New FPC pastor back homePublished 12:00am Friday, January 17, 2014
Pastor Bob Madsen will complete his fifth month at Andalusia’s First Presbyterian Church at the end of January, and although he is still relatively new to town, he says he is right at home in south Alabama.
“We’re really enjoying getting to know Andalusia,” Madsen said. “It takes a while to get to know a community, but this congregation and the community have been extremely gracious in receiving us into the community.”
Madsen and his wife Linda come to Andalusia after almost eight years serving a church in Indiana, but Madsen said he has called the southeast his home for much of his life.
“Prior to (being in Indiana), we had been in Gulf Shores,” Madsen said. “ An executive (with the Presbyterian Church) knew that I was looking and knew that Andalusia was looking, and he suggested that we talk to one another. In June, we came and visited and interviewed with the committee, and they invited us to join.”
Prior to his time in Gulf Shores, Madsen said he lived and worked in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
“I started my undergraduate degree at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in North Carolina, and after one year, transferred to Georgia State in Atlanta,” Madsen said. “I graduated with a degree in journalism and went to work for The Fayette County Sun, and then The Fayette News, south of Atlanta.”
Madsen said he entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. in the summer of 1986, where he graduated in 1990 with a Masters of Divinity. Madsen, a Minnesota native, said he was raised in the Presbyterian church, and felt the move into the ministry was a natural progression.
“Church life had always been part of my story,” he said. “In 1967, we moved to Birmingham. We got involved in a smallish church, and in 1972, we moved to Atlanta and were members of pretty good size church there. I had begun thinking about the ministry as a teenager, and then, as a young adult, I revisited the question of seminary and enrolled.”
Madsen said the ministry has moved his family across the U.S. for the past 27 years, from New Jersey to Tennessee to Indiana, and now, back to Alabama.
“Joining the ministry was one of those things that, while I was pursuing other careers, it always hung in the background,” he said. “Until one day, it just became rather clear that the ministry was the path I would be taking.”
Madsen said he is glad that path has led him to Andalusia.
“We’re having a great time,” he said, adding his hope at his new church is to continue the success FPC has had in reaching out to the community.
“The end of February, we’ve scheduled a session retreat, and we’ll be looking at the church and how we’re organized and set up to do the things we want to do,” he said.
Madsen said program’s like FPC’s “Love Thy Neighbor” feeding ministry is evidence of the kind of love and compassion that exists within the congregation.
“It was established while the congregation was without an installed pastor,” he said. “It’s been embraced by the congregation as a valuable ministry for the community. It’s blossomed, and it’s got plenty of room to grow. I’m excited about the fact that they had the vision and the drive to do it, because of lot of congregations, when they are searching for leadership, put everything on hold. The willingness to do that just impresses me greatly.”
Madsen said he would like to invite the public to come and be a part of that congregation.
Andalusia’s First Presbyterian Church holds services each Sunday, with Sunday school beginning at 9:45 a.m., and worship services beginning at 11 a.m. For more information, church officials may be reached by phone at 334.222.5352.