL in that same small group! Our small group is a wonderful working of God’s love, temperance, compassion, understanding… in a nutshell, relationship. Our group has helped us work through many changes in the last four years, from leaving a church to burying a father, closing the doors on a business after 20+ years to graduating our first-born. They have worked with us, prayed for us and loved us in spite of ourselves. They have taught us to love and trust again, and through this time have helped us to heal. God threw us a lifeline when we needed it, and it was our small group. We are no longer the wounded bystanders, needing space and to be ministered to, we are survivors. We are finally at a place of healing, a place where we are ready for God to show us how to minister once again. 114. Hannah Hermanson Two years ago I left my home and church in the Twin Cities and moved to Hammond, WI. My husband and I struggled to find a new church close to home. He works on Sundays and we didn't find a Saturday night service that we liked. Shortly thereafter, due to a medical condition, I lost my ability to drive and work. There was one local church that didn't thrill me, but it was the best I'd found. On numerous occasions I
asked them to help me; to see if anyone in the congregation would be willing to take me to church. They ignored my initial requests and then eventually gave me their church directory and suggested I call people from my town. I am a very out-going person but calling up perfect strangers and asking them to take me to church was not something I wanted to do. I was angry, depressed, and captive in my own home. Carla Halverson, a Cedarbrook staff member, and my best friend of over 20 years came to my rescue. She started bringing me to her small group. She would drive all the way to Hammond to pick me up, back to Menomonie for small group, and then return to Hammond to drop me off, and back to her place in Menomonie. For over six months, every Monday, she would drive an extra two hours and twenty minutes so that I could have Christian fellowship! I already knew Carla was amazing but I had no idea how much I would love everyone else in group! They accepted me with open arms and became my life raft during a very difficult time. Last summer life returned to normal; driving and working. I started attending Cedarbrook on Sunday mornings. Looking back I realize that I easily could have returned to the church I loved and left behind in Minnesota, it was only 10 minutes farther away than Cedarbrook. However, the thought really didn't even cross my mind. I already had a new church family, and I am so grateful! Thank you! 115. The Sorenson’s Eric and I grew up in Lutheran families and both graduated from Concordia College. However, after that, we gave up on church. It had too many rules; was too legalistic and seemed to contradict itself at every turn. Eric and I started coming to Cedarbrook when it was Saturday Night Alternative. We were intrigued by the idea of somebody trying to do things different. It seemed so genuine and real. We didn't attend again until Bev and Mark Deyo-Svendsen, two people whom we greatly admire and respect, invited us to come to church at the theater. That was a difficult time for me as I was a new mom of 2 and was working hard to figure out my new identity and my new role in life, not to mention how to manage a lot of crazy emotions that come with being a mother. Through the years Cedarbrook has helped us to grow as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. I believe the timing was no accident. This is a place we are meant to be for many reasons that I can't quite express adequately. Below is an attempt to share some of the blessings we have received through Cedarbrook. Children's Ministry is amazing, they have a very good program. The teachers are very kind and they have a lot of enthusiasm (Madeline), Children's Ministry has helped me learn to serve where God is calling me, even when it seems like too big of sacrifice, because it is His plan, not mine, that makes all the difference. (Tracey) Enthusiastic and genuine people Donuts and drinks in church All people accepted Rockin' music! Bible learning Real preaching; practical and thought-provoking Ordinary people with extraordinary results Outpouring of help for others Keeping focus on God
Tell us your story…
God is always doing new things. We’d love to hear your story. Email us your story at email@example.com or mail it to the address listed at the bottom of this page. As we reprint this booklet we’ll add your story to this growing memorial to God’s goodness!
…helping you connect to a growing relationship with Jesus. Our values are R.E.A.L.2 We value…
R- elationships: knowing and being known in a Christ-centered community. E- xcellence: giving God our very best in everything we do. A- cceptance: embracing everyone where they are at without judging them. L- ifechange: offering the hope of change to everyone. L- aughter: not taking ourselves too seriously!
Cedarbrook Church N6714 470th Street Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751 715-231-5433 www.cedarbrookchurch.net New stories…
Hi Remy, It is not my fault, you have to blame Jenny and that Mike from Living Water. Seriously, thank you very much and I am not talking about the money, even though I do greatly appreciate that. I thank you for helping me find a purpose and meaning to my journey with God. I don't know if I have told you my whole story but here goes. I spent the 1st part of my life as a catholic in a family of 17 with very devote parents. Up until I was 25 my days were clouded with drugs and alcohol and I didn't have much of a relationship with God. One drunk night I decided life as I knew it wasn't worth living anymore and decided to take a knife and end it. Luckily by the grace of Godhe sent my brother to check on me who stopped me and got me to treatment. That night I needed God to get me out of it and get me sober. During the past 16 years of sobriety I have been searching for meaning for why God saved me and made my journey out of dependancy relatively easy. When Traci and I were married 12 years ago neither of us spent much time at church but we felt the kids needed a foudation in faith and started at Christ Lutheran. We were involved in church but we never really engaged and the church's direction did not go the same way as ours. Finally our faith journey put Brenda Brewer in our path. We saw a young church that values children and we were hooked. It has been a great 2 years at Cedarbrook but I still feel empty and not getting any closer to the why God spared me from my drunken depression until yesterday. Seeing the yellow Living Water shirts that God put in my way just seemed to make everything click. I wasn't actively seeking a way to volunteer but there it was. I have been running for 3 years and have done numerous races and ask myself everytime why am I doing this. I love to run and I love to race but I always find myself missing something and that something may be why God kept me around to help a bunch of his children that are thirsty. So this is why I thank you and Lisa. Lisa is feeding Traci and helping her develop the relationship she has always wanted which makes my journey easier. You have opened my eyes and challenged me on Sundays to go deeper and find a way to use my gifts. I really think that thru Traci, Lisa, Mike, Jenny and you God has showed me a way to make a difference and put one more piece of the puzzle that is me in place.
Thanks and please keep us in your prayers on this journey.
Terry and Traci Sullivan
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