The Rev. Amy Heimerl has accepted a call and started service as Vicar of Ascension Episcopal Church, Merrill, Wisconsin on a part-time basis. Heimerl earned a B.A. in Education from St. Norbert College and M.A. in Education from Viterbo University. For over two decades as an educator she focused on working with students with emotional and behavioral struggles and who learn differently. On completing the diocesan Circles of Light discernment process she started "reading for orders," the historic practice of a guided program of studies individualized to the needs and goals of a candidate for ordination. She was ordained deacon then to the priesthood by Bishop Matt Gunter in 2021.
As a lay person, Heimerl served the church at the local, diocesan and national levels. She has been senior warden, treasurer, worship leader, camp counselor, and deputy to the Episcopal Church General Convention. She was one of the founders of a weekly youth ministry program at Ascension. Following many years of supply priests serving the congregation, Heimerl becomes the first resident Vicar in Merrill in many decades. She also works as Chaplain at a juvenile correctional facility in northern Wisconsin. She is married to Eric.
Ascension Episcopal Church is a mission church of the Diocese of Fond du Lac in Merrill, Wisconsin. First services were held in 1877, with a mission organized in 1882. It is a worship community of 54 baptized members with an average Sunday attendance of 20. Located in the heart of Merrill, it has a deep-rooted history in giving thanks for serving the poor and needy in the community.
God will make a way, when there seems to be no way. I began this journey toward Ordination when I was just a teenager. God told me that someday I would be a Priest. I politely told Him that there was just no way—at least not yet. That was my answer for a long time, until just a few years ago.
When we began the Circles of Light in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, God told me to join a Circle. I told Him the only way I could possibly do that considering my family dynamics and obligations, my church commitments, my job commitments, my garden, my life, my everything...was if we met in Merrill. Well, God brought it to Merrill. Long story short, we didn’t continue to meet in Merrill because our Circle included five women as far north as Merrill and as far south as Sheboygan. But I was already hooked. God orchestrated the first step and I followed.
After completing the second Circle of Light and meeting with the Commission on Ministry, others heard God’s call for me too. Again, having the same life circumstances as before, going away to Seminary is just not an option for me. I often wish I could have that experience, but I know it’s simply not my path.
I began a guided study toward Ordination, which I’ve been told is an ancient way of preparing for ministry. So far I have completed courses in Old Testament and New Testament and am mid-way through Church History. I have worked with our Bishop and with Father McAlpine as well as read a number of texts and other books, watched countless videos and sought out information relevant to my studies. I recently took a Chaplaincy Training through the IFOC and although I’m choosing not to seek licensing through them, the information was invaluable and the relationships I formed are an absolute gift.
Ascension in Merrill is the main focus of my ministry. I lead our Youth Ministry program, I serve as Senior Warden, I’m a Worship Leader and preach every few weeks. I’m excited to see what God is up to at our little church and I feel humbled and blessed that I get to be a part of it.
Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I juggle a full house, a full time job, and an active ministry as I attempt to learn all I need to learn in order to become the Priest God called me to be. I rest in the knowledge that God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.
Blessed Beyond Measure,