Anderson installed as Hays, Dodge City district superintendent

David Burke


New district superintendent installations -- 2021

The youngest district superintendent in the Great Plains Conference was installed in ceremonies July 24, with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. calling the Rev. Zach Anderson a voice of the next generation. 

“Isn’t it wise to have someone is a position of decision making to lead the church that we leave behind?” the bishop said of Anderson, 36. 

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. asks Rev. Zach Anderson to affirm his commitment to ministries as part of the district superintendent installation ceremony July 24 in WaKeeney. Photos by David Burke

Anderson was installed as Hays District superintendent Saturday afternoon in front of about 40 clergy, lay leaders and fellow DSes at WaKeeney UMC. That night, 35 people at Dodge City First UMC attended ceremonies for that district. 

A native of Wahoo, Nebraska, Anderson was ordained in 2008 and served at churches in Denton-Raymond-Pleasant Dale, Papillion St. Paul’s and Omaha Hanscom Park UMCs in Nebraska before his most recent appointment at Goodland UMC in Kansas in 2017. 

He has served on the Council on Finance & Administration since 2000, as well as the General Commission on Religion & Race. 

“He is known throughout the jurisdiction,” Bishop Saenz said. “He brings a broad perspective of the church.” 

What Anderson lacks in age, Bishop Saenz said, he makes up for in experience. 

“I believe Zach Anderson has the gifts and the insight and the spiritual maturity as we lead our conference forward and embrace it with hope and confidence,” the bishop said. “To have Zach on our cabinet is a signal to young people that their voice is important and their voice is needed.” 

Preaching from Ephesians 16:1-3 and Matthew 28:16-20, Anderson acknowledged the difficulties the church as a whole is facing, but he remains optimistic. 

“We feel stuck. We feel unsure about the church in the future,” he said. “I’m hopeful for our future. If we didn’t have a future, God wouldn’t be calling us here at this moment.” 

Anderson compared God’s reprimand of the Israelites to the way he corrects his own 2-year-old daughter: “Things would be so much easier if you just listened to me.” 

The ceremony included the gifts of a Bible, water pitcher, chalice, hymnal and book of worship, towel and basin, stole, Book of Discipline and globe from pastors and laity from throughout the district. Bishop Saenz and Anderson served communion. 

Anderson was the first of five new district superintendents to be installed. The schedule for the rest: 

  • Rev. Micki McCorkle, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7 at Parsons Wesley UMC (Parsons District) and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7 at Garnett UMC (Five Rivers District) 

  • Rev. Tom Brady, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, at Overland Park Heritage UMC (Kansas City District) 

  • Rev. Karen Rice Ratzlaff, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15, at Salina First UMC (Salina and Hutchinson districts) 

  • Rev. Charles Murithi, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at Bassett UMC (Elkhorn Valley District) and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29, at Aurora UMC (Prairie Rivers District) 

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