Jim, six foot three, is a big man in more ways than one and has worn many hats in his lifetime of some thirty-five years. There was the blue-tassled hat of the graduating class of 1950 at Shenandoah Valley Academy;* the white-tassled hat of the Union College class of '55, as well as the gold-tassled hat of the Loma Linda Medical School class of '65, among others. But today he finds he is wearing three hats—for he is doctor, minister, and builder, all at one time.
James E. Anderson, M.D., is presently taking a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the George Washington University, and in spite of grueling work and long hours required in surgery and visits to patients, he still finds time to be a good husband and father as well as minister to a church congregation that has been swelling under his leadership.
Dr. Jim was a pastor for six years before he decided he could minister to his flock better in the dual capacity of doctor-pastor. So he enrolled in medical school. When the need was shown to him and he felt he could be of service to a small congregation that was about to start a church-building project, he filled that need by becoming pastor in the Laurel, Maryland, Seventh-day Adventist church.
His sermons are designed to impart a desire for the "better life," for he has a definite idea, one that he has proved to his satisfaction, that Seventh-day Adventist Christians should find in their religion a "happy way of life." He is willing to share his ideas and philosophy with others wherever he meets them, whether on a pastoral call, at a hospital bed, or working on the new Laurel Seventh-day Adventist church that is designed to serve the needs of four hundred persons.
As a builder, Dr. Anderson is tops. Besides keeping an eye on church finances, he keeps a keen eye on the work done by the church members and contractors to ensure that it is done properly, and even keeps ahead of them by seeing that the right materials are ordered and available at the right time. In spite of his heavy work schedule, he still finds time to drive nails, saw boards, and when the need arises, as it has in the past, even dig ditches, with time out occasionally to talk to a church mem her about a church problem or write a prescription for a sick member. He is able to combine meticulous attention to small details with swiftness of action and accomplishment. With all of this he still finds time to get out a weekly pastoral letter and even pound the pavements for Ingathering after he has organized the bands.
From his dad, who was a builder in New Jersey, Dr. Jim learned the trade of building and he helped his father when he was home from Shenandoah on vacations. This trade served him well, for while at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, he used his experience and knowledge to build five houses and four multifamily dwellings, and was thus able to support his wife, Jean, and their two children, John and June, as well as pay his college expenses.
When he first entered the ministry he found his weekly wages were only a small fraction of what he received in the role of student and builder, but he chose the ministry because he liked it. During his six years in the ministry he was called upon to build new churches in four of the congregations he served—Weslaco, Dallas First church, Terrell, and later the Austin, Texas, church. His experience in the building trade is an asset to the Laurel church members who find in their pastor-doctorbuilder a real down-to-earth person who is dedicated to helping them with their problems here while steadily pointing their way forward and upward.
Although I am older than Dr. Jim I cannot help looking up to this paradoxical person, who gives of his limited time so generously, not because he is an excellent doctor, pastor, or builder—which he is—but because he knows the Great Physician, the Builder of the universe, the Pastor of the flock, on intimate terms. He points the way to the Saviour.
In this writer's estimation, if Dr. Jim has one failing it is that of attempting much more than can be expected of one man. But he does not let this worry him. So dedicated is he to his church and its program that his attempts meet with success. He relies heavily upon his wife, who helps share his burden for the Lord's work.
Dr. Jim looks forward to that day when the church is finished and he can lay his builder's hat aside and devote all his time to the work he loves best—working with people and helping with their needs both spiritual and physical. With many more such dedicated workers our commission of the "gospel to all the world" would soon be completed.
* Dr. Jim looks back upon the time spent at Shenandoah Valley Academy as some of the happiest days in his life and feels the academy had much to do with molding his life and setting his ideals in the proper perspective.