By Julie Lorenz
This summer, the Northern California Conference ordained three pastors to the gospel ministry, confirming the calling of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Three more were ordained in the fall, and their stories will be featured in the next issue.
Steven Brownell – Pastor, Hayfork/Weaverville Trinity Lakes/Whitmore district
On Sabbath, June 8, Steven Brownell was ordained at the Redding church. He celebrated the Lord’s leading with his wife, Frankie, and their family. “To be here this evening with four God-fearing children and their spouses, 12 God-pursuing grandchildren, as well as loving family and friends, is praise only to God,” he said.
Brownell was born in Stockton to parents who weren’t practicing Christians. When he was a young boy, his mother began taking him and his brother to the local Adventist church. At age seven, he and his brother walked to an evangelistic series in Manteca, where they lived, and committed their lives to Jesus. They were baptized six years later, but none of their family attended the service.
After graduating from Modesto Union Academy, Brownell had a variety of work experiences—serving in the army, helping troubled youth, supervising students at an ADRA warehouse, and working at Pacific Union College. While at the college, the Brownells examined their faith in a deeper way. They began to travel, sharing their newfound faith in God with friends and strangers.
After several years, the family returned to California. For five years, they owned and operated a care home for the elderly in Waterford, and then they moved to Weimar Institute. Over 11 years, Brownell served in a number of positions: academy boys’ dean; Bible, drivers’ training, and auto shop teacher; principal; and exercise therapist for the NEWSTART program. The Brownells then moved to Maine, where he pastored a four-church district for 12 years.
In 2014, the NCC called Brownell to his current district. In addition to pastoring, he is studying to finish his Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from the Theological Seminary at Andrews University. “Working together, we meet life’s many challenges, including that of ministering in the Emerald Triangle,” he said. “We go forward in faith, much prayer, and dependence on an all-sufficient God.”
Garrett Anderson – Pastor, Pittsburg/Oakland Immanuel Temple district
On Sabbath afternoon, June 22, Garrett Anderson was ordained during Urban Camp Meeting at Christian Life Center in Stockton—with his wife, Danyetta, by his side. The Andersons’ two young children, Anala Ariel and Gabriel Benjamin, were present as their father received the confirmation of his calling.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Anderson graduated from Pine Forge Academy. He then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampton University in Virginia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He held positions with a community justice project, a district attorney’s office, and in chambers of the District Court and Superior Courts of Pennsylvania.
During his undergraduate days, Anderson felt the Lord leading him to the ministry. “I resisted the call to pastoral ministry in favor of law as an alternate avenue to fulfill the call,” he said. “After eight years, though, I knew I would never have complete peace in my spirit until I surrendered my agenda for God’s.”
Anderson enrolled at the HMS Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University. He earned a Master of Theological Studies in 2013 and a Master of Divinity in 2015. The NCC called him in 2013 to serve as assistant pastor at the Oakland Market Street church, and in 2017 he began serving in his current district.
Anderson has recently undertaken the work of assisting undocumented immigrants seeking asylum as well as immigrants pursuing other avenues of immigration into the United States.
His education in political science, law, and theology, as well as his professional experience, provide a broad foundation for his pursuits of ministry, social justice, and advocacy. “The most rewarding part of ministry for me is empowering and equipping God’s children in pursuit of their God-given potential and affirming their giftedness,” he said. “It is also extremely rewarding to advocate for mercy on behalf of those most in need.”
Jesse Malin – Associate Pastor, Lodi Fairmont church
On Sabbath afternoon, Aug. 31, Jesse Malin was ordained at the Fairmont church. Numerous family members participated in the program, including his wife, Hailey. The Malins’ young son, Charlie, watched the service with great interest.
Raised in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, Malin graduated from South Lancaster Academy before attending Southern Adventist University. After a mentor encouraged him to work at summer camp, he worked for four years at Camp Winnekeag in Massachusetts. “My time at camp grew my heart for youth and young adult ministry,” he said.
During his college years, Malin served as a student missionary teaching on Ebeye in the Marshall Islands. As he was doubting his purpose there, Malin heard God speak to him: “You are not alone. I have called you here not so you can teach, but so I can teach.”
Malin graduated from Southern Adventist University with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and a minor in outdoor education. He then earned a Master of Arts in Youth and Young Adult Ministry from the Theological Seminary at Andrews University.
After seminary, the Malins accepted a call to be missionaries to Palau. He was the elementary school’s vice principal and later the principal, while she served as a teacher. Mentoring the student missionaries was a highlight of their work. Two years later, they returned to Tennessee, where he served as a Bible worker focusing on youth in the Lawrenceburg church. After NCC Youth Director Eddie Heinrich talked with him at the 2014 International Camporee, Malin received a call to the Fairmont church.
In January 2015, he began working with youth at his church and helping to plan activities throughout the conference. “I strongly believe that young people need a diverse group of individuals that invite them to come as they are and be loved, while introducing them to the living Christ by sharing in their experience of walking with Him,” he said.