The Rev. Andrew (Andy) D. Smothers
Interim Associate Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism
Andy was raised in a small town (Monticello) in eastern Iowa, about a four hour drive from Chicago. His family was active in First Presbyterian Church as his parents served on session and within other ministries of the church. Andy was active in the Sunday School program, three year confirmation program, and other programs within this congregation. He also served as a Youth Advisory Delegate (YAD) to the meeting of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies in 1991.
Andy first sought a career in engineering after completing a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Iowa in 1996. He spent a total of about twelve years working for Rockwell Collins, a former division of Rockwell International, developing hardware and software for handheld electronic devices and, later, managing cost and technical aspects of engineering developments.
Also pursuing an interest in science, Andy completed a degree in chemistry and biochemistry at Coe College in 2000. Upon completion of this degree, Andy spent over three years studying human genetics including gene expression related to chondrosarcoma, a cancer of the cartilage. With an eventual interest in both theology and science, Andy has a particular interest in the intersection of faith and science. He also had the opportunity to volunteer for 10 years in the pediatric inpatient units of an academic research hospital working directly with children, which confirmed a concern for and interest in working with children and youth.
The Christian faith has been important to Andy throughout his lifetime; however, it was during his studies at Coe College that he began to wrestle more intently with issues of faith. Reading the Bible in its entirety during this time was a confirming experience for him. A personal crisis a few years later would give him reason and opportunity to become more active in Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City, where he would eventually serve as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, Stephen Minister, and Stephen Leader among other roles. It was also through this congregation that Andy had the opportunity to participate in six mission trips to the gulf coast after hurricane Katrina and on trips supporting medical teams in Haiti and Ecuador. Andy was also active in the InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship during this time and helped lead an Alpha course at a Roman Catholic student center.
After being prompted by several people to consider full-time ministry and sensing a call himself, Andy enrolled at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (UDTS) in Dubuque, Iowa, where he completed his Master of Divinity degree in 2014. While at UDTS, Andy helped lead bible studies within the undergraduate community and performed research on divisions in the Presbyterian church in the 1700s and 1800s. Due to a strong interest in both congregational ministry and overseas mission service, Andy is excited to practice each of these senses of call at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church through the Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship.