Memorial Service Set for Saturday, July 13, 2013
Professor Emerita and teacher for more than two decades of the art of preaching at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, the Rev. Dr. Susan K. Hedahl died July 7, 2013 following her retirement in 2012 and more than a year-long treatment for cancer.
Hedahl was a pioneer in the Lutheran Church, serving in varied leadership roles and as one of the Lutheran church’s first generation of women to be ordained in the Americas. “It has been a privilege knowing and serving with Dr. Hedahl for over a quarter century,” said Seminary President Michael Cooper-White, “first as pastoral colleagues in California and then here at the Seminary, where she was among our distinguished senior faculty members.”
The author of nine books and numerous scholarly publications, Hedahl was the first recipient of the distinguished Herman G. Stuempfle Chair of the Proclamation of the Word at Gettysburg Seminary. Known for initiatives within the seminary faculty, she served for several years as the editor of the Seminary Ridge Review, leading its redesign and re-launch in 1998. Other initiatives included Preaching Perspectives (sermon preparation resource sessions) and the Seminary’s Fine Arts Council.
Born October 8, 1946 in Minot, North Dakota, Susan Karen Hedahl grew up in Wilmar, Minnesota as the oldest of four children of Stanford and Marion Mosvick. Hedahl received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in 1968. She taught English as a missionary in Tanzania, East Africa from 1969-1972, after which she studied and received the Master of Divinity degree at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ordained to the Lutheran ministry in 1975, she was among the first Lutheran women pastors in this country. She served in campus and parish ministry at University Lutheran Church of Hope, Minneapolis, and with two other Minnesota congregations. While engaged in graduate study for her Ph.D. in rhetoric and homiletics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, Hedahl served eleven Lutheran congregations as interim pastor. From 1992 until her retirement in 2012, she taught preaching at Gettysburg Seminary, in Gettysburg, Penna., serving as the first ordained Lutheran woman in the faculty.
“Professor Hedahl died as she lived,” said the Rev. Dr. Robin Steinke, Dean of the Seminary, “proclaiming God’s promise of presence through her time of trial and love for all eternity.”
As a faculty member at Gettysburg, she has been appreciated for her strong leadership in women’s issues, helping the Church become more inclusive, and heeding the call to social justice. Hedahl was committed to issues related to the Middle East, in particular Palestine, and travelled there periodically. Her interests included language study – Swahili and Arabic, and as a voracious reader, she kept up a discipline of reviewing books in a personal blog. She studied classical guitar in later years with Dr. James Hontz.
President Cooper-White added: “She found particular joy, as word spread of her cancer diagnosis, in hearing from so many former students who expressed appreciation for her mentoring. The final stage of her life’s journey this past year, during which she gracefully witnessed to her deep and abiding faith in God’s promises, is an inspiration to us all.”
A memorial service will be held for her at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 13 at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 30 Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg. Hedahl is survived by her mother Marion Mosvick, her sisters Diane Jacoby and Linda Mosvick, and a brother James Mosvick and their families. The family will receive visitors at the church beginning at 10:00 a.m. Condolences can be sent to the family c/o Diane Jacoby, 3011 Chatsworth Street North, Roseville, MN 55113. Memorial gifts can be made to Operation Bootstrap Africa, 625 Fourth Ave. S., Suite 110, Minneapolis, MN 55415.