Letter from Pastor Denise

Dear Ones,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and those you love and to our enemies too!

2018 was a challenging year for the Gundersen’s. We sold our house, moved to a condo, talked about returning to Maine, reviewed our finances, consulted with a spiritual director, our Bishop, financial professionals and the Lord Almighty. It was a hard decision for me to relocate again. But after our vacation in Maine, it is clear to me it’s time to go home to Maine. I’ve been away for almost 30 years. So for Christmas God is giving in me and Gundy the desire of our hearts — a home in Maine. Gundy wants to be near the ocean again. Portland is very much like his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts and we will be in the midst of my family.

I will retire on December 31. In January we will be move to 11 O’Brion St. Portland, Maine 04101. We are happy to have found a first floor apartment within a few blocks from Casco Bay, near a park and a beach. It’s large by Portland standards, but it means down sizing again. We have much to give away before we leave. I thank you for the opportunity to serve you for these last five years.

Though parish ministry is a challenging arrangement, together we raised funds to put an upgraded roof on St. John LC and new siding on Prince of Peace LC; supported CROP Walk; sent youth to servant week every year; were leaders in LOAF’s Vacation Bible School, Community worship and outreach; baptized Amy Clark’s five sons, Bill Gore’s three grandchildren and many others. We tackled some of the hardest tasks: adopted new constitutions that were approved by synod council and evaluated our worship experiences, blended our worship styles and re-united Prince of Peace in one service, created a summer/winter worship schedule. We tackled personal matters too: we made, blessed and distributed dozens and dozens of prayer shawls; studied the Bible and prayed together; and helped one another through hospitalizations, recoveries and grief. God was among us and we reflected his goodness. Blessed be God forever.

Gundy and I especially thank you for your kindness and compassion for us when our son, Erik, passed. We will treasure many fond memories of you and hope we will be long-distance friends.

Bishop Allende and the synod staff will be guiding the councils through your transition. May God give you the desires of your hearts and assist you as ever to do the good things He has prepared for you to do.

In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Denise