Class of ’39
Dear Family and Friends,
In our last letter you will remember that I mentioned the sadness that Mim and I were experiencing in the death of a long-time friend, Sybil (Londeen) Wersell ’37. Now, just a few weeks later, we are grieving the passing of a former Edina neighbor and wonderful friend, Eleanor Andersen.
Eleanor’s husband, Earl, who preceded her in death by 11 years, was chairman of the Call Committee which brought me to Normandale as senior pastor back in 1976. The Andersens have one daughter, Mary Ellen, who was characterized by our Carol (Manfred) Sack ’72 as “the closest thing to a sister that I will ever have.” It was wonderful─more than wonderful but actually providential─that Carol and Jim had a good visit with Eleanor just a few days before Eleanor died. Mary Ellen told us how much that visit meant to her mother and we also know how much it meant to Carol and Jim.
Incidentally, not all of you may be aware that Eleanor’s father was the Rev. Dr. P. O. Bersell, the esteemed president of the Augustana Synod prior to its merger with other Lutheran bodies to form the Lutheran Church in America.
We were so glad that we could attend Eleanor’s Memorial Service at Normandale on Saturday afternoon. It was appropriate that since Normandale does not yet have a new senior pastor the service should be conducted by Pastor Charles Humphrey, our interim visitation pastor, since he had been so faithful in ministering to Eleanor during her final illness. He had a marvelous message─very personal and very Scriptural. I was so glad that I had a chance to visit with Pastor Humphrey on Sunday morning and to tell him how much I appreciated his message. The music at the memorial service was also inspiring─with Jack Swanson at the organ and with a close friend of the Andersens, Bryan Johnson, as soloist. It was so good to visit with many friends during the social (and coffee) hour after the service. Mim was involved as a “coffee pourer” at that time, along with Marie Carlson, widow of Normandale’s founding pastor, Don Carlson.
Normandale is stressing missions during the month of January. We mentioned in our last letter that Carol and Jim were very much involved in the worship and seminar hours during the first Sunday of the month. On Sunday Jan.17th, the preacher was our assistant organist, Lorna Woltoff, who had participated with other members of the congregation in a recent mission trip to Peru. She had an excellent message.
You are hearing on TV and reading in the daily press so much about the earthquake in Haiti that you don’t need any more information about this tragedy from me. I’ll only mention that for many years Lutheran World Relief has been very active in Haiti and we are so glad that we can join other Normandalites in making a monetary gift to LWR to help minister to the suffering people in that land.
One afternoon this winter, a friend and I rode the Summit bus to St. Paul to see some winter carvings created as part of the Winter Carnival in that city. First we went to Rice Park in downtown St. Paul to see some wonderful ice carvings and then on to the State Fair Grounds to see some snow carving─all beautifully done. The best part of it was that we didn’t even have to get out of the bus to see these beautiful creations; our driver found a way to get so close to the carvings that we could enjoy the sight of them right from the windows of the bus. Wonderful!
What made that especially nice was that the weather had really been bitterly cold in January─a far cry from the unseasonably warm weather we enjoyed in December. We had day after day of sub-zero weather and sometimes it was accompanied by strong winds which made the temps feel like it was 20 below zero. The promise is for warmer days ahead.
The February issue of The Lutheran magazine featured on pages 38-39 a wonderful write-up of Carol's harp ministry in Japan. If you don’t have access to this magazine I have made some copies of the article about Carol and her ministry in Tokyo which I will be glad to send to you. Let me know. Incidentally, Pastor Howard in his sermon last Sunday called attention to this article and encouraged Normandalites to read it. He has had personal reasons to be aware of the effectiveness of Jim and Carol's ministry in Japan because a few years ago he traveled to Tokyo and spent some time with them and saw with his own eyes the effectiveness of their witness.
Some more wonderful Summit Place bus trips─back again to St. Paul’s Landmark Center to hear a remarkable performance by some very gifted pianists and a fine cello player. The applause at the end of their program in the form of a standing ovation which must have lasted at least five minutes was incredible. Then another kind of trip─this time by the bus to Monticello, about 45 minutes west of our place, where along the banks of the Mississippi River we saw at least a thousand trumpeter swans floating in the river. The sound of their trumpeting was something to hear. We enjoyed this experience so much we returned to the same place with our friend Ralph Peterson a week later to enjoy the experience all over again. This time there were less than 500 swans and we understand that they fly to another nesting place for the months of March through November. We were so glad that Dave and Chris and their family also got to see and hear the swans before they began their migration.
