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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Transplanted & blooming

Ione Hanson embraces her new role even as she grieves her old one

Ione Hanson's Grandmother Agrimson moved from the trees and lakes of Minnesota to the windswept prairies of South Dakota with her restless schoolteacher husband. To ease her anxiety over a move she resisted, she took her tiger lilies with her, watering them with dishwater.

"She was carrying part of herself to that new land," Hanson said, remembering the story her father, Elmo, had told her. After Hanson's husband, Mark, was elected ELCA presiding bishop in August 2001, she decided to do the same. Transporting the offspring of her grandmother's tiger lilies to Chicago from St. Paul, Minn., was something Hanson needed to make her transition.

"I wanted to sink roots in the earth here — that was my first move forward," she said, sitting in a rocking chair, sunlight streaming through the windows of their comfortable Chicago home.


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