You most likely recognize Gudrun as the tall woman with the beautiful soprano voice who often sings solos in the Peace Choir. Both at Peace Church and the broader community, she is immersed in “soul work” in so many ways.
In this photograph, Gudrun is wearing a shirt announcing that her story began in Cottonwood—a small southwestern Minnesota town. Her love of music came from her mother, who taught voice and piano lessons. Gudrun remembers her home filled with music and joy. Her mother also nurtured a commitment to caring for others, starting with taking Gudrun to visit a local nursing home when she was a young child. Growing up in a faith-filled Lutheran family taught Gudrun how to live her adult life.
Social issues are important to Gudrun. She is concerned about DACA, immigration, and GLBTQ issues, as well as our response to our most vulnerable citizens. Gudrun believes that “how we treat our most vulnerable citizens is how we will be judged as a civilization.” She would also like to change our approach to consumerism: “There is enough for our needs but not enough for our greed.”
Her response to her concerns has been to give generously of her time, talent, and financial resources to various Duluth organizations serving the homeless, children, youth, women, and other vulnerable people. She volunteers at CHUM, serving breakfast every two weeks, and has served on area boards.
Gudrun also uses her musical talent to enrich our community in many ways. She has sung with the Arrowhead Chorale and now with the Twin Ports Choral Project. She also sings in the Echoes of Peace Choir, and traveled to northern Iraq with the choir several years ago. Her beautiful voice has been heard at many weddings, funerals, and local musical events.
After teaching music in the schools, Gudrun pursued a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program and worked at Essentia Health and Miller Dwan as a chaplain. The last seven years of her career were spent in the pain clinic and using Healing Touch. She has touched many with her outgoing, exuberant willingness to help others. She has also officiated at wedding services in the area.
For Gudrun, the Golden Rule informs her faith and her actions. She believes that all faith traditions ask us to do for others what we would do for ourselves. Gudrun’s singing in the Peace Church choir not only inspires us but it inspires her. She said that she loves singing with others because it is like magic that ancient people called “soul work.” Gudrun is also inspired by Jim Pospisil, who she says has a great heart and inclusive leadership as he encourages people to use their gifts, no matter what those may be.
Gudrun’s mother and family have been a source of her courage and action. She admires Eleanor Roosevelt for her work on human rights, and her encouragement of FDR to act on social and humanitarian issues during his presidency. A favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt has inspired Gudrun: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
She also has great respect for her cousin, Brooks Anderson, a Duluth peace activist.
Gudrun admires the courage that led him to take a bus to southern states to help register voters and his courageous stands on social justice issues. Gudrun also admires Sara Thomsen, a local singer, song writer, and director of Echoes of Peace choir. Gudrun says she is also humbled by all the people at Peace Church who are so dedicated to peace and justice issues.
And, of course, Jesus’ teachings— that Gudrun believes we make too complicated. Luke 10:27 is the verse that informs how Gudrun leads her life: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Gudrun, displaying her sense of humor, admits that she likes the bumper sticker that has a picture of the globe saying “ Love your Mother.” And, as a dog owner and dog lover, she loves the saying: “If dogs don’t go to heaven when they die, I want to go where they went.”
Gudrun is married to Geoff. They have three adult children—Laura, Andy and Peter—two grandchildren, and a Golden Doodle named Molly. ~ Interviewed by Joan Peterson
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