Carolyn K. Arness '83

Carolyn was born on April 18, 1953 to Lois and Alger Arness in Stanley, North Dakota and was raised in Tioga, where her family was active at First Lutheran Church.  There her love of worship began.  She eagerly opened the bulletin by the age of ten to see what hymns the pastor had chosen and was always delighted to find “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.”

In early high school she attended Bible Camp and liked adding her guitar playing to the campfires.  She was in Youth Service Corps the summer of 1970 spending the summer at Grafton State School working with students who had developmental disabilities.  She used her musical gifts there, coming to love “What Wondrous Love is This.”  A few years she heard and responded to a call to ordained, the fall that the first woman was ordained in the LCA.

She attended the University of North Dakota where she became involved in campus ministry.  After graduating with a nursing degree in 1975, she moved to San Francisco and worked in a city hospital and worshiped at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

She then took a pediatric nursing position in Yuba City and volunteered at a Lutheran school nearby.  From there, she attended PLTS, determining that word and sacrament ministry was for her.  She was ordained on October 20, 1984 and was called to Peace Lutheran Church in Plevna, Montana, adding another preaching site after four years, in the town of Ekalaka.

In 1989, Carolyn began at the Fairfield Lutheran Parish in Fairfield, Montana, a two-point call.  She enjoyed tremendous ecumenical relationships there.  She also began her battle with breast cancer.  But more importantly, she adopted Joy Lin Lu Shen Arness in 1997.  A year later, she served an interim position at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Boise, Idaho, and then moved to Grace Lutheran Church in Mountain Home, Idaho, within an Air Force community.

Carolyn’s last call was to The Lakes Lutheran Church in Las Vegas as Assistant for Ministry to Families and Children.  Her health almost immediately began to decline and in 2010 she went on medical disability.  She died on June 29, 2018.