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-- Alumni --

From Mayfest dancer to international church consultant: The long and satisfying road

B Y   R E V .   D A V I D   A N D E R S O N   ' 7 3 ,   ' 7 5

Part of David Anderson's '73, '75 (far right) trip to Scandinavia included a stop in Sweden and discussions with the Lund diocese.

Factors that led up to my work with the Church of Norway and the Church of Sweden began rather inconspicuously during the spring of 1971. I was finishing my first year as a Mayfest dancer and had learned that our advisor, Auden Toven, had a particular problem on his hands. It seemed a disproportionate number of PLU coeds were taking the Norwegian language class from this "very eligible" bachelor. Upon hearing of Toven's plight, I offered to help him balance the odds and take his Norwegian class in the fall. So began my contact with the Norwegian language and culture that would shape my interests and activities for decades to come.
      I eventually attended Menighetsfakultetet, a Lutheran seminary in Oslo, Norway, and since then have maintained contact with pastors and other friends closely associated with the Church of Norway. Four times since 1992 I have been invited to work with the Lutheran church in Norway relating to issues of faith, families and congregations.
      The last trip was by far the most significant.
      In May, Dick Hardel, executive director of the Youth and Family Institute of Augsburg College, and I (as the institute's program director) gave the keynote address at a church conference in Granavolden, Norway. Entitled "Family and Congregation Hand in Hand: A Strategic Conference on the Family," the conference reflected the current emphasis in Norway to work more closely with families to nurture faith life in the home.
      The primary goal of the gathering of nearly 30 leaders was to establish a long-term relationship with the Youth and Family Institute of Augsburg College in order to help the Church of Norway further develop their ministry with families.
      According to Augsburg President Bill Frame, former vice president for finance and operations at PLU, "The work of the institute brings the college into direct service to the church, building a powerful prop under our curricular pursuit of the dialogue of faith and reason.
      "The movement of partnering home and congregation has been growing in the United States since it was first piloted by the Youth and Family Institute in 1996. People are looking for a faith that makes a difference in their lives, and their home life is of central concern. Congregations are helping individuals and entire households link their faith lives with their daily lives, and it is this cooperation that is gaining the attention of Lutheran churches throughout the world.
      My trip to Norway also opened doors to meaningful contacts in Sweden, where I gave three lectures to seminary students at the pastoral institute. My itinerary also included discussions with leadership from the Lund diocese and staff from two congregations.
      It is amazing how a decision initially motivated by one passion in the spring of 1971 would lead to the development of a whole set of other passions in subsequent years. I am deeply indebted to a multitude of experiences at PLU that eventually led me to Norway, Sweden and a host of people deeply committed to a strong Lutheran and Christian witness around the world.
      David '73, '75 and Gloria Anderson '75 have a daughter, Kirsten, who is a sophomore at PLU.

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