Couple move from Sweden to pastor Church of the Nazarene


Philip and Juliene Munts stand in front the view of Lake Roosevelt she remembers from her youth at the Church of the Nazarene's local parsonage. The new church built back then is at right. - Scott Hunter photo

A couple who just moved to town from nearly 5,000 miles away will serve as lay pastors of the Church of the Nazarene, and for her it's a homecoming.

Philip and Juliene Munts officially took their new post Sunday, having just moved from Malmö, Sweden. The two operated three "ministries" there, the said - two art galleries and a café called Fill My Cup. Always affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, the couple recently got a call to lead the local congregation.

Juliene was thrilled; it meant returning to her early home. She lived there through high school, having attended school in the Grand Coulee Dam School District from kindergarten.

Her father, Ron Hunter, had pastored the congregation from 1969 to 1983 when it moved from Grand Coulee to its current location in the new church just south of town on SR-174. He's also been holding an interim position there for nearly three years.

"It was not Dad's idea," she said of the assignment the couple got from the church's regional superintendent in Spokane.

Philip, who grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho, is tall, quiet and thoughtful, a software engineer who works on embedded systems.

"We're both in training," he said, emphasizing the "lay" in lay pastors.

"I'm a creative," Juliene said, a writer.

The couple have three children, but two are grown and on their own. A 15-year-old son, Hunter, was just enrolled in Lake Roosevelt High School. He was happy to be moving back to the states; the Swedes don't issue licenses until drivers are at least 18, Juliene said.

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Church members have already shared ideas for new directions, they said. And the two are mulling the possibility of at some point offering some classes - his in technology and hers in creative pursuits.

"We also welcome those who want to learn more about following Jesus in the adventure of community," they stated in a note to The Star.


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