Volume 125, Number 11
Pastor Betty Stedman now serving parish in Turtle Lake
BY ALLAN TINKER McLean County Journal Turtle Lake, ND
Trinity Lutheran Church in Turtle Lake gained a new pastor with some help from an unlikely source, a name bestowed upon the pastor at a previous interview. "Turtle Woman" was the name given to Reverend Betty Stedman when she went to an interview on a reservation in Montana this past summer while she was looking for a new church to minister. While there, her driver stopped to pick up a tiny turtle that was on the roadway and she held the small creature, comforting its fear and talking to it when it finally stuck its head out of its shell.
After this encounter, the driver and his wife gave her the name "Turtle Woman." When Stedman received the call for Turtle Lake, she thought perhaps the event had some meaning for her to choose Turtle Lake as her new home.
There were more links to Turtle Lake besides the small creature. A Lutheran minister son from the area, Curt Hanson, had first encouraged Stedman, with assistance from his wife, Susan (Vorland), to enter the ministry when they were involved in Lutheran mission work in Williston.
Stedman smiled as she recalled the persistent prodding, "I called them the sower and the waterer for their actions in getting me into the ministry."
Stedman took her commitment at age 40 in small bites. "I brainwashed myself and broke it into two-year and one year bites. I was also told I wouldn’t be any younger if I waited to get started."
She went back to school and finished her bachelor’s degree in social work, after spending the first two years in an elementary education degree area earlier in her life. After completion of the degree, she entered Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, and then interned in Glasgow, Kansas at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Stedman was ordained by Hanson in Williston at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Her first call to service was at Minnewaukan, where she has just completed serving four congregations in two towns and two rural churches: Immanuel Lutheran (rural); St. Olaf Lutheran (rural); St.
Peter Lutheran in Minnewaukan; and Trinity Lutheran in Esmond. She notes that it is interesting to find another Trinity Lutheran Church in Turtle Lake with a St. Olaf Church in a nearby rural area.
Stedman is from Great Falls Mont., the oldest daughter of the late Don and Betty Burckhard. She has two younger brothers, Don and Larry and a sister, Sue Burckhard, who all live in Montana. She graduated from C. M. Russell High School (named after the painter) and was the first class that spent all three years in the new facility. She had attended Franklin Elementary and West Junior High in Great Falls, also.
Two years at Eastern Montana College in Billings and fifteen years of marriage, along with much work in various office jobs, helped complete her pre-ministry life.
Born and raised a Catholic, she "turned" Lutheran in Grenora, ND. It was at this time she served as a mission partner and felt that people really listened to what she had to say. "I started to feel ‘the call’ to ministry and thought about being a minister."
Stedman thought that being able to do what she likes to do, hear people’s stories, and getting paid for it would be really a great way to earn a living. "I really enjoy visiting with people, especially older people. Leading worship fills me and gives me peace. It is not me, but a spirit working in me. Those are my two favorite parts of the ministry, visiting and leading worship."
In her other parish, they had "Hymn Sing Sunday" where there was one chosen hymn and then the rest were chosen by the parishioners. "It seemed they chose hymns that went so well and meshed with my sermons." "I am not long on waiting, but patient in other ways," confided Stedman. "It was hard to let go of control."
Stedman is divorced with no children but has an adopted "furry child," a cat named Delight. The cat was rescued when tiny from along Highway 19, on a rainy day in July. She bit and scratched the gentle hand that fed her but finally let go of whatever haunted her to become a lovable "Delight" of a housecat. "She enjoys the outdoors, so we have an agreement. I purchased a leash and harness and take her for walks. The bonus is that I get the quiet time while she gets her exercise," said Stedman.
"Pastor Betty" also enjoys painting wooden birdhouses that she purchases, and reads light romance for entertainment. She admits she is a slow reader and is just recovering from the "overwhelming" amount of reading during her religious education. She also enjoys board games such as Scrabble and also card games.
When she offered her "mobility" papers for a transfer to another church, she was hoping she would end up in Montana and closer to family. "Turtle Lake is a bit closer, and it felt right." Her first day of work was March 5 and she states the real blessing in this work is the church secretary Dusty Sondrol. "She does so much. I will have to be careful not to overstep." The people are warm and welcoming and very helpful. It is fun to explore the town and see all the businesses here.
"There is less driving, I can walk to visit at the local hospital and to many things. I am looking forward to having one congregation and meeting everyone," said Stedman.
Pastor Betty Stedman is now serving a church in Turtle Lake.
Auxiliary bails out Legion
The Auxiliary to the Gunnerud-Dietrich American Legion Post 86 of Minnewaukan presented a $500 check to the Legion recently as a gift. The Legion’s treasury was completely depleted this winter by the cost of heating oil. Pictured are Auxiliary treasurer Grace Ball, Auxiliary president Arlene Lien and Legion Post 86 Commander Curtis Yri.
Mrs. Pavek’s second graders at the Leeds School have been learning about fossils. They started their study with their weekly stories in reading. They went on to make their own imprints of their hands. The next activity was to do homework with their families to learn more about fossils. With the help of Carol Thompson, mother of Arnikka Thompson, the class ended their adventure with their very own fossil dig. While digging they found a shell and the imprint of the shell left over when it was chipped out. Left to right are Braydon Follman, Garrett Johnson, Ryan Wangler, Dani Schwanke, Rochelle Hansen and Arnikka Thompson.
The sixth grade students at Leeds learned about volcanoes during science class. After completing the lesson, they constructed and painted their own volcanoes. They also had fun adding various ingredients to the volcanoes, so they could watch them erupt.
Standing, left to right, are Alyssa Anderson, Taryn Bjerke, Aaron Hust, Jaystin Albrecht and Jessica Peterson. In front is Colton Wangler.
Shown left to right with their volcanoes are Matthew Ellison, Clay Kitzmann, Shelby Jorgenson and Aaron Hust. In front is Mylie Herman.
On the street in ’45
This photo was taken on Sheyenne’s Main Street (US 281) in front of the drug store about 1945. Left to right are John Holven, off sale owner; Leo Nelson, who farmed north of Sheyenne; "Little" Henry Mesta, who farmed northeast of Sheyenne; Jud Bjugstad, local butcher; and Milo Hayes, cafe-hotel owner. (Photo courtesy of Jim Hanson)