The August 20 morning service of the Westfield Friends Meeting was highlighted by a celebration of Pastor Linda Anderson’s recording as a Friends minister.
Danne Smith, who had served as chaired the Westfield Friends Elders during the seven-month pastoral search that led to the appointment of Anderson, opened the portion of service recognizing Anderson’s accomplishment.
Smith reviewed those initial qualifications used during the search for a pastor and noted that the meeting had at first struggled to find a suitable applicant. That changed, however, with a phone call from Hugh Spaulding, who at the time was serving as as co-interim superintendent of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends.
“I came home to a phone message from him saying, ‘I think I found you a pastor,’” Smith recalled. “We met with her and everything went well. She brought a message to the congregation so they could meet and hear her and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Anderson has gone on to complete an intensive study course, including reading, writing and self-reflection, in order to be recorded as a Friends minister.
“One of my favorite stories about Linda is that even before she officially started as pastor,” Smith remembered, “she asked us about whom she should be visiting. She and two of the elders were making visits almost immediately.”
“(To be) A pastor was in my heart long before I did anything about it,” Anderson said shortly after becoming pastor. “But I was raised in a church where women didn’t speak. I eventually found out that wasn’t the way it had to be.”
In the early 1980s, Anderson moved to Winston-Salem and began a 17-year career at NC Baptist Hospital, working as a sleep studies technician. She went on to work from home for a period as a medical transcriptionist.
“I always had a feeling I could do more,” she noted of her desire to enter the ministry. “I was drawn to it. I sort of knew what I wanted to do but, with kids and a family, I had put it on a back burner.”
She eventually entered Masters Divinity School in Evansville, Indiana, where she received her master’s degree. She also took part in a unit of chaplaincy at Wake Forest Baptist Health.
She and her husband, Harry Anderson, also raised a family of two boys and one girl. Those children have now grown into adults, with a son living in Utah and other family members residing in the area. The Andersons have six grandchildren. She is quick to note a belief that she and her husband are equally called to ministry.
“He has encouraged and supported me all along the way, and we serve God together in all aspects of life,” she explained in comments provided during her August 5 recording ceremony at the North Carolina Meeting of Friends at Quaker Lake Camp in Climax.
In a service bulletin filled with kind words, members and guests were invited to offer their own well wishes. Longtime members Rayford and Marie Jessup were among those to provide a note of congratulations.
“Linda and Harry Anderson are very special friends to all of us at church,” the couple offered. “We are very fortunate to have two God-fearing people to lead us. Praise the Lord for sending them our way and our prayer for them is that they will continue to lead us for a long time.”
As she concluded her remarks, Smith introduced Don Farlow, interim superintendent of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends.
After reviewing Anderson’s background and the significance of the occasion for Anderson and the meeting, Farlow described the importance of the recording process.
“Historically, the recording process recognizes a person who has spoken in public ministry, and not just spoken, but spoken to the edification and spiritual help of the meeting,” he said. “It is the duty of your ministry and council to carefully consider whether there is evidence of such a gift of ministry that should be officially recognized.
“Westfield Friends Meeting, in putting forward Linda Goad Anderson’s name for recording, acknowledges that you find Linda’s spoken ministry to be edifying and spiritually helpful. The recording process, not the awarding of the certificate, is intended to enhance and improve the opportunity for service and not to simply bestow an honor.”
Farlow concluded his remarks with the presentation of the certificate and by sharing a note from White Plains Friends Meeting Pastor Jake Penley, who had served as Anderson’s mentor during the recording process.
“It has been a true joy to have been you mentor during your recording process,” Penley wrote. “Your life is a bright light to all who know you. The recording committee was greatly impressed with you. Your love for Christ is very evident. You are such an asset to our yearly meeting and I know that your meeting is very blessed to have you as their pastor. You and Harry make a great ministry team. I am convinced that your ministry will prosper for a long time…”
The celebration portion of service was concluded by the introduction of Steve Wood. As Anderson had begun to look into becoming a pastor, including the research of doctrines, she said she had found herself drawn to the Friends Church. Wood, she recalls, had made an impact in that chosen direction.
“I heard him speak, not knowing he was a Quaker, and I was very impressed with his attitude, knowledge and what he represented,” she recalled. “He was humble with a servant’s heart. I later learned that he was a Quaker pastor and that inspired me to learn more.”
“It was a beautiful day,” Anderson said of the service. “Our congregation went out of their way to make it special. From the very beginning I’ve felt like a member of a big, loving family here and they’ve been such a blessing to my husband and to me. On this day, I’ve been surprised, impressed and humbled.”
The day was one of several special services to be hosted by the meeting. Westfield Friends will hold its fall revival on Thursdays in September with a guest speaker and special music for each service. Scheduled speakers include Ray Lambe on Sept. 7, Posey Simmons on Sept. 14, Rickey Rogers on Sept. 21 and Pastor Linda Anderson on Sept. 28.