Speaking of Ralph, we are just thrilled that he is joining Normandale Church in March 14th. It’s so good to have him at our side at Sunday morning services. Another good friend who is joining us in our pew almost every Sunday is Andrea Wersell ’69. We hope that she will see fit to join our congregation before long. As I have mentioned in a previous Family/Friends letter, her father, the Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Wersell ’38, was instrumental during the days he served on the Minnesota Synod staff in the organization of Normandale Church back in the year 1950.
Still no word on who our new Senior Pastor will be. In the meantime we are getting along fine with Pastor Dale Howard and a contingency of part-time interim pastors, both men and women.
It was so much fun having our kids, Mark and Julie and Dave, Chris, Janelle and Jenna as our guests for dinner on Sunday, March 7. We ate in the Summit Private Dining Room after which the clan came up for a good visit in our apartment.
It’s always good to get a call from [son] Peter ’66. He told about the marvelous experience he and Jean (Thompson ’68) will enjoy at the end of March sailing the Caribbean in their own boat as far as St. Thomas Island. He is obviously enjoying his retirement very much. Jean is still doing some substitute teaching as the occasion requires.
Weather report: For the last several weeks the weather has been very warm; one day it actually hit 64— an all-time record for that day and the snow is practically gone. There is still fear that there may be serious flooding in the Fargo area and even here along the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in the Twin Cities area. The good folks in the Fargo area are making one million sandbags to have on hand in case the rivers up there overflow their banks.
Another great bus trip─this time to Stillwater. We followed the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers which were at their crest with acres and acres of land under water and many bridges closed. That was interesting to see. Fortunately, the forecast is for no more precipitation and the flooding will soon be at an end. Stillwater is a fascinating city with hundreds of homes built 100 or more years ago and still in great shape.
WONDERFUL NEWS! We just got a call from Carol and Jim which informed us that they will be flying to Minnesota on April 24th for a five-day stay! We are just thrilled! We’ll tell you all about their visit in our next letter. Bet you can hardly wait.
God’s peace and our love to you all
Carl and Mim(Peterson) Manfred
1939 Co-class Agents
Gustavus Announces Major Building Projects
At its Monday, Jan. 25 meeting, the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with three major building projects. The College will erect a new 125,000 square foot academic building with a large 3-story atrium at the center providing natural light to many of the spaces. It will qualify for a “gold LEED” qualification as a green building. This will develop a mall extending west from its iconic Christ Chapel. It will house the largest departments on campus (economics and management, psychology, and communications). Also, plans are under way to renovate A. H. Anderson Social Science Building. Construction timelines for the projects are not yet finalized, but the College expects to break ground on the new academic building late this spring.
The effort is a significant early implementation step of Commission Gustavus 150, an innovative, constituent-based strategic planning process that has engaged hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders over the past year. “These projects will greatly enhance learning and teaching, student recruitment, and institutional advancement for many years to come,” said President Jack R. Ohle.
Alumnus, Kurt Elling ’89, Wins Grammy Award
Kurt Elling, a 1989 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, took home his first Grammy Award Sunday, Jan. 31 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Elling won the “Best Jazz Vocal Album” category for his album Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman. This year marked the ninth time Elling was nominated for a Grammy. Elling typically performs annually at Gustavus and did so most recently on Oct. 10, 2009 in Jussi Björling Recital Hall. He has also had the distinct honor to perform in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and their 350 guests at the White House State Dinner on Nov. 24, 2009.
Wind Orchestra Tour
The Gustavus Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Douglas Nimmo, has returned from a 15-day concert tour through Germany, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary and Austria. The Choir of Christ Chapel will be traveling to the Phoenix/Tucson area this spring. On April 15 they will be at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Sun City West, April 16 at All Saints Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Phoenix, and on April 17 at Lord of Grace Lutheran Church in Tucson. For other campus news please check the website at www.Gustavus.edu.
Applications for next year are ahead of where they were last year at this time which makes Mark Anderson ’66, the director of admission, very happy. We graduated two very large classes in the last two years so we need to have somewhat larger classes in order to maintain our enrollment at about 2,500. Mark Anderson will retire at the end of the academic year so a search is going on to replace him. Gustavus has had only three directors of admission since 1950 (Howard Holcomb ’49, Owen Sammelson ’58, and Mark Anderson ’66) which is quite an amazing track record.
“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast
Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker. All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard. Cost is $10 at the door. Upcoming speaker: Virgil Jones, director of multi-cultural programs.
- Apr. 10 – Gustavus Jazz Lab Band Home Concert
- Apr. 11 – Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Home Concert
- Apr. 22 – New York Chapter Event – The Core Club
- Apr. 23 – Choir of Christ Chapel Home Concert
- Apr. 25 – Boston Chapter Event - Bay Back Hotel
- Apr. 28 – MayDay! Peace Conference
- May 1 – Gustavus Choir Home Concert