Rev. Mark Pedersen
I was born on June 21, 1963 in Washington D.C. to Marguerite Lindner Pedersen of Long Island, New York and Edgar Vernon Pedersen of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In other words, I was not born in a state but was still born in the United States. My mother named me Mark Matthew Pedersen. When I asked her why she decided on Biblical names she said, “Because I just liked the way it sounded”. I joked with her about my name not being in the right order; it should be Matthew Mark, just like it is in the Bible. Being a devout Lutheran who knew her Bible very well, mom would remind me that she believed Mark was actually written before Matthew. My mother, Marguerite, was a bookkeeper and secretary for my father, Edgar (Ed), who owned and operated various international and United States based companies. My father, Ed, was born in Sioux Falls in 1918. During dad’s teenage years he spent time traveling around the country raising money for a project that his cousin Gutzon Borglum was working on called Mount Rushmore. Mom died of cancer in 2000 and dad died of Leukemia in 2007. I have one older brother, Chris, who is 49 years old and a younger sister, Marguerite, who is 42 years old. Yes, I am a middle child so God started preparing me for ministry very early in my life! Chris owns and operates a liquor and fine wine store in downtown Boston Massachusetts. I share the story of my brother’s job with my congregation when I talk about the sin of over indulgence of alcohol! Of course I only do this message when he is in the audience or when I email him a recording of the message. My Sister Marguerite is in charge of the technology department for a school district in San Antonio, Texas. She won teacher of the year in 2007 for the state of Texas! My family moved to Houston in 1966 because, as Dad put it, he wanted to live in warmer climate and didn’t want to shovel snow anymore! Our family attended Christ Memorial Lutheran Church on Memorial Drive on the West side of Houston. Mom made sure all of her kids attended Sunday school and church almost every Sunday. All three of us were confirmed in the Lutheran church. I graduated from Westchester Senior High in 1981 (Go Wildcats!). I went off to college in 1981 to Stephen F. Austin State University in beautiful Nacogdoches Texas. My finances were extremely limited and my academic enthusiasm developed slowly as I sought the Lord's direction for my life. I started exploring other faith traditions during my first few years of college. I attended Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Non-denominational, and United Methodist just to understand the differences in beliefs and worship styles. I found the United Methodist Church to be the place where God wanted me to grow in faith, worship and service for His kingdom. My call to ministry happened gradually as I started serving the Lord in Youth Ministry positions. I received my call to ordained ministry one night while praying in the chapel of the Wesley Foundation at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. While attending S.F.A. I met the love of my life, Vickie Marie Craft, at the Wesley Foundation. Vickie and I have been married for almost 20 years and have been blessed with two sons, Grant (12) and Gavin (9). I achieved a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in 1991 from S.F.A. and a Master of Divinity Degree from T.C.U. in 1995. God has placed us in various churches during my ministry including Shelbyville, Canton, Kilgore, Clear Lake, Somerville, Frankston, Crystal Beach, Vidor, Houston and now Grand Saline for unique and diverse reasons. Praises be to Jesus!