Dear Risen Lord disciples:
Last week, my 90 year-old father got his second Covid shot – and once again I was struck by the friendly, enthusiastic (almost giddy!) medical staff at Methodist Hospital downtown. They have clearly sacrificed and endured much this past year, so their passion for getting us all back on track to healing and wholeness can be understood.
Also last week, on February 25th, the church calendar commemorated Elizabeth Fedde, deaconess, who died on that day in 1921. Fedde was born on Christmas Day in Feda, near the southern coast of Norway. The daughter of a sea captain, she trained as a deaconess at the Lovisenberg Deaconess House in Christiania (now Oslo). Her early career was spent in northern Norway, where she helped establish a medical house in Tromsø, living and working under harsh conditions.
On Christmas Day in 1882, Sister Elizabeth received a letter from her brother-in-law, inviting her to set up a ministry for Norwegian seaman in New York City. After arriving in America in 1883, she helped found the Norwegian Relief Society. In 1885, she opened the Deaconess House in Brooklyn and a nine-bed hospital that would eventually become the Lutheran Medical Center of Brooklyn. Her ministry took her to the midwest, where she established the Deaconess House and Hospital of the Lutheran Free Church in Minneapolis. She also helped Pastor Andreas Mortensen plan hospitals in Chicago (what is now Advocate Lutheran General Hospital) and in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Fedde returned to Norway in 1895, marrying a suitor from before her missionary days, Ole Slettebo. She died 100 years ago today, leaving behind a legacy of serving others in the name of Christ and shaping both the church and medical community in our country. I ask you to join me in prayers of thanksgiving to God for all of our contemporary “Feddes” who have served us so selflessly this past year.
“So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15
Be well, friends. You are loved.
Pastor Dave Schreiber
PS: For those who may be interested in joining me in 2022, I do have a few remaining open spots on both tours featuring the Oberammergau Passion Play. Call, email or see these: For June 2022 “Alpine Explorer with the Glacier Express Train” go to https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/826495 For September 2022 “Germany’s Cultural Cities and the Romantic Road” go to https://gateway.gocollette.com/link/851688