Posted April 18, 2023

The Reverend Andrew Smothers began serving Glade Run Church near Valencia as their pastor on January 9. Andrew, or Andy as he is also called, was born in Austin, Minnesota and grew up in the small town of Monticello in Eastern Iowa. While baptized in a Lutheran Church, he grew up almost entirely in a PC(USA) congregation attending Sunday School and summer camp and being confirmed. 

The summer after high school, Andy was a Youth Advisory Delegate to the Synod of Lakes and Prairies meeting. Then he began studying at the University of Iowa for a degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, he worked for Rockwell International (later Rockwell Collins and now part of Raytheon) for around 12 years. 

He later completed degrees in chemistry and biochemistry at Coe College in Iowa. Then he studied human genetics at the University of Iowa and participated in research on chondrosarcoma (cancer of the cartilage). While doing graduate work at Iowa, he became involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and attended Urbana conferences and sessions.

While attending a larger church, Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City as a young adult, his faith became more alive. Small group ministry met his needs and taught him how to care for others. In time, Andy joined that church on six trips to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and trips to Haiti and Ecuador. He served as a deacon and with Stephen’s Ministry. Andy, and others around him, began to wonder if he was being called into full-time ministry. 

Initially, he felt called into overseas mission, but took a Men’s Bible study group member’s suggestion to consider seminary rather than a short mission training program. He entered the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. While attending there a sense of call to parish ministry began to develop, which left him confused. 

Then a seminary professor invited Andy to consider the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Global Ministry Fellowship Program in New York City, which would give him experience in both overseas work and parish ministry. He was accepted and served, studied, and prepared there for three months before teaching at Theological Education By Extension in Zambia, a ministry of nine different denominations. After completing a year in Zambia, he traveled for 2.5 months observing ministries in ten countries in the Global South.  

Upon his return to NYC, he served as an Interim Associate Pastor at the Madison Avenue Church for about two years. In this role, he oversaw their African partnerships, Global Ministry Fellowship, evangelism, and local outreach programs.

He then was called to serve a congregation of mostly Asian and African expatriates in the majority Muslim nation of Bahrain for nearly one and a half years. Next he came back state side to serve First Presbyterian Church in Conrad, Montana, as a transitional pastor just as the pandemic was shutting things down. He served there for two years before accepting the call to Glade Run Church.

Andy appreciates the warm welcome he has received at Glade Run Church and has enjoyed learning about their outreach ministry including the sports, Meals-on-Wheels, and Boaz House programs. He is looking forward to participating in their domestic and overseas mission trips.

During seminary, Andy felt that his call story was unusually short against some who had sensed a call into ministry for most of their memory. Then after going through materials that had been in storage, he came across a long-forgotten journal he had written decades before. The pages revealed that he had already been contemplating whether he was called to be a minister.

We welcome Andy to Beaver-Butler Presbytery as we celebrate his journey of faith and service.