Readers Share Their Thoughts

Post a Comment » Written on May 28th, 2009     
Filed under: News
By Don Meyer

CHICAGO, IL (May 28, 2009) – Hardly a week goes by that we do not receive a few comments from readers on stories published as part of the Covenant online news report.

We will share from time to time some of those responses generated through the “comments” link attached to each published story. This kind of feedback is very helpful to our Covenant News Service staff as we seek to identify and publish stories of great interest to a broad spectrum of online readers of this report.

Following are comments relating to recently published stories, edited in some cases for length. To read a particular story of interest, click on the headline.

Funeral Service, Visitation Set for Norbert E. Johnson

Jeffrey Jones of Biwabik, MN, writes: Norbert was a wonderful man and pastor. My wife, Heather, and I attended one of his couple’s retreats when he was at North Park Covenant Church in the late 1980s. We were contemplating marriage and he ended up reading scripture at our wedding. We still have the book they gave us for the wedding – The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis. God’s peace to the Johnson family!

Marilyn Sandberg Grenat
of Lafayette, IN, writes: This saddens us greatly. This was one of our dearest pastor friends since teen-age years. He came to Lafayette fresh out of North Park Theological Seminary to be our pastor when we were teens and influenced our lives tremendously. We have remained friends all through the years and loved him and Elaine. As I lived across the street, I babysat their children – one (Don) also became our pastor. We will miss him and send our condolences to the entire family. What a wonderful reunion he will have with all our Christian brothers and sisters. Thank you, Norbert, for being such a wonderful Christian servant for our Lord and a friend to so many parishioners.

Susan Douglass Sandstrom of Chicago, IL, writes: Pastor Norbert was our pastor at North Park Covenant Church when my father, Bernard Douglass, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Norbert came to visit many times. He had no predetermined agenda – he walked all over the neighborhood with Bernie. Before he left, while standing in the front hall, he suggested that they have a word of prayer before he was to leave. My precious dad folded his hands in front of his chest and Norbert placed his hands over Bernie’s hands and prayed a short prayer. When he looked up, huge tears were streaming down my dad’s face. Though Pastor Norbert was nearing retirement, he told me that was one of the most powerful moments of ministry in his entire life. Thanks be to God for the
ministry of this sensitive, loving, faithful pastor!

Sue Peterson of Mexico City, Mexico, writes: I give thanks to God for the life of Pastor Norbert Johnson! God used him to help our family grow in our relationship to Christ. His influence on the life of my family while he served at my home church, First Covenant Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, was felt for many years. Under his ministry, my mom decided to become a member and my dad served as a deacon and head deacon. His campaign to place a children’s Bible in each home as well as Little Visits with God enabled us to have family devotions daily while I grew up. He was my confirmation pastor – the last class before he left for the pastorate in Omaha. When I was nine years old, I responded to an altar call that he gave one Sunday morning to give witness to the fact that I had Jesus in my heart. My parents enjoyed many years of Bible study and fellowship with Norbert and Elaine in their Koininia group. Our family friendship continued over the years, and most recently my folks were their “across the hall neighbors” at Covenant Village in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Norbert loved the Lord, served him and others faithfully, and preached the Scriptures consistently in word and deed. Peace be to his memory and God’s grace to his family.

Susan Knight of Middletown, CT, writes: Norbert, as we called him, was the pastor at North Park Covenant Church when I began the parish nurse program there. He was a wonderful support for this new program (1989) and a beloved pastor to staff and congregation. Peace be to his memory.

Covenanters Affected by Santa Barbara Fire

Dale Wittman of Lemon Grove, CA, writes: I am a graduate of Westmont College and used to attend Montecito Covenant Church, so have a high interest in the area.

North Park Students Raise $15,000 for Mexico Ministry

Nancy Reed of Chicago, IL, writes: I wept when I read how God met this need. Praise the Lord!

North Park Seminary Student Receives Dusty Larson Award

Cang Ring of Yangon, South China, writes: This story is a helpful for us.

This Garden Grows More Than Produce

Chad McDaniel of Mount Vernon, WA, writes: Thank you so much for covering this story. The work Mr. Andy does with the Children of the Valley students is amazing! His patience is inspirational.

Diane Stevenson of Berlin, CT, writes: Thanks for the wonderful story.

Secrets to Long Life: Trust God, Sing, Keep Smiling

Elaine Clauson of Williams Bay, WI, writes: This is a wonderful story!

Betty Olson of Glenview, IL, writes: I loved this story, especially because I have the honor of knowing Mabel Ball. I’m surprised she didn’t share her story of wanting and getting a racecar ride on her birthday – I think it may have been her 95th! Shows she practices her “think young” philosophy.

Frances Christiansen
of Turlock, CA, writes: Thank you for the inspiring story.

Linda Forbes of Chicago, IL, writes: I just love this article. I would like to hear about other centenarians. Isn’t it great that just even hearing stories about folks like this can brighten a day.

Mexico Pastors Retreat Cancelled Due to Flu Concerns

Cheryl Bengtson of Muskegon, MI, writes: Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters in Mexico.

Weekend Reunion for North Park Academy Alumi

Betty Honold of Iron River, MI, writes: Sounds like a wonderful time together. I would have loved to attend!

