June K. Berg and Redeemer Lutheran Church - 50 Years!
- Published on Thursday, 02 October 2008 16:31
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
This year (2008) is June’s 50th anniversary with the Redeemer Lutheran Church. June and our entire family became members of the church on "World Wide Communion Sunday" October 5th, 1958. (June, Stan, David, Daniel, Susan and Julie.) By coincidence or design, 50 years later, October 5th again falls on a Sunday. June was the main moving force behind the entire family becoming members of the Redeemer Lutheran Church at that Sunday in 1958.
In 1958, the main structure of the present church did not exist. Only the “Old Chapel” (Heritage Chapel) and the basement annex made up the church’s physical structure. Pastor Arnold Stone had just become the senior pastor on January 1st of that year. The present Sanctuary was not completed until 1960 with the first service held on Easter Sunday April 17th, 1960. This was also in the days that the church directory’s and the member’s pictures were all in black and white.
June quickly entered into the life of the rapidly growing Redeemer Lutheran Church. As I look back over June’s life, I see it as a reflection of her doing God’s work with no thought of praise, reward or hesitation. June “walked the walk.” In her humility she always made light of and ignored her own achievements.
When God some day scans the record books of our lives, he will not be impressed with mine but I know he will smile as he reads the pages in June’s book.
God will see June during the years that she served as a volunteer along with Mary Ellen Luckow, going to the Lynwood Nursing Home every Wednesday evening, having dinner and visitation with the residents.
God will see June participate in the Redeemer afternoon ministry to the Fridley Convalescent Nursing Home along with her friend Jean Lindquist and Ardelle Hirschi.
He will see June as one of the volunteers when the church provided periodic food and assistance to the Marie Sandvik Mission in downtown Minneapolis.
(Photo above right: June with Stan in the old "Heritage Chapel" for a family wedding - July 1980)
God will see June serving as a Girl Scout Leader for the Redeemer sponsored Girl Scout Troop. God will also see June respond when the Church needed a volunteer to teach third grade Sunday school. He will see June volunteer for “Meals on Wheels.” He will see her perform in the church “Bell Choir” and he will find June serving on the Redeemer Church Board. He will note that she also found the time to be active in the Church “Ruth” and later “Rebecca” Circles and took her turn in hosting meetings in our home. June frequently served as chairperson for the circles. God will see June serving as a kitchen volunteer at Redeemer. June even participated as a model in a special "Fashion Show" at one of the gatherings of the ladies at Redeemer. June was always ready and willing to try or do anything to assist the ladies at her favorite church!
God will both see and hear Dean Eberhardt as he tells how June was paired with him as an evangelism team to call on the church members and visitors. This was the time of Dr. Kennedy’s “Evangelism Explosion” program promoted by Redeemer. He will hear Dean describe June:
“I remember for June, presenting the gospel was a very natural thing for her to do. People felt comfortable and not threatened by her because she was so genuine and related effectively with them. Her love for the Lord shone through her as she conversed with the people...she had a special spirit about her and always smiling.”
God will see how June changed my life and brought me into regular church attendance without ever nagging or pressuring me. I was a person who only went to church on the special holidays. I was just too busy or had other frivolous excuses. June set a good example for me by going every Sunday alone and by always praying for me. Although I did not realize it at the time, she was using very subtle and effective psychology on me. June knew that I spent much of my time in my downstairs office. She knew that I frequently used the little bathroom next to the office. June arranged to place a mounted and attractive plaque with the quotation from John3:16 on the bathroom wall. It was so located that every time I used the bathroom, I was looking directly at the quotation. (Actual plaque below) I may not have known much about the Bible but I really knew John 3:16. (KJV):
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
(Photo above by Keith Olson)
God would see that special Sunday after June had left for church and as I was sitting in my office - how I thought about June and one of my work slogans - “first things first” - that I was really not doing this in my life. How I had a sudden deep feeling of shame in that I had for years let June go to church alone. Suddenly I arose and went to church that day and have done so regularly ever since. God will see how happy this made June and how when she later told others about this change in my life she would throw up your arms and exclaim: “and suddenly there he was.”
