A celebration for Pietisten’s three decades

About 45 souls (in bodies) met in Fellowship Hall at Covenant Village in Golden Valley, Minnesota, to celebrate the 30th birthday of our journal the evening of Dec. 14, 2016. The setting was just right and Chaplain Paul Anderson was a perfect host. The median age of the gathering did not qualify it as a youth event, but that didn’t matter in the least.

We sang Swedish Advent and Christmas songs led by Chief Editor Mark Safstrom, accompanied by Jinny Larson on piano and Chaplain Paul on viola. It was sweet time throughout. Mark read greetings, some printed here, and Phil Johnson, editor emeritus, sketched, ever so lightly, the story of the founding of Pietisten at 3232 47th Avenue South, former World Wide Headquarters, in 1986. He alluded to the abundance of fun at Pietisten meetings by the fire at headquartrers for 25 years.

Phil reminded all those gathered of Pietisten’s “premises” (see back of issue), and then offered a meditation on the events that occurred in Samaria in John chapter 4, having learned from Dr. Safstrom’s lecture at Bethel University the previous day, that both Rosenius and Waldenström wrote sermons on John 4 at the time of editorial transfer in 1868.

Phil drew attention to the fact that few preachers have made much of the remarkable fact that Jesus and the disciples were guests of the Samaritans for two days following the encounter with the woman at the well. The Samaritans’ hospitality may be one of the more significant points in the story. The human experience of being the guest of people who are of another tribe or nation or culture is the wonderful power that breaks down the barriers so that friendship arises and all become welcome to the grace of God and to one another. Phil noted that Jesus must have enjoyed this time very much, and been deeply grateful for what he learned, and happy to have experienced this hospitality along with his disciples. “As much as possible,” Phil said, “we can enrich ourselves and the people around us by making connections and friends across boundaries.” This is the spirit of Pietisten.

Mark Safstrom showed clips of the documentary “God’s Glory, Neighbor’s Good: The Story of Pietism” that he, Tim Frakes, Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom and Dave Oseland are producing with help of contributions from many of you readers. Thanks again for your support of this important project, which will be released in early 2017!

Intending blessing as always, Jane Wiberg and Rev. Glen, Pietisten’s “Sing it Again” columnist, enriched the conversation. Thanks to all who came to celebrate, and thanks to Covenant Village and Chaplain Anderson for grand hospitality. Blessings on Pietisten as we head into the future strengthened by our past.