When pastor Satise A. Roddy of Oasis Church in Minnetonka, Minnesota, talks about her ministry journey, her vivacity and warmth are evident. It’s also clear, though, that she is a woman of serious prayer.
Crying out to God in prayer brought breakthrough in Roddy’s personal battle with depression. Mentors and friends prayed with her, confirming her ministry calling. In her current role as an African-American woman pastor, prayer is revitalizing a local church and helping unite a community hit hard by racial tension.
Christian grandparents raised Roddy, who nevertheless went through a period of rebellion and a failed marriage. Describing herself as “saved, but not walking the walk,” she suffered severe depression.
“Doctors dreaded to see me coming,” she says. “They had done all they could, and I wasn’t getting better.”
Working in public relations, in conversation one day in 2000 a woman told her, “I have a feeling your great smile is hiding great pain.” Roddy resisted further discussion, but the woman persisted over several months and recommended a church. Finally, at a particularly low point, Roddy prayed, telling God she would visit the church if she could just get better. The sermon that day focused on overcoming depression. Recognizing God’s hand in the situation, she surrendered to Christ. The pastor confirmed a sense of God’s call on her life.
Roddy volunteered in various ministries at In His Presence Church, a large Pentecostal nondenominational congregation in Woodland Hills, California, and started a women’s ministry, Destined Women. At the urging of friends, she also began to consider the idea of marriage, but determined that a new partner would have to be a person of prayer and committed to Christ. Minnesota native Tim Roddy fit the description. But only a month after they met via eHarmony in 2005, Satise received a medical diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer.
“I figured telling a guy you have cancer was a sure way to get rid of him,” she recalls. Tim offered words of assurance. He made the trek to California frequently, and, after successful treatment, Satise visited Minnesota. Surprisingly, the Gopher State felt like home once the culture shock wore off. Satise and Tim, who is white, wed in 2007. That meant leaving her two adult sons and five grandchildren behind in California.
In 2009, Roddy relaunched Destined Women, holding special worship events for women. The Roddys became part of Eden Prairie Assembly of God. Pastor Jac Perrin and his wife, Bonnie, recognized Satise’s ministry calling and recommended she seek the pastorate of Oasis Church, a small congregation in rebuilding mode in nearby Minnetonka. The Minneapolis suburb has 54,000 residents — 90 percent of them white. Satise transferred her ministerial credentials to the Assemblies of God and became pastor in 2016.
As is common when churches go through a reset, congregants had been hurt. Some didn’t feel comfortable with a female pastor, let alone a Black woman. Roddy wouldn’t be deterred.
“When God positions you, He equips you,” she says. “I’m amazed how God gave me grace to minister to the hurting, but also boldness to stand up to people resisting what God was doing.”
Prayer is key as the congregation moves forward. Roddy, who enjoys jogging, regularly goes on “prayer runs” and appreciates her prayer partners. She’s also thankful for her husband’s support; Tim, 58, works full time for American Church Group of Minnesota, assisting churches and nonprofits with insurance, and helps at Oasis with various duties — media, ushering, maintenance, and sometimes preaching.
Satise appreciates the validation of women ministers by the Assemblies of God. “God knew I needed a covering,” she says.
Pennsylvania pastor Nichole M. Schreiber encouraged Roddy to network with other female pastors, and North Central University professor Carolyn Tennant is a regular mentor.
“I admire Satise for her determination to follow God and move in the Spirit,” Tennant says. “She has hung in there in the challenges of a revitalization situation, when others might have walked away. She also mentors other women in return, cheering on the next generation.”
In addition, Roddy is a chaplain with the Minnetonka Police Department. The death of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis brought local pastors together. Now, Roddy is spearheading “Now Is the Time,” a cooperative effort among churches to make prayer an ongoing lifestyle.
“This initiative is positive for our city,” says Mayor Brad Wiersum. “As a Christian, I’m commanded to pray. If we follow Jesus’ command to love one another, and we pray for healing and reconciliation, we will make progress on the divisions affecting our cities and nation.”