Anette I. Westermark, D. Min. (2015-)

Westermark
The Rev. Dr. Anette Westermark is our church's 31st pastor. (Photo: Mindy Pastrovich)

Before coming to FPCN in 2015, Pastor Anette was a temporary supply pastor for the First Presbyterian Church in Litchfield, Illinois. She was also pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Cobden, Illinois, a small-town church of about 80 members, for nine years. She was director of pastoral care at the 300-member Sunrise Presbyterian Church in Miami, Florida. Before being ordained in 2004 as a Presbyterian minister, Pastor Anette did her pastoral internship at the First Presbyterian Church of Miami. She has experience in lay ministry as well, having served as a missionary in Cyprus for five years.

Pastor Anette has associate’s degrees in social studies and human resources (Stockholm, Sweden) and pastoral ministry (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Miami, Florida). She has a bachelor’s degree in Biblical studies from Trinity International University (Miami, Florida), a master of divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, South Carolina), and a doctor of ministry degree from the Florida Center of Theological Studies in Miami, Florida. In addition, Pastor Anette has four units of clinical pastoral education from Jackson Memorial Hospital (Miami, Florida).

Pastor Anette’s strong ecumenical background suits FPCN's diverse community. In her personal information form, Pastor Anette wrote that she “wants to serve a church in a metropolitan and multicultural setting.” An immigrant herself - she and her husband moved to the United States in 1993 - she understands firsthand the challenges that many people in our neighborhood face. She is proficient in Swedish, English, modern Greek, Spanish, French, Hebrew, and Norwegian. She has worked with other denominations with whom the PC(USA) is in full communion, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. Pastor Anette also she completed six weeks of continuing education in Sweden at the personal invitation of the Bishop of the Stockholm City Synod of the Swedish Church.

Pastor Anette grew up in a nonreligious household in a very secular country (only 3% of people in Sweden go to church), but she discovered God as a teenager after her parents sent her to Sunday School. She has the ability to reach out to many different types of Christians and as well as non-Christians.

Despite having such a diverse background, Pastor Anette is firmly rooted in our Protestant Reformed tradition. She believes in God as “the creator of life,” in Jesus as "the Son of God,…both human and divine," and in the Holy Spirit as "the one who prepares and brings new life." She believes that people cannot earn their salvation because "God's love can never be achieved, only received."

Pastor Anette actively participates in her presbytery and her community. At the Southeastern Illinois Presbytery, she belonged to several presbytery committees, including stewardship and mission and the permanent judicial committee. She teaches self-defense classes for women at local homeless shelters. She also values the importance of visitation - she served as volunteer chaplain at Union County Hospital for eight years.

Pastor Anette and her husband Kaj, whom she met in Sweden over 20 years ago, have a son. In her spare time, Pastor Anette enjoys jogging, body building, music, art, and travel. She also likes to spend quality time with her family, extended family (foster care), and friends.