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Our Ancestors

Death of Norman Norden: Lutheran minister & PNG missionary

MARK ZABORNEY | The Toledo Blade

Rev Norman F NordenREV NORMAN F NORDEN, 76, who began his ministry as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, died in the United States last week.

In retirement, Pastor Norden became an officer in the German Lutheran Heritage Society, which has collected and preserved family histories and archives from northwest Ohio counties with deep German roots.

He was born in 1937, and grew up on a farm. He was a 1955 graduate of Ridgeville High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Capital University in the Columbus area.

He continued his studies at the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary in Columbus with