Pauline Lindquist’s life is a study in contrasts, but she has come to know one thing that gives her life focus: Mission is all-important.
“Mission is our work,” she says. “Our life aim is to preach the word, wherever.”
As the young wife of a pastor ordained in 1950, she might have led a conventional life except, she confesses, “I didn’t type; I didn’t play the organ. But I’ve always taught Bible study.”
She also had a nursing degree and was married to a man who was more adventurous than he appeared on the surface.
In their early years of ministry, Pauline and her husband, Dean, served Lutheran congregations in Kansas; a small Canadian town across the border from International Falls, Minn.; Pico Rivera, Calif. (central Los Angeles area); and the redwood coast of Northern California.
Then, in the widest swing to date of the ministry pendulum, they spent a year in Sweden, and less than 10 years later, returned for another four years.
Sweden and Africa
In 1984, Dean was contacted by the bishop of Stockholm, a man educated and ordained in America. Dean was urged to accept a call to the United Congregation, a diverse and growing group that met at an odd time in a small corner of the largest church in Stockholm.
The congregation was composed of those who were English-speakers from around the world and came to include many African ambassadors and their children from Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania.
Dean and Pauline were delighted to say yes.
“My big surprise,” Pauline says, “was that these little children — some of them as young as 3, spoke more than one language. They each had a tribal language, but they also spoke Swahili, Swedish and English. And they automatically knew which language to use with which person.” She felt blessed by the experience, which broadened her outlook to include the whole world.
Now a widow, Pauline is an active member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Eureka, Calif. She attends three Bible studies per week, two Lutheran and one ecumenical. Her passion is strongly felt in her congregation, where she encourages giving a high percentage of benevolence to mission. She is proud that Immanuel “has an eye out for missions.”
Modest by nature, she downplays her particular influence, but those who know her can attest that she is truly “a light to the nations.”
Jeri Gray-Reneberg is an ELCA pastor serving St. Francis’ Episcopal Church in Fortuna, Calif. Ordained in 1987, she has significant experience working with survivors of domestic violence and in ecumenical situations.