Daniel Erlander: Child of God

A special thank you to Marcia Dunigan for passing along the news that Rev. Daniel Erlander passed away in late August. His memorial service was this last weekend and you can access a video recording of it here. His books were clear and clever and were beloved by children and adults. If you haven’t, please order Manna and Mercy now. What a beautiful scripting of the biblical narrative! This is Dan’s obituary from the memorial bulletin.

Daniel Winfred Erlander
Child of God

December 10, 1938 – August 28, 2022 Daniel Erlander’s story is one of art and theology: theology as an embodied art and art as visible theology. Dan was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1938, the second of Ruth and Emory’s three sons, and baptized on February 6, 1939. He was nurtured in faith and life in Lutheran parsonages in Cheyenne, Moline, and La Crescenta, CA. His childhood memories include drawing, especially airplanes, trains and cars.

After high school Dan attended California Lutheran Bible School (1956-58) where his love of Scripture deepened. He majored in art, not religion, at Pacific Lutheran University (1958-1962) and then entered Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Drawings of his professors and saints, church architecture and
vestments, and cars embellished his seminary class notes. He was ordained into word and sacrament ministry in 1966 and married Karen O. Kiland in 1967. Dan’s wise and winsome artistic voice and his theological vision of God’s mercy mending the entire universe are best seen and heard in his hand drawn and lettered books and pamphlets, worship resources, cartoons, and Christmas cards.

After serving parishes in Illinois, California, and New Mexico, Karen and Dan moved to Holden Village in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State where, while serving as pastor, teacher, and director of the Resource Center, Dan wrote Baptized We Live and By Faith Alone: A Lutheran Looks at the Bomb. During his years as University Pastor at Pacific Lutheran University, he wrote Manna and Mercy. In their home on Whidbey Island (where Dan and Karen took pointless walks along Useless Bay), he created three booklets on the sacraments and also assembled Tales of the Pointless People. During these years Dan served parishes on Whidbey Island and Seattle. Dan and Karen deepened their shared passion for peacemaking and justice through the years with study travel to Central and South America, South Africa and Namibia, and Israel/Palestine.

Dan was an internationally known speaker, having given a presentation in Canada once.
Acknowledging a lifetime of welcoming people to the grace of God in Christ Jesus through
his inimitable work, Trinity Lutheran Seminary conferred upon him a Doctorate of
Divinity, honoris causa, in 1998 and gave him a very cool academic hood; his seminary alma
mater honored him with the Faithful Servant Award in 2006. A grateful church says, Amen.
As Dan’s journey with Alzheimer’s deepened, Dan and Karen moved to an independent
living apartment at the Hearthstone in Seattle where they enjoyed taking walks along Green
Lake. Dan moved to a memory care apartment at the Hearthstone this July. Following a
hospitalization in August Dan entered hospice. During these final weeks, brother Phil and
wife Dee and brother Mark, as well as beloved nieces and nephews, joined with Karen at
Dan’s side. And then early Sunday morning, August 28, Daniel, child of God, died and was
gathered into God’s spacious embrace of all creation. “ANAKEPHALAIOSASTHAI”

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