It is with sadness that I need to let you know that Pastor Ray Haugland died of an apparent heart attack yesterday.
Pastor Ray came to Trinity in 1966, called to serve as an associate pastor. Then, in a very unusual move at the time, he was called to serve as Trinity’s senior pastor in 1973. He served in that role for sixteen years, until 1989.
Pastor Ray was an innovator. As an associate, he had primary responsibility for visitation, youth work and parish education. As the senior pastor, he worked to make Trinity and its ministries as accessible as possible to all of God’s people, regardless of ability.
In the Trinity history book, Let Us All Be Builders, Marla Holt wrote about Pastor Ray that “He brought worship services to homebound members via distribution to cable TV. He initiated the Tender Loving Care project in 1979 to make Trinity’s building accessible to all; improvements included a wheelchair lift, hearing assistance in the sanctuary, an elevator, accessible bathrooms and pew cutouts for wheelchairs.”
Pastor Ray was able to be with us last spring at our Trinity100 Centennial worship celebration, and assisted in serving communion. In a remembrance letter he wrote for the centennial history book, he said “There were so many good things about Trinity: Many talented and faith committed people, many of whom were community leaders…a successful high school choir of about 75 members…members willing to help others; prayer support…”
There will be a small, graveside service for the immediate family in Waconia. A larger service of remembrance will be scheduled later, after the current health crisis has passed.
We will remember Pastor Ray and his family in our prayers this weekend in worship. And we give thanks for his years of ministry in Owatonna and for the ways he affected the lives and faith of so many of our people. Most importantly, we celebrate the promise of the resurrection, which Pastor Ray experiences fully today.
Thanks be to God!
Peace friends! Stay well.