Archive for February, 2011


February 24, 2011

After almost 41 years in ministry, the last 23 at Our Savior’s in West Salem, I am retiring from full-time active ministry at the end of February.  My last services will be on February 26 & 27.  My retirement  also means that Mary Jo will retire from her work as director of music at Our Savior’s.  The congregation plans festive services with lots of music this weekend.  Mary Jo will continue  as teacher of elementary music at Bangor Elementary at this time.

God has blessed us with the opportunity to serve in three different parishes.  Each of them has offered unique opportunities for ministry, and we have grown in each one.  We have known the blessing of shared ministry with great staff members and wonderful leaders in each congregation. We look back on these years with gratitude.  God is good.

Our plans for now are to stay in the area.  We hope to have the opportunity to spend more time with family.  In these last weeks we have found that such times are fragile and fleeting. but important to us.  We also continue to look for other ways we can continue to serve God’s mission in the world.  God will provide.


February 19, 2011

Oren and Ahna Bersagel-Briese posted this on their continuing blog.  We are with them in these days.

Family and Friends-

It is with tremendous sadness and grief that I write this message to tell you that Liam passed away this morning due to complications from his brain injury. He has struggled hard since he was born on December 19, and now he no longer has to struggle at all.

The gift that we have experienced of having him with us for as long as we did will be forever cherished and foremost in our hearts. He has taught us so much, and will continue those teachings for a long time to come.

Ahna, Ezra and I would like to thank each of you for the love, support, thoughts, prayers, and help that you have given to us thus far. There is no way possible that we could have been able to be there for each other in the way that we did without what you gave to us.

We are in the process of planning a private funeral service and a public open-house for either Monday or Tuesday. Updated information will be posted to the blog.

All our love,
Oren, Ahna, and Ezra


February 1, 2011

Who knew that grandchildren could be so much fun and their struggles so much heartbreak?


Matea with her successful eye surgery.  At 8 weeks smiles at us as we hold her and talk to her.

Ezra with his giggle, his acceptance of his nanna and poppop while Mommy and Daddy stay at the hospital, his irrepressible energy, and his sweet manners (thanks, welcome, please) and soft touch with Matea.

Nora who is big sister to her cousin, puts up with his antics, is wise beyond her years, is instigator of the giggles, and full of life and knowledge.  She is smart, full of jokes, and sensitive.

Isaac who read us a book over the phone last night about the library.  A major accomplishment for this kindergartner who is full of energy, loves to dance and laughs.

Johnathan who is by turns serious and fun-loving,  who reads everything and knows everything, who is talented in music and theater and athletics, and as a Vikings fan, probably won’t root for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.


And Liam, who is loved just as dearly as the others, who hovers between life and death, who will have a place always in our hearts as we wonder what gifts God had given him to bring into our lives, gifts that we will not know.

Six grandchildren–loved, fretted over, and amazed by.  We give thanks to God for them and put each of them daily in God’s hands.