Wednesday June 15 I headed northwest from Wartburg Seminary towards the Twin Cities. On the way I stopped and visited with my colleague Bishop Regina Hassanally in the Southeast Minnesota Synod. Her offices are in Rochester at a home for retired nuns. An interesting place for a Lutheran synod to house its ministry. But has done so since 1988. Regina has four children who are my kids age and younger so we have born the reality of Covid school restrictions along with our pastors with school age children together. It was good to visit with her and hear how she is doing in this time. I have great respect for the dedication she and her spouse have to this work.
I then spent Thursday and Friday morning in the Twin Cities visiting colleagues and family in the Twin Cities. I enjoyed time visiting with Bishop Ann Svennengson of the Minneapolis Area Synod and Bishop Patricia Lull of the St. Paul Area Synod. I also enjoyed a dinner with a seminary classmate, the Rev. Justin Grimm who serves as DEM in St. Paul.
Also got to check in with my cousin Carl Swanson who works at an arts collaborative in St. Paul. They are doing amazing work building community and providing space for groups to meet and collaborate. A good example of what the church can, at its best, do. It was a joy to see Carl.
Sadly on Wednesday morning I also received news my Uncle Dr. Peter Hendrickson was found dead in his apartment. Peter was most recently the director of choral activities at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. He had suffered some health challenges recently but his death is a surprise and our family is taking time now to both give thanks for Peter and his tremendous gifts as well as beginning our process of grief.
Closer to home in our synod, our beloved Pastor Doris Harris has also suffered a downturn in health and is in hospital. Both Pastor Totzke and DEM Banales have visited her this week on my behalf. We pray for Doris and her family in this time and pray for God’s grace and comfort and peace.