Annual Meeting Report

by Phil Johnson

This Annual Meeting was different from all others. It was bigger for one thing. Thirty-seven people attended. When hosted in the homes of the Carlsons or the Bowmans, there have been about 20 attendees. However, there may have been as many or more at the West Coast Meeting at Chris and Gord Johnsons in 2006 (see Summer, 2006—if you can, check online at pietisten.org)

Our host this year was the Schubert Club of St. Paul. They opened the second floor of their Rare Instrument Museum for our festivities. In sense, our host was our departed brother and colleague, Bruce Carlson. It was a festive time. The food was great, Poet Laureate Art Mampel touched all hearts when he recited poetry of his own and others, and David Hawkinson wowed the gathered with a text study using Robert Alter’s new translation of Psalm 23. Don Franklin (piano), Glen Wiberg and Bob Elde (auto-harps), and David Hawkinson (violin) led us in vigorous singing of Swedish heritage hymns. An amateur DVD is available with a meeting summary and movie of the music making postage paid for $5.

Managing Editor & Secretary Treasurer’s Report.

A. Income: Donations up from $2,713 to $4,680 (up $1967 or 72% largely due to a big boost from the Larsens; sales of tee-shirts, cds, etc., down $308 to $236; gift memberships down $263 to $213; Membership renewals up from $3723 to $4863 (up $1,140 or 30%); total income $7500 to $10,246 (up $2946 or 39%)

B. Subscriptions: total 980, Regular 755; Reverse, 225

C. Issues produced in 2007: Two

D. Part time help of our Assistant to the Editor, Rae Langsten, has provided additional support.

Online Editor Karl Nelson’s Report. In the past year or so we’ve had 16,000 visits to our web site, Pietisten.org. More than 70% find the site via a search engine like Google. Another large chunk of visitors come from sites that have linked to Pietisten, especially Wikipedia. I think most visitors have not heard of Pietisten before following the link landing them on the site. So, the web site serves as a unique way to share more than ten years of indexed back issues with the wider world.

Popular articles on the site: Wally Bratt “On ‘How Great Thou Art’”—Winter 2002-2003; Glen Wiberg’s “Sightings in Christian Music” column; Runar Eldebo “Roman Catholic Imagination According to Andrew M. Greeley”—Winter 2002-2003; Sarah Heinrich’s sermon “Commemorating Kaj Munk”—Summer 1999; and Phil Johnson’s 2006 “Sunday School Class, First Covenant Church, Seattle, Washington.”

The Online Editor always welcomes feedback and suggestions for the web site, even if he makes no claims regarding his responsiveness.

Associate Editor Nels Elde’s Report. Dear Fellow Pietisten enthusiasts: Greetings from the emerald city of Seattle. I very much wish I were on hand to bask in the collective glow of your rational clarity, a hallmark of every Pietisten gathering, or that I could at least be there to bring the average age down a tick or two. Nevertheless, I am happy to report that a few weeks ago now, we out here on the west coast felt a stirring from your southern neighbors in Iowa. Some of us even suspect that the nation may be poised to awaken from a nightmare going on its eighth long year. Whatever your fleeting affiliations, I hope you feel the seeds of renewal taking root and a corresponding quaking in your heart for change—real change we can believe in. But, as pietists our bond runs even deeper than this. So to my midwestern family, mentors, community, and friends my love and wishes for peace in 2008.

Sport Prophet, Eric Ecklund-Johnson. The Sport Prophet appreciates Pietisten keeping him on the “payroll” despite reduced productivity in recent years. Although I am not sure if 2008 will be the year that this trend will be reversed, I can at least take credit for being the husband/father of the children’s book review team (as well as the son of the editor) and hope that maybe nepotism, if not merit, will allow me to retain my position.

Awards for the year. Hosts: Deanna and Max Carlson and Sharon Carlson; Ground of Being: Art Anderson; Columnist: Glen Wiberg; Volunteers: Duane and Ruth Johnson and David and Marion Swanson; Roving Reporter: Bob Bach; Online Reporter: Karl Nelson; Poetry: Art Mampel; Navigation: Tom Tredway; Distinguished Service: Sandy Johnson; Translator: Tommy Carlson; Contributors: Ted and Dagmar Larsen and G. Timothy Johnson; Reliability: Elder Lindahl; Founders Award: Peter Sandstrom and David Hawkinson.

Sixty-five (Issues) and Still Alive

Why this is so may be good to know.
Let’s pause to ponder the unlikely wonder.

Hawk and Pete said “Revive Pietisten.”
Who would give them a serious listen?
Could some “Covenant underachievers”
Find or even be themselves believers?
What had these guys ever done
Except be “rebels on the run?”

It seemed an empty wind was blowing
Cuz their next move to get things going
Was to call a meeting with Tommy and Phil—
Sort of like sliding up an icy hill.

Then Peter came up with an issue real
And satisfaction was ours to feel,
Sandy picked the paper well
People told us it looked swell.

But would this be just one and done?
Would Pietisten have a decent run?
Clearly it has kept on going—
How account for it’s fair showing?

For starters it’s been lots of fun.
Else nothing would have gotten done.
The conversation soon began
Good friends and spirits gathered in.

And so we’ve gone on and on
To this moment to which we’ve come
How much longer will we go?
As of now there are none who know.

So for having made another year
And for the fact that we are here
May no one shed a single tear
And let us raise each glass with cheer!