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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Aging well in the ELCA

Churchwide efforts spawn developments for seniors

Herb and Fran Pallesen were always willing to go the distance to attend a church they love. In Henderson, Nev., they drove 32 miles — though a Lutheran church was only 3 miles away. In New Mexico they drove 95 miles every Sunday. Now they walk next door.

erin mullen/luther park of sandpoin
It’s move-in day for Herb (above) and Fran (below) Pallesen, a 70-something couple who decided to move to Luther Park at Sandpoint (Idaho), a new senior housing community attached to First Lutheran Church.
It’s move-in day for Herb and Fran
In February the couple moved to Luther Park at Sandpoint (Idaho), a senior housing community attached to First Lutheran Church.

David D. Olson, pastor, and the congregation had the idea for Luther Park in 2005 and teamed up with Ecumen, a Twin Cities-based, ELCA-affiliated senior housing developer, to create the $14.9 million, 60-unit site. Within a month of opening in December 2008, more than half of the units were occupied, with 10 of First’s members among the residents.


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