"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Ann Svennungsen followed Dr. James Waits as the eighth President of The Fund for Theological Education in Atlanta, GA. Prior to her election to this position, she was Senior Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, a 3,700-member congregation in Moorhead, MN. During her seven years at Trinity, Svennungsen served the largest ELCA congregation to be led by a woman senior pastor. Her twenty-two years of ministry also included pastorates in Iowa City, IA and Minneapolis, MN. Often invited to speak and write, Svennungsen has also served as a mentor to younger pastors and was the principal grant writer and administrator of her congregation's "Transition into Ministry Pastoral Residency Program," funded by a $750,000 Lilly Endowment grant. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Mathematics from Concordia College in Minnesota, and received her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in 1981. She is married to Dr. William Russell and is the mother of three children.