Spirit of Faith Church welcomes new pastor

By Wanda Swenson

The congregation at Spirit of Faith Church in Woonsocket joyfully welcomed a new shepherd for their flock at their Sunday, Feb. 16, service. Dr. John Anderson, of Mitchell, has been assigned to lead the church by United Methodist District Superintendent Roger Spahr effective Jan. 1, with his upcoming appointment by the Bishop effective July 1. Following the welcome service, a potluck meal was served to all congregation and community members in attendance. 

Spirit of Faith has been without a pastor since June of 2019, and had been using fill-in pulpit supply pastors, which included Dr. John Anderson. After several Sunday services with the congregation, members stated they would like to have him as a permanent pastor. Coincidentally, Anderson had been thinking the same thing, and his shared desire to lead Spirit of Faith became a reality. 

Redevelopment team member Jennifer Feistner has been in contact with Anderson from the beginning of this process. “Dr. John is going to be a great addition to our Spirit of Faith family. He is a unique blend of strong personal relationships along with a great historical understanding of the Bible. The background he shares during his sermons really help the stories make sense in our lives today,” shared Feistner. 

Dr. Anderson is a Mitchell native and graduated from Augustana University. He received his Master’s in Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School in North Carolina and his Doctorate in Old Testament Studies from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Upon his return to Mitchell, he taught at Augustana and Dakota Wesleyan University, and presently is an Adjunct Professor of Religion at DWU and an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Presentation College in Aberdeen. Anderson has also written a book, entitled “Jacob and the Divine Trickster,” which examines the character of Jacob from the Biblical book of Genesis. 

Dr. Anderson’s wife, Taryn, is also a Mitchell native and is Trust Administrator and Associate Lead in the Trust Department at First Dakota Bank in Mitchell. They have three children, Evan—12, and Emmett and Selah—6-year-old twins. 

“The one word that keeps coming to mind anytime I think of all of this is ‘grateful’—for the experience, the people, the opportunity, the trust, the encouragement, the patience, the support.  This confirms to me there was much more at work in this process than we can see on our own. This couldn’t have come together without the work of the Spirit,” stated Anderson. 

The congregation of Spirit of Faith is looking forward to the future and working with Dr. John in their mission within the community. They invite everyone to join them in welcoming Dr. John to their congregation and community, and to consider coming to worship at 9 a.m. each Sunday to see what they are all about.

…See a photo in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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