Our Pastor

Drew Filkins, Interim Pastor

Pastor Drew - Driftless Ministries

Greetings Friends,

I am Rev. Drew Filkins. I am honored and humbled to be your interim Pastor for this season. I have been a pastor for nearly 20 years. I went to Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, MI, where I received my Bachelor of Religious Education in theology and ministry. After a year in ministry, I started my Master of Pastoral Arts at Huntington University in Huntington, IN. Finally, I am currently pursuing my Doctorate of Ministry in Public Theology at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Throughout my career, I have worked with small rural churches and larger urban churches. I love to see the churches use their creative energy to engage with the world and share love and justice.

I am a child of the Midwest. I was born in Valparaiso, IN, and soon after that, my family moved to Rolling Prairie, IN, where we spent my first seven years. Then we spent a couple of years in Fort Dodge, IA, before coming back to the great state of Michigan, where both of my parents’ families called home. We spent almost five years in Farwell, MI, before moving to the great white north of Sault Ste. Marie, MI. In da Soo, as they say, I met my forever partner and graduated from high school.  I have served churches in northwest Ohio, northern lower Michigan, central lower Michigan, and southern & northern Wisconsin. Recently, my family and I moved to Duluth, MN to be closer to my partner’s family.

My fantastic partner, Holly, and I celebrate 21 years of marriage in August. We have two wonderful, creative, caring children. Glace, our oldest, loves to skateboard, play video games, and stop pucks. Ida, our youngest, loves swimming, gymnastics, and doing creative art projects that make a huge mess. We enjoy board games, being on the water, and movie nights as a family. You can find me watching my children play their respective sports, playing stringed instruments, and turning wood on my lathe during my free time. But my number one passion outside of the church is fly fishing. Being on a river is a peaceful, calming space for me. I find the rhythm of the casting, the focus on the fly drifting down the run, and the quietness of the stream can lead to meditative moments.

There is so much I am looking forward to during our time together.  I am excited to experience the driftless region in all its seasons and help you find your first called pastor. Just as you have gotten to know me a little bit through this brief introduction, I am looking forward to hearing your stories. Besides the work and people of the Driftless Ministries, I am excited to explore all the area has to offer.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Drew

Sandy Conrad, Candidate for Pastor

To the members of Driftless Ministries,

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Sandy Conrad, and your Pastor Search Committee has offered me the opportunity to become your next pastor. 

I am a retired Pediatrician from Illinois.  Four years ago, as I was ready to retire to a cushy life of leisure, I sensed God’s strong calling to go to Seminary.  I have been a Scripture geek all my life and had developed a passion to learn the Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek.  I wound up relocating to Waco, Texas to attend Truett Seminary on Baylor’s campus.  Baylor is a Baptist school, but Truett has both Baptist and Methodist branches.  I loved every minute of my Seminary experience and graduated a few weeks ago with an MDiv (the Very Long Theology degree that includes the biblical languages!).  During my seminary time I discovered that I not only love teaching about the word of God, but I also enjoyed preaching about it as well.  I have been looking for a congregation of 50 people of all ages in a rural setting who are anxious to hear about Scripture.  When I heard about Driftless, God had multiplied my wishes by Three! 

I was born a Methodist and spent forty years in the Methodist church of northern Illinois.  We were Evangelicals for a while and are currently Baptist.  I will be ordained by First Baptist Waco before I arrive in Wisconsin.  I particularly love the open communion table of the Methodist church and the Methodist hymnal is the best!  I enjoy a good hymn but am not bound to a hymnal, though.  Any form of music that honors God is fine for me.  I play the piano and have sung in church choirs in the past.

My husband, Ron, is my best friend and enthusiastic supporter.  He has been a music teacher for thirty-eight years and has recently retired so we can move to Wisconsin.  He is wonderful with kids and is a lot of fun.  We will bring with us a set of choir chimes (they look like big tuning forks) which we may use for special music occasionally.  We met playing handbells in our church.

We both grew up around Chicago, so Midwest winters are known to us.  And as is common for folks from northern Illinois, we have vacationed all through Wisconsin.  We love hiking and golf and, at one time, had planned to retire to Wisconsin   I was licensed to be a substitute teacher in Wisconsin for a while!  We are Packers fans, just to let you know.

I hope you can read between the lines of this brief introduction to understand how excited we are to begin this portion of our lives.  Both Ron and I feel that the Holy Spirit has been leading us in this direction for months.  I want to hear your stories, to share in your work for Jesus, and to partner with you to open the Bible and learn more about how to follow the Lord. 

I will visit you on July 7th and hopefully be moved and ready to start by the end of summer.  We can’t wait.

Yours in Christ,

Sandy and Ron Conrad

Sandy Conrad - Driftless Ministries Candidate for Pastor