Pastor Mark Phillips

Murdo's Pastor Mark isn’t just putting around

So, maybe I didn’t play fair when I interviewed the new pastor of the United Methodist Church of Murdo and Draper. I found out Pastor Mark Phillips has a wife named Ginger and she’s on Facebook.  Since it was too hot to drive to Murdo and take some photos, I started looking at Ginger’s facebook posts for a possibility of pictures that could be used with this story. I was also curious what it takes to make a good Methodist minister’s wife. I liked what I found. Ginger gets involved in church activities, enjoys local sporting events with Mark and makes friends wherever she goes. Thankfully, Rylee captured Pastor Mark on film.
Ginger and Pastor Mark have been married 36 years. Although he is a native South Dakotan, the couple met when they were attending Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa. They have one son, who is single and lives in Sioux Falls.
Pastor Mark’s father was also a preacher, and must have made a good impression on his son even in the early years. After graduating from Webster High School and attending Westmar, he spent five years in seminary at the Methodist Theological School.  While there he earned two degrees and served the small country congregation of Rum Creek in north central Ohio.
In 1986 Pastor Mark and Ginger moved back to South Dakota.  Over the next 31 years they served at Aberdeen, Waconda-Irene-Viborg, north to Mandan, North Dakota, then back to Milbank, South Dakota and finally to Lead, from whence they were called to minister in Jones County. They moved into the parsonage in Murdo on June 21 and he preached his first Sunday morning service on July 2. Worship services take place at 9:30 a.m. in Murdo and 11:00 o’clock in Draper. Because of his schedule he is not able to take an active part in Sunday school, but is looking forward to small group Bible studies and other activities of the congregations.
When I quizzed Pastor about musical abilities he admitted that both he and Ginger are musical “to some degree.” Tell me if you think this quote from Facebook indicates “to some degree.”  From a Lead parishioner just before the Phillips couple moved here: “Would someone be able to video Pastor Mark’s last Sunday? His music is so wonderful and there are several who are not able to attend that Sunday. Please and thank you.”
One of Pastor Mark’s most favorite passages of scripture is found in Galatians, chapter five, which refers to the fruit of the spirit. Love, joy and peace are the three attributes most people can identify with as being evidence for living a life that is in tune with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
   When I asked him what he feels is the most important thing people should learn from his preaching, he answered, “Recognizing and understanding God’s grace.”
   He also told me he feels he is more of a preacher than a teacher, meaning the purpose of preaching is to help listeners connect scripture to everyday life and apply it to all aspects of living. His teaching abilities, then, are applied to research and background such as applied in Bible studies, like when I see a “therefore” in scripture, I want to know what it is there for.
   Golfing is Pastor Mark’s favorite way to spend spare time, and he is delighted to have such a nice course close by. It didn’t take long to get him in action as he was asked to fill in on the men’s league for Tim Hochhalter, who endured a farm accident and is still hospitalized in Sioux Falls.
   As stated earlier, both Pastor and Ginger will be visible at local sporting events, just because they enjoy those activities and the fact that they provide a “balance of life.”
   Welcome to Jones County, and may your ministry here be blessed and appreciated.

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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