Following another calling

Despite feeling a calling at a young age, Allan Redenius’ journey to the clergy was a long one.

For nearly 40 years, Redenius worked as a certified public accountant.

However, upon retirement three years ago, he decided to enter his second career as pastor of First Covenant Church.

According to Redenius, the mission statement of First Covenant is pretty simple.

“Get yourself to heaven and bring along as many others as you can,” he said.

The simple, direct approach of the Evangelical Covenant Church, with which First Covenant is affiliated, was appealing to Redenius.

A native of Titonka, Redenius credits his grandfather for helping spark his interest in preaching.

“He was an influential person in my life,” Redenius said. “He promised he would give me a gold watch if I became a preacher.”

Despite this tantalizing prospect, Redenius pursued a particular path. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Redenius set up shop as a CPA in Fort Dodge, where his wife had recently gotten a job in a medical clinic.

“I opened my office, and within a week, I was behind,” said Redenius.

Still, he never forgot his earlier leanings.

“It was always stuck in the back of my head and in my heart,” he said.

Redenius began his preaching career several years ago providing “pulpit supply.” If a regular pastor was on vacation, for example, Redenius could step in.

Finally, he decided to take the pastoral plunge.

In so doing, Redenius is the latest leader of First Covenant, which has existed continuously in Fort Dodge since 1896.

The congregation numbers around 150 members, he said.

Redenius is assisted musically by his wife, Armona Redenius. She also directs Sonshine Singers, a musical group with representatives from around 40 area churches.

“We try to accommodate a blend of music in our services,” Redenius said. Both traditional hymns and more contemporary praise songs are used.

In addition to a litany of services, First Covenant is mission-minded on a local and global level, he said.

Among area projects the church works to support is Backpack Buddies, which provides food and supplies to school children in need.

First Covenant also supports Covenant Kids Congo, which serves approximately 10,000 children in the African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo by providing means for water purification and educational materials.

Though Redenius missed out on his gold watch, his second career is extremely fulfilling, he said.

“When I completed someone’s tax return or balanced their books, it lasted a short period of time,” Redenius said. “What I’m doing today lasts forever.”