This fall, after a three-year search, Louisa Presbyterian Church welcomed and ordained Rev. Dr. Sandra K. Goehring as its new full-time pastor.
Sandi and her husband, Carter Podoll, are both natives of small farming communities in southeastern North Dakota. After securing her Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and her doctorate from Union Presbyterian Seminary, Sandi accepted her first ministerial call to join LPC’s community of faith, shepherd its members and friends and become active in the wider community.
In addition to her work at the church, Pastor Sandi is also a part-time assistant professor in Religious Studies at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, where she has taught courses such as Introduction to Religion, Women and Christianity, Christianity and Women and Religion. Education and teaching have always been important to Sandi. She started teaching Sunday school when she was 13 years old, and in some capacity, she has taught in every church she ever attended since then.
“I love watching people’s faces light up when they are learning and discovering a new aspect or perspective,” Sandi said.
In her limited free time, Sandi enjoys reading, camping and hiking. She is a mother of two adult children and she carries on her family’s tradition as a fourth generation seamstress. Both Sandi and Carter come from large families, Sandi being the oldest of six, so they are familiar with the lifestyle and chores associated with rural living.
In fact, having lived in the metropolitan areas of Richmond and Princeton for more than a decade, Sandi has missed the country.
“When I was seeking a church, I was looking for something that was rural because I have lived in cities for 13 years and grew tired of asphalt,” she said. “I missed seeing the stars in the skies and feeling the green grass. I missed nature.”
Her rural mentality makes her appreciate the view of her current commute to and from the college.
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Dec. 6, 2018 issue.