‘Shoot-Out’ Helps Build Sense of Community Among Men

Roger Turner of Bedford, NH, writes: Fantastic! Yes, some will disapprove of shooting guns, but the church simply isn’t addressing ways to reach out to men. This event does. Mr. Ritter, keep up the good work!

Tom McCullough of Dennis, MA, writes: I cannot imagine what prompted the Covenant to tout playing with guns as an effective outreach program for men. I’m in no position to question what is appropriate for the congregation in Lafayette, but I do question the denomination’s communications staff selecting that gun-focused effort as a highlight of what works, and thereby an endorsement of what others should try.

Judith McCullough of Dennis, MA, writes: As a pastor who has pastored an urban church and also led numerous urban retreats, the article, which talks about a “shootout” as outreach for Christ, was disheartening. Living in the heart of Boston for many years, I stood alongside our Cape Verdean neighbors who saw their young son killed by a gun in the street. I am aware that guns are popular with some people. But to use these activities as the center of the gospel message of the love and grace of Jesus Christ is not where I think we ought to be as a church. I would encourage us all to think critically about the ways we share the gospel with others.

Marjorie Gardinier of Milton, MA, writes: As a member of an urban church, this article makes me sick at heart. To read that “we love shooting” – near the anniversary of Columbine – shows a real lack of sensitivity and disregard for the very real problems around firearms in this country. The brother of one of our church members was shot and killed a few months ago in Boston. Our church is working hard with youth to overcome this mentality – this article undermines that work.

Covenant Churches Confront Human Trafficking

John Tanagho of Chicago, IL, writes: Thank you so much for updating us on what Covenant churches are doing to confront trafficking. It really takes churches across our country and our world to take concrete and practical action, like these two churches, to make a significant impact against human trafficking. Thank you for this article!

Jay Fast of Attleboro, MA, writes: Thanks for raising awareness of what Covenanters are doing to advocate for women caught in this oppressive evil. I’m a Covenant pastor who lives in Attleboro, just a few miles from Rhode Island. I hope the problems in Rhode Island will capture local and national attention so that politicians are forced to take action and make prostitution illegal indoors. Other than a few counties in Nevada, this state stands alone in allowing prostitution behind closed doors. Multiple studies have shown that where such brothels flourish, so does human sex trafficking. Rhode Island has become a safe haven for such activity.

Kerman Church Donates Food to Drought-Ravaged Area

Kathy Melton
of Murphys, CA, writes: After just returning from the Pacific Southwest Conference annual meeting, this article was a summary of the theme this year: “Who is my neighbor?” This is a reflection of doing the love of God and serving with a God-centered heart. Continue to work those fields and receive the harvest.

Two Congregations Now Share More Than a Building

David Guertin of Siren, WI, writes: I am so thrilled to hear about the progress these two wonderful congregations are making in living out their faith together. I had the privilege of being on the worship team that helped with the start of Iglesia del Pacto Grace, and I am delighted that God continues to work in that neighborhood.

Group Headed to China for Cross-Cultural Visit

Margarita Beck of Jackson, TN, writes: This story is certainly intriguing, leaving the reader anxious to know more about China, its people, and their customs (culture). It also draws one to someday go to China to personally see and experience these things.

Anti-Violence Rally Promotes Unity, Understanding

Idalia Ambriz Ramirez of Houston, TX, writes: I am proud of my nephew, Marco Ambriz, and the impact that his life is having in serving the communities in Oakland through the mighty hand of God. May the Lord comfort the hearts of the families and friends of these fallen officers.

Congo Fighting Not in Area of CEUM Ministries

Shawn Israels
of Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, writes: The work that Mr. and Mrs. Anderson are doing in Africa is thought evoking. I am an African, and to read of the work your ministry is doing is motivational. Thank God for ministries such as yours, to have the compassion and desire to see Africa change for his purpose.

North Park Offers Online Church Administration Course

Paresh Pandya of Bakersfield, CA, writes: This is a nice course.

Older Stories

Occasionally we receive comments about stories published some time ago. Most often, readers come across them while topically perusing search engines or when visiting the online Covenant News Archive maintained by Covenant News Service. We appreciate reader comments at any time about any story that has appeared as part of our online Covenant news report.

CIPE Launches Six-Week Bible School in Spain

Masih Naseer of Sargodha, Pakistan, writes: This is big work, and God bless Mr. Rob and his wife – they are doing very good work. God bless you and keep you well. My prayers are always with you.

Co-Pastoring: How Three Churches Have Made It Work

Roy and Daphney Washington of Joliet, IL, write: If two men can pastor together, why do people have a problem with a husband and a wife who are told to become one flesh in God’s word as co-pastors?

Cartoons and Ministry – An Unusual Mix of Callings

Trish Rundell of Cortland, NY, writes: I enjoyed reading this story as I am the lucky owner of two of Mr. Palmquist’s “chalk talk” drawings. One is of Lucy and Linus and the other is the final drawing he did during the sermon. It’s of a house surrounded by snow with the father walking up the front walk to the brightly lit house. We went to this “chalk talk” between 1965 and 1970. I was in elementary school, but have a clear memory of the drawing of this picture. I just wanted to let you know that some of Mr. Palmquist’s artwork is still gracing homes.

COVENANT NEWSWIRE: To make certain not to miss a single story, sign up for the free Covenant Newswire headline news report at Covenant Newswire.

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