Pastor Rod Anderson


Association of Congregations Ambassador Coordinator

     Pastor Rod Anderson has enjoyed living out his calling as an ordained minister for 40 years, and before that, as youth minister and church camping leader for 7 years.  Currently he serves as Gustavus Association of Congregations Ambassador Program Coordinator.

      Along with Chaplain Grady St. Dennis and Sara Masters in the Church Relations Office, his part-time responsibilities are focused on strengthening and growing the network of volunteer lay Ambassadors in the College's Association of Congregations. Previously, Pastor Rod seved 10 year as a Gustavus Trustee followed by 2 years as Interim Senior Chaplain, leading the Chaplains’ Staff and the College Ministries Team.

     Born in Red Wing, MN, his faith was shaped by family farm life and work together and by a rural community of faith in Spring Garden Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church near Cannon Falls in Southeastern MN.   He graduated from Cannon Falls High School with honors and from the University of Minnesota, Mpls. Campus, in 1969 majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Humanities, while also accumulating many Music credits from singing in one or more performance choirs or ensembles every quarter all 4 years.  His Master of Divinity degree was granted by Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul (now Luther Seminary), having interned at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Phoenix, Az. During College and Seminary, Pastor Rod served as Youth Minister in congregations in South Mpls. and Columbia Heights and as a Camp Director with the Lutheran Camp Board.

     After serving his first call from ’74 to ‘77 in the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) as Associate Pastor at Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church in NE Mpls, he began a long 34 year ministry at a new mission congregation in Eden Prairie, MN.  St. Andrew grew to be a leading congregation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The congregation became known as “One Church/Many Locations-St. Andrew in Eden Prairie, St. Andrew West in Chaska, and SPIRIT in the PINES Church Camp on the shores of Pleasant Lake near Hackensack, MN.  Pastor Rod’s passion for new mission endeavors of the Church led St. Andrew to provide seminal gifts that founded SPIRIT of GRACE Lutheran Church in Surprise, AZ., Mercy Seat in NE Mpls, and the Center for Changing Lives in South Mpls.

     Love for the Church beyond the local congregation has drawn Pastor Rod to Synod and Churchwide committee and leadership work on the Lutheran Camp Board, MN Lutheran Camping Council, Logos Village Consortium, Luther Seminary Board of Directors and the Gustavus Adolphus Board of Trustees, as well as community Boards for Eden Prairie’s Food Shelf, Foundation and Ministerial Association.  He is a newly elected member of the Board for the American Swedish Institute.  Recognitions include Rotary International Distinguished Service Award, Luther Seminary’s “Faithfulness in Ministry” Cross Award and WCCO Radio “Good Neighbor” awards in 2005 and 2010.

     Pastor Rod is especially passionate about serving the unemployed, having facilitated the weekly St. Andrew Job Transition Networking Group for nearly 25 years with over 25,000 persons participating in that time period.  In the Summer of 2012 he was invited by the White House to participate in the White House Forum for Faith-based Social Innovators and also by the Dept. of Labor to visit with US Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, about “networking” with job-seekers…something he hopes to do increasingly with graduating Gustavians and alums in the future!

The life mission statement is in response to an inner calling to experience and extend the invitation of the Gospel for all to “Come unto the Christ” and “Go into the World.”

     Pastor Rod and his wife Julane live in Eden Prairie with all their family living nearby in the Twin Cities---children Nathan ‘95, (Lori ’95), Ben ‘98, (Tara) and Chelsea and grandchildren Jordyn, Justin and Tyrin.  His interests include golfing, splitting firewood, boating, portraying Eric Norelius-FIRST PERSON, hosting educational travel tours to religious sites around the world, spending time at the cabin with his family and driving his 1948 John Deere MT tractor!

And, he really wants to get to know you in our greater Gustavus congregation/college relationship!