Meet Pastor Dan
Pastor Dan Forsgren and his family arrived in North Idaho October, 2014. Dan and Sarah have been married for 18 years, and have three children: Donny (16), Karis (12), and William (10).
Leading this Coeur d'Alene congregation includes Sunday morning messages to our children, and all manner of faith formation, including the occasional stint as a Christmas extra!
What a year! September would normally see a lot of changes. Summer ending and kids going back to school; schedules adjusting for the season. The church seems to follow the school year in a number of ways, especially with regards to programming. We normally see an uptick in attendance as folks shift both mentally and physically back from the summer mode into… well, into whatever we call the rest of the year.
Things are different this year though. With the onset of Covid-19 our world as we knew it has been turned upside down. Even the start of school has been turned around with new guidelines, policies and procedures in place, the need to offer a more widespread online option. The beginning of the school year is not bringing us back to “normal” or anything like it; it is its own beast altogether.
Have you noticed how everything that is going on is affecting people? Obviously, as with any big issue facing our community, both globally and locally, people have strong feelings. I’m sure you’ve seen and heard people you agree with make arguments and that you’ve seen and heard people you disagree with make arguments. Sometimes these arguments are well thought out and informative, and other times they can seem like an endless rant about the speaker’s distrust of another person’s perspective, or simply their dislike of an opinion that differs from their own.
Emotions often run high, and I have, as I am sure you have as well, witnessed much of this either in person or on some media platform. What is our response? What is our responsibility as members of these communities, and as Christians? I’ve spoken often of late our need for patience, to allow folks the space they need while not responding out of anger, or frustration. I know this can be difficult, however I firmly believe that it is important to keep in perspective that we are all a part of these communities, none of us exist in a vacuum, and anger and hostility only breed more anger and hostility.
There has to be a place where the cycle ends. Like that song goes, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” I believe that a part of our role is to be where that cycle of anger and hostility ends, and peace can begin. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not advocating for an 'anything goes' mindset or attitude, but instead for space where dialogue can happen, where people can disagree with one another and remain civil. We cannot control how another person responds, but we can control our response. That said, my position on this current Covid-19 issue, on the pandemic, is the health and safety of our community, and when we cannot agree on what that looks like I look to how we should create safety for the most vulnerable of our community to set the standard for our actions. Perhaps that does not make me the most popular person with some folks… that’s okay, I don’t need popularity. What I need, is to know that I have done my part to help my neighbor, to love my neighbor, even those neighbors who are sometimes hard to love.
Our faith teaches us that we are to trust God above all else. That reminds me of a joke about a man who, when the town flooded, and he was on his roof, he refused to get into the first boat that came to take him to safety, saying that he trusted God would save him. Later some folks came by in a canoe offering to take him to dry land, again he refused. Finally a helicopter came by and dropped a ladder for him, he refused again saying that God would save him. When he died in those flood waters and went to heaven, he asked God why he hadn’t saved him, God replied, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more were you looking for?”
God often works through His children; he has blessed people with knowledge and wisdom. A part of our job is to recognize God in those people. I, for one, will err on the side of caution for the sake of my neighbor as we send our kids back to school, as we await to see what tomorrow will bring, as we continue to navigate our way though these days, weeks, and months ahead. Thanks be to God!
Pastor Dan Forsgren