The Reverend John R. Andrus will celebrate his 90th birthday on March 3. He served for 31 years in the pastorate of Chattanooga's First Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Andrus is known for his Biblical ministry, hearty laughter, frugal lifestyle, and his deep devotion to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
After retiring in 1993 the congregation named him Pastor Emeritus.
The 6'4" Santa Ana, Californian received BA and MA degrees from Pasadena College in Pasadena, Ca.
He did graduate work in Education at Whittier California College, Los Angeles State College, and Eastern Kentucky State College in Richmond, Ky.
He served 11 years in secondary education at the Mt. Carmel High School in Breathitt County, Ky.,and as pastor of the nearby White Oak Community Church.
In 1962 at the age of 35 he came to Chattanooga to serve as assistant to Dr. Lawrence B. Hicks when First Church of The Nazarene was located at its long-time Main and Willow location.
After serving as pastor for several years the denomination’s District Assembly elected him as superintendent to supervise Nazarene churches in East Tennessee. He declined and chose to remain as pastor of First Church.
Pastor Andrus is known as a patriotic person. He was the recipient of 11 Valley Forge Freedoms Foundation Awards for sermons he delivered at First Church promoting God and Country themes. At one time he had one of the largest collections of Presidential campaign buttons dating back to the early 1900's. The late United States Senator Howard Baker Jr. in 1969 arranged for him to attend a White House worship service when Richard Nixon was President. He had the opportunity to talk to the President and his wife after the service. The President and Pastor Andrus both had attended Whittier College.
While serving as senior pastor to his large congregation he was instrumental in the church financing six missionary construction projects in foreign countries. He also served on the Board of Trustees at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville and the Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs, Colo. He ministered to the local Teen Challenge organization and conducted a weekly Bible study for Jaycee Tower residents.
Today, in retirement, he continues to minister to area families in hospitals, nursing homes, and conducts funeral services when asked to do so. He and his wife Loretta reside in East Ridge and often frequent the Lookout Valley Cracker Barrel where they have made a host of new friends.
His adult children are Lenae Andrus Sondgeroth and Tad Andrus. He has two adult step-daughters, Sharma Burdick and Shana Pearl.
The church, at 5455 North Terrace in the Brainerd area, will host a public reception on Saturday, March 3, from 2 to 4 p.m.. The family has requested no gifts, only cards when attending the reception.