Pastor Owen Christianson to Preside October 18-19

Owen Christianson

Pastor Owen Christianson will serve as Good Shepherd’s supply pastor for services of Holy Communion on Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19. A native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and a Luther College graduate, Pastor Owen and his wife Linda (Norma Refsal’s sister) retired in Decorah six years ago. He received a M.Div. degree from Luther Seminary, was ordained in 1976, and served as a pastor in what became the ELCA; all his calls were in Northern Minnesota. The Christiansons are parents of two grown children, and grandparents to identical twin boys who are their pride and joy.

In his ministry, Pr. Owen was a bridge-builder. For two decades his was a ministry of healing and reconciliation in a once strife-torn parish. Greatly influenced by Professor Orlando “Pip” Qualley, he’s kept up his Greek and Hebrew through the decades. (In his military service in the late Sixties he was a Russian linguist in the Army stationed at a top secret border site in the then West Germany.)

Throughout his ministry he’d also done many Fifth Steps with those living with addictions and worked with Prison Ministries. Congregations he’d served spoke of, in effect, the wide umbrella he set up. Parishioners of varying backgrounds and viewpoints, including those who had been alienated from the Church, struggling skeptics, those with developmental or mental health issues, or those who had suffered from crime, marginalization or trauma, by their own admission sensed a ministry that welcomed and equipped ALL sorts and conditions of persons.   For twelve years he served on the Board of Directors at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, eventually becoming chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, and serving on the Executive Council.

Devoted members of First Lutheran Church in Decorah, Owen and Linda love living here in Decorah. You may know him as “the guy on the bike;” his bike became their second car upon retirement. In their everyday lives, he and Linda aim to stay fit in the variety of ways that Decorah offers. They both are Parish Visitors at the Barthell Eastern Star Home for FLC. He’s greatly enjoyed the experience of preaching and presiding at neighboring churches including their closest neighbor: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.