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St. Andrew welcomes new pastor

The Rev. Christopher Raiford accepted the symbolic towel of the “doulos” in his installation ceremony Nov. 17 at St. Andrew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Muncy.

The installation sermon, “Taking up the towel,” was based on Mark 10:42-45 in which Jesus washes the feet of his disciples.

Officiating the installation was Rev. Perry J. Fruhling, coordinator of Pastoral Ministry for Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). He observed that the strength of a pastor is based on serving the needs of the people, just as Jesus assumed the role of the doulos, or servant, in caring for his apostles.

Unlike the rulers of the day, Rev. Fruhling counseled, the true power of Christianity comes from being on bended knees. Raiford comes to St. Andrew Lutheran, Muncy, from Houston, Texas, where he managed senior living facilities. In June, he looked into the LCMC website, saw the posting for St. Andrew Lutheran in Muncy, and knew that was his intended church.

Before Rev. Raiford and his wife Wendi set out for his final interview and the congregational vote at St. Andrew’s, they felt there was no question in their minds: This is where God intended them to be.

Raiford served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota during his 23 years with the American Association of Lutheran Churches and the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod. He earned his B.A. Liberal Arts at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN, his M. A. Divinity from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and his B.A. Sociology and M.A. Ed. from Ashford University, Clinton, IA. In addition to his pastoral duties, he has served as an instructor at the schools affiliated with his churches in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

During her husband’s time serving the church, Wendi Raiford has managed her own catering business, arranging and serving the needs of weddings, business celebrations and special events. The Raifords have been married for 32 years, have had six children and have 12 grandchildren.

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