Out and About

Pittsburgh Wedding

When Kirk Anderson was in kindergarten, he could catch a football over his shoulder on the dead run. His timing was perfect and his coordination superb. The longer the pass the better as far as he was concerned. Kirk continued to play ball with all sorts of different type balls. Perhaps the apex of his career was playing baseball at the University of Arizona. He played for Coach Jerry Kindall, the Minnesota and Covenant All-American.

Years have passed, and I wondered if Kirk had lost the knack. I knew that he was entering new decades and then pushing forty. He continued to catch lots of softballs, basketballs, and the like, but he had not caught a bride. But, lo and behold, just in the nick of time, he made the best catch of his life. He caught Lynn Fisher. Actually, I learned that Lynn is very athletic as well and that it was a mutual catch. All four parents, Donna and Gerald Fisher and Art and Bernice Anderson are delighted with the catches their children have made. The couple was married in Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 26.

The weather was superb, the scenery magnificent, the trumpet of Larry Olson superb, and the homily to the point.

The groom’s Dad, the Reverend Arthur W. Anderson, had lived in hope and had probably dreamed about this sermon for years. He came through with a very practical homily. He said that the couple should put each other first, keep the romance alive, be real with each other, and realize the ambivalences of life. He told of one husband who got this note from his wife: “I hate you. Love, Martha.” Further, he said, they should build each other up. He made the pragmatic suggestion that they give each other ten hugs and “I love you(s)” for every two “You jerk(s)!” This measure of relationship health (the fraction puzzlingly not reduced) was usefully cited the rest of the weekend among the out-of-town guests.

Finally, Pastor Anderson said, using the words of Yogi Berra, “ ‘When you come to a fork in the road – take it.’ That way you will keep adventure alive.”

It was a grand occasion. Led by the indomitable Bernice Anderson, the joyful guests danced into the lovely Pennsylvania evening. The bride and groom were obviously very happy as they left, with the blessings of one and all, for a time on the beaches of Hawaii.

-- PJ

Happy 100th

The Centennial Banquet of the North Park Covenant Church was a gala affair. The large gymnasium of North Park University was filled to capacity with members and friends. A String Quartet: Dawn Gingrich and Marc Landeweer, violins, Nick Georgopoulos, viola, and Dan Tressel, cello, played while we assembled. They provided dinner music. Pastor Arthur Nelson was Master of Ceremonies. The President of the Covenant, Glenn Palmberg, gave a greeting and presented a memorial plaque to Chair Glenn Murakami on behalf of the Church.

We came to the table–a nice buffet, set up under the basketball hoops at each end, included chicken cacciatore and lemon pepper chicken, green beans, rice pilaf and dinner rolls. A delicious salad with a creamy raspberry dressing and beverages were on the tables, and a dessert buffet offered special anniversary cake and ice cream. Pastor of Youth Ministries, Marc Eix, asked the blessing.

Choir Director, Charles Olson, led group singing from the songs in the Program and from the special Centennial Hymnal, which we found by our places and were invited to keep. A wonderful string band accompanied the group and provided a warm sense of traditional immigrant fellowship. During the evening, the banqueters sang “Sing the Glad Carol of Jesus, Our Lord,” “How Great The Joy,” “Praise the Lord with Joyful Song,” “To God Be the Glory,” and “Praise Him! Praise Him!.” The String Quartet played Beethoven’s “Quartet in F Major Op. 18, No. 1, Allegro con brio as their special number.

The centerpiece of the program was a video, based on old home movies taken by Elmer Nelson in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, and produced by Timothy Johnson. Seminary Professors, Stephan Graham and Philip Anderson, read prepared texts which presented historical information and interpretation of the video presentation. Historical displays were also set up in the old gym. Two veteran members of North Park–Sisters Dorothy Lundbom and Virginia Ohlson–sat center stage as they conversed and shared memories of the past. A relatively recent member of North Park Covenant, Marti Hindaileh, described her coming to the Church and the significance it now has for her and her husband, Nabil. The Rev. Jolene Bergstrom-Carlson, Pastor for Children and Family Ministries, gave the benediction. The best part of the evening was meeting old friends and making new acquaintances.

With names like “Murakami,” “Eix,” and “Hindaileh”–You know that “old” North Park Covenant is headed for great accomplishments in the non-Swedish Kingdom of God.

– Elder Lindahl

North Park Seminary–A Going Concern

The large social room of First Covenant Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota was full Sunday evening, November 8, 1998. When I arrived, people were sitting in rows listening to Dr. John “Jay” Phelan, Jr., President and Dean of North Park Seminary. This took me by surprise because I expected an informal, drop-in time for talk around cake and coffee and a small gathering. But, I was glad for the opportunity to hear Dean Phelan speak and there was plenty of cake, coffee, and chat time after his address.

As I listened to Jay, I began to recall my student days at North Park Seminary and the pride I have felt in being associated with the Seminary. I recalled the days of Deans Eric Hawkinson, Don Frisk, and Glenn Anderson, times of inspirational leadership and great, challenging faculty. I am grateful for the loving, tough-minded boost they gave to my intellectual life. Years later, still on my quest for an M.Div. (it took me three seminaries and 15 years) Dr. Bebis asked each member of our class “The Later Fathers” at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, who our “Patristics” teacher had been. Patristics was a new term for me at that moment but I was pleased, when my turn came, to say: Donald Frisk.

These thoughts and associated feelings of blessing came on strong because of what Dean Phelan said and how he said it–his openness. He said that the seminary plans to proceed by “going” in five specific ways.

1) “Going Out” meaning faculty going out from Chicago to Minneapolis and other places to offer classes that are relevant to members and friends in local Churches.

2) “Going Deep,” meaning to foster “spiritual formation” for seminary students. Having submitted a grant request for two-million dollars to develop this discipline, the seminary also hopes to go deep into the pockets of the Lily Foundation.

3) “Going Home,” meaning to reach back into our history and heritage for nurture. Phelan said that the rich heritage of the Covenant was attractive to him, raised a Methodist, and it is attractive to other Christians as well. It is vital to go home, he said: “If we forget our past, we have no future.” Specifically, he said that the heart of the Covenant tradition is “rootedness and openness.” Because of this quality, the Covenant avoids rigidity and dogmatism.

4) “Going Toward,” meaning that at the Seminary the students and faculty go towards one another recognizing differences and bringing their differences to one another. The Seminary wants to influence people and churches throughout the denomination to go toward one another as well as toward other churches and Christians.

5) “Going Out,” meaning missions and evangelism–bringing our special gift, the blessing of rootedness and openness, to others. I like this because a person who is rooted and open can listen. This, to me, is the heart and soul of evangelism in our time. I think this is much more important than converting people to Christianity or to our denomination.

Dean Phelan demonstrated rootedness, openness, and thoughtfulness. His leadership must be a blessing to the outstanding faculty at NPTS and it will be a growing blessing to the church body. Clearly, he is an exceptional leader who intends, in act and thought, to lead a going concern.

It was a lot of fun, after the Dean’s talk, to visit with old friends over delicious cake with punch or coffee. Thanks to First Covenant for its gracious hospitality.

– PJ