Remembering Evelyn Johnson (1922-2018)

evelynEvelyn Ingeborg Johnson, 95, born Nov. 17, 1922, in Forestville, Conn. to Frederick L. Johnson, and Anna Paulina (Bengtson), died peacefully Friday, March 16, 2018, in her home at Harvest Hill in Lebanon, NH.  A celebration of Evelyn’s life was held at Our Savior on Friday, April 6th.  The Rev. Robert Wohlfort, Transitional Pastor, led the service.  Following reflections from Pastor Wohlfort, Evelyn’s hospice chaplain the Rev. Susan Langle, and Evelyn’s niece Lois Semrau.

I did not know Evelyn in her prime…and I heard about her of those years via apt clichés such as, “No shrinking violet was Evelyn,” and “No way was she a wallflower.”

24 hours after her death, I arrived here for the monthly men’s breakfast and the conversation was peppered with anecdotes and laughter and stories about this lovely woman:

-spirited and vocal time and presence at Church Council

-her energetic Spirit filled spirit

-her voice and fun filled manner in the choir

-her all around memorable presence

At the quilting group yesterday I learned of the coffee scoop around her neck from which she made the brew ”…that did pushups in the cup.”…an Army term.

Somehow, many years ago, she learned that a boy’s camp in Ossipee was to be sold and the Lutherans were interested.  So, she drove to the camp to check it out, was delighted with what she experienced and enjoyed Calumet on many occasions and contributed to its life and mission.

During my last visit with her I was pleasantly surprised to be with Evelyn who was freshly bathed, dressed in brightly colored pajamas and a plush robe…a stark contrast to her tiny form tucked into bed a few days earlier.

On her chair side table was a service bulletin from, I think, Augustana Lutheran Church in Houston.  The date was in the early 90s.  This opened a reminiscence that clued me in to a portion of her joyous work of consulting with congregations throughout the nation.  In Houston she was very proud of being a part of this congregation that was the first congregation of that city to integrate its membership with people of color.  Evelyn was absolutely clear that she and Augustana were simply following Jesus. Continue reading Remembering Evelyn Johnson (1922-2018)

The Friendship Initiative

In Collaboration with Christ Church at Dartmouth and the Upper Valley Working Group a person-to-person effort called The Friendship Initiative is beginning.

The Friendship Initiative” involves a volunteer or group of volunteers (a family unit, a couple, a single retiree or small group of students) reaching out to a family, couple, or single individual to provide positive support. This support requires a trip to Manchester every 4-6 weeks for personal interaction which could be in the form of a walk, teaching English, tutoring a child, helping with a resume, or simply going out for pizza. The program does not expect the volunteers to solve problems or financial issues. Financial issues are normally handled by the family’s case worker at the International Institute of New England (IINE), the entity that resettles refugees in Manchester and Nashua, NH.

Volunteers will be introduced to refugee families through Sister Irene Marie Pelland, a nun from Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, who has been working with refugees since 1985.

A glimpse into the lives of refugees in Manchester:

To find our more or offer your friendship please contact Lars Johanson or the church office.

Special Thank You from Paul and Wendy

Liese, Paul, and Wendy - IMG_2491
Liese Shewmaker, left, introduced honorees Wendy and Paul Manganiello at the 2017 UVIP’s Micah Hero celebration.

Dear OSLC Community,

Wendy and I would like to thank the members of OSLC for choosing us as the recipients of this year’s Micah award. We also are grateful to of all of you, who on a daily basis are Micah heroes, quietly carrying out acts of justice and walking humbly with your God.

When Wendy and I arrived in the Upper Valley in 1979 we were mostly concerned about my career and our young family. Fortunately we found a church home at Our Savior.

Sophia Assur
Sophia Assur (1921-2012)

It was there that we met a saintly woman, Sophia Assur.  She loved the Hebrew Scriptures and Micah was her favorite Prophet. She would lead bible studies and really made us understand the importance of working for social justice. She was constantly challenging us on matters of homelessness; food insecurity both at home and abroad; mental illness; income inequality; health care; outreach to refugees; etc.

How we develop as individuals is not only genetic, but also environmental.

Becoming empathetic and compassionate are learned traits starting with our parents, but we also are the summation of the individuals we are exposed to throughout our life. Hopefully we all will mirror those individuals who are caring and loving, seeing our God work within them.

Sophia is no longer with us; she is a Saint in heaven. Wendy and I would like to accept this award on her behalf. I don’t think we would have engaged with so many wonderful organizations in the Upper Valley that work to help those who are disadvantaged if it wasn’t for her.

Thank you all for all the work you do, please take heart and continue doing God’s work.

Below, many from OSLC attended the United Valley Interfaith Project Micah Hero celebration on November 12th.

2017-11-12 Micah Hero Celebration - Paul, Wendy and group from OSLC CROPPED