Pastor Bios

John Sowers

In so many ways I am blessed.  I think about that in so many venues of my life.  I love living in Spokane.  I grew up in San Diego, a place that many see as an earthly paradise, but the beauty of the Inland Northwest, and the four seasons here, resonates deeply within my soul and gives evidence to me of a good God who made a good creation. 

I love what I do because it comes out of who I am and reflects who God created me to be.  In my service as Lead Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Spokane, my prayer is that God allows me to use the gifts with which he has blessed me to bless the people here.  In turn I hope that the wonderful people of my church will be a blessing into their neighborhoods, workplaces, and families.  I pastor a church comprised of people who long to hear the gospel and then seek to live it out – what a wonderful place for a pastor to be!

I’m blessed by my family.  I’m married to Jennifer; she is God’s great earthly gift to me.  We’ve been married for 27 years.  Jen is wise and gracious and funny and beautiful.  She has a great heart with strong gifts of mercy, perfect for her role as a kindergarten teacher.  She is patient, a gift that the Lord allows her to exercise frequently in her marriage.  She’s the best mother I know, loving our girls unconditionally and providing wise and steady strength into their lives. 

My girls are another incredible blessing in my life.  Kate, a recent Whitworth University graduate, is my strong-willed, hyper-organized daughter.  She graduated with a degree in peace studies and joins many others in her generation in believing that the world needs to be changed and hoping that she may be used by God to do that.  I don’t doubt that God will use her and her peers to make this a significantly better world. 

My other daughter Emilie is currently studying at Seattle University.  She is a double major in creative writing and film studies.  She’s a brilliant writer (ok, I’m not objective but I swear she is!).  And she is funny… mostly sneaky funny but truly one of the funniest people I know.  I love her heart; it’s like her mom’s and sister’s hearts in that it seeks justice and has great compassion.  Emilie reaches out to the least of these with great mercy.

I love to cook.  Having lived in the south for 15 years I really love to smoke meats.  By southern standards I am so-so; by Spokane standards I’m the best!  I also read broadly and am an avid golfer.

Jeremy Sanderson

As associate pastor for Adult Formation at First Pres, my calling is to help equip the members of this body to understand and embrace their faith, to walk closely with Christ, and to live, speak and act as citizens of his kingdom in every sphere of life.  What a high calling!  What a great privilege.

God has blessed me with an amazing family.  My wife, Sarah, is the most important person in my life and God's greatest gift to me. Her faith, intelligence, humility and dedication are a daily inspiration.  Together we are raising (with God's help!) four precious kiddos: Abigail, Josiah, Levi and Isaac (once you start in on the Old Testament, its hard to stop).  Our kids bring much joy and help to keep us humble!

 A few of my heroes: my parents; thinkers like Lesslie Newbigin, Blaise Pascal, N.T. Wright, Martin Luther, Richard Hays, Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier; preachers Tim Keller, Mark Labberton and Richard Mouw, songwriter Rich Mullins, and, more personally, the friends and teachers who have helped form Christ in me along the way; most singificantly: Rev. Dan Baumgartner, Dr. Darrell Guder, and my colleagues in ministry through the years, Rev. Keith Roberts, Rev. Bill Getman, Rev. Janeen Steer, and Rev. John Sowers.

Personal interests include listening to and creating music of all kinds, hiking, canoeing and exploring the great outdoors, learning to fly fish, and reading good novels, lately by western authors such as Ivan Doig, Wallace Stegner, Sherman Alexie, Shann Ray and Jess Walter.

Betsy Wynne

AD-pastors-wynnefamily.jpgMy calling at FPC is to care for people in a way that brings them the hope and healing of Jesus Christ, and to lead others to do the same. I’m always looking for how our mission as ambassadors of Christ intersects with daily life, especially in times of suffering and pain. Walking alongside friends who have struggled in their marriages, working as a chaplain in an ICU, knowing the pain of my parents’ divorce—these things and many more have contributed to my desire to multiply ministry among lay leaders, praying and working for the coming of the Kingdom.

A bit about my family—my husband Jeremy is my partner in all things, from raising our children, Hannah (5) and Asher (4), to making our home on the north side of Spokane, and especially in theological conversation. He teaches theology and Bible at Whitworth University and it’s a joy to share in mission together. Our kids surprise and delight us often with their interest in how things work and their unexpected jokes. Parenting has definitely been one of the tools God has used to keep us humble and growing!

I’ve learned how to knit in the last few years, and nothing gives me pleasure like cooking something new for family and friends, or seeing rows of freshly canned fruit on the pantry shelf! Books on my shelf right now: Wendell Berry’s short stories in Fidelity, Marilynne Robinson’s novel Home, Henri Nouwen’s spiritual theology and Robert Jensen’s commentary on Ezekiel.

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