Andrew Woodfield, a New Zealand native, has been called as pastor at Hickman Community Church.
He replaces former pastor Doug Porter, who resigned in late 2005 and has been charged with murder, attempted murder and theft. The case involves the late Frank Craig, a wealthy rancher who died April 22, 2004, from injuries suffered in a crash while Porter was driving.
The church wrote an open letter, published in The Bee on Nov. 14, 2005, announcing Porter's resignation and asking for prayers and forgiveness from community residents.
A few people have served as interim pastors since Porter left.
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Woodfield, 44, said he plans to "simply do the work of the pastor -to preach the word. I'm not going to do anything special.
"God led us here. We fell in love with the people. There's a really good atmosphere here. Regardless of issues in the past, we're moving forward."
Although raised in a Christian home, Woodfield said he rejected the message of God's grace until he accepted Christ at the age of 18. He has since been a youth pastor, senior pastor and worked for a Christian ministry.
He recently received his master of divinity program from The Master's Seminary in Southern California.
"My sole passion in life is to glorify God by loving all people with the Gospel, by accurately preaching and teaching the word of God," he said in a statement.
Woodfield is married to Barby and has three children: Nicki, 21, Beckie, 18, and Reuben, 16.
He began his job in Hickman on June 1.
The church is at 854 I St. Call 874-1180.