Paul Erickson Speaks of ‘Spiritual Perseverance’

Post a Comment » Written on February 5th, 2007     
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ROSEVILLE, MN (February 5, 2007) – Former Northwest Conference Superintendent Paul Erickson was nearly killed last March when a van struck his bicycle, but on Sunday, he spoke to the Roseville Covenant Church on the importance of spiritual perseverance.

Erickson addressed the congregation for five minutes following Pastor Rick Carlson’s sermon, “Go: Whoever, Whenever, Whatever,” based on Jeremiah 1:7: But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say I am only a boy; for you shall go to all to whom I send you and you shall speak whatever I command you. (NRSV)

EricksonsErickson’s message was videotaped for the first service, but he spoke in person during the second service. “He said, ‘none of us are too young or too old – or too anything – not to do ministry. That’s not an excuse,’ ” Associate Pastor Sandy Norris says. He did not mention the accident specifically.

Erickson and his wife, Joan, are moving to Carol Stream, Illinois, where they can be closer to two of their children, and where he can continue his physical rehabilitation. Joan will live in their new home there until Erickson, who is able to use a wheelchair, but only walk short distances, is strong enough to join her, Carlson says.

“Paul has been going through rigorous physical and occupational therapy,” Carlson says. “His courage and determination have brought him a long way back from the precipice of what, at one point, seemed like certain death.” The pastor adds, “Joan has stayed by his side through all the long days of hard work and has been a rock to lean on.”

Except for continued physical weakness, Erickson is “very much himself,” says Carlson. “He has a good grasp on his current situation and the challenges he is facing. He is articulate, has a good sense of humor, and loves to philosophize about almost any subject.”

Carlson adds that Erickson’s “memory is sharp,” but that he doesn’t remember the accident or the period of time several weeks afterwards. “People who have visited him have been amazed at his ability to remember their names and various events that they shared together.”

Erickson was injured last March when struck by a van while bicycling with Joan and her sister on Sanibel Island in Florida. He served as superintendent from 1995 to 2003. He was ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church in 1968 and has pastored churches primarily in the West and Midwest.

During the service at Roseville on Sunday, the congregation sang Carlson’s arrangement of “The Lord Bless You” as part of the farewell. “It was very meaningful to the congregation yesterday to bless Paul and Joan on this next chapter of life,” Norris says.

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