(Photo lower right is the large front stained glass window in the Old Chapel. - Photo by Keith Olson)
God will see how June gave me the most important verse in the Bible. Reverend Falwell in his last sermon before he died said: - “if the Bible were a financial statement, John 3:16 would be the Bottom Line.” He also said that when looking for a synopsis or summary of the bible, “John 3:16 is the Bible’s super summary” and if you understand and believe this passage you have got it all.God will see how June honored, loved and cared for her own mother. June’s mom suffered a devastating stroke resulting in the loss of speech and partial paralysis. For almost two years until her mom mercifully passed away, June faithfully drove every week from home (200 miles round trip) to see her mother in Wisconsin (spending a few days with her) to bring her cheer and to assist with her care. June’s mom’s nurses reported that her mom knew the time and day of the week that June would arrive and would be sitting by the window watching for her.
Note: When June and I were first married my faith in God had slipped. Although I was confirmed in a small Swedish Lutheran Church in Rice Lake, WI during my high school years, I had slipped away from the church during my early years following high school. i recall telling June shortly after we were married that I considered my self to be an "Agnostic". I did not say there was no God, I only said that God had not been proven to exist. June did not argue with my position. I recall her saying that she disliked the sound of the word "Agnostic"! It was June's constant example, her prayers and her inspiration, that resulted in the change in my life that caused me to accept God and Jesus as the ruler of my life and my salvation! Every morning it is my prayer that Jesus will take over my life for the day and lead and guide me!
God will see June’s grateful heart as he hears her thank him amid tears at the meal grace periods – “for all he had done for us” – even when she was deep in the shadows of Alzheimer’s.
By what strange coincidence could anyone have envisioned back in 1958, that 50 years later June would become the victim of Alzheimer’s and would lose both her memory and her personality and would require total care for her survival. That June would become a resident at the Benedictine Health Care Center at Innsbruck, a nursing home to which she had in the past frequently provided transportation for a friend Velma Farr, so that Velma could visit her father who was then a resident at this same (but different name) nursing home.
As God closes June’s book of life, I am sure he will say:
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
(Matthew 25:21 KJV)
June has now traveled so deeply into the shadows and darkness of Alzheimer’s that June’s days are almost void of any quality. To June it is like she is living in a foreign land inhabited by strangers. I pray that God will pierce the darkness and lay this message on June’s heart.
“Happy 50th anniversary June - God loves you and so do I.”
The above photo was taken at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2011 during the Candle Light Communion service. The special candle light services were at 4:00 and 10:30 PM. Senior Pastor Dave Glesne gave the Christmas Eve Message. I was present at the 10:30 PM service with my granddaughter Emily and my daughter Julie and her friend Geno. We were fortunate to be seated near the front on the right side of the sanctuary. We hope that June was with us in spirit as I know she was in memory. This candle light ceremony is an annual Redeemer Lutheran tradition at Christmas Eve. At the time of the picture all lights were out except for the Christmas tree and the individual candles held by each one in attendance. The service ended with the singing of "Silent Night" a very emotional moment. (Photo is by long time Redeemer member and friend, Keith Olson.)
For the story of June's life long love for the Lutheran Church, read the chapter in the story of June's Life, found in the "Reminiscences of a Traveling Grandmother" on this website on the top navigation strip and on the drop down menu under the label "June's Life". Also you may click on the below link:
Notes: Senior Pastor Dave Glesne used the above tribute to June as a reference when he highlighted June's history with the Redeemer Lutheran Church during June's funeral services at Redeemer Lutheran Church on Monday October 27th, 2008.
On October 23rd, 2008 June passed away after almost eleven years of an exhausting battle with Alzheimer’s. June's last three years and 8 plus months were in an Alzheimer’s facility. Her last years were at the Alzheimer’s “Villa” of the Benedictine Health Care Center of Innsbruck, New Brighton, MN. See the funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star - Tribune. It is located on the top blue navigation strip under the label: “In Memoriam”. Click on the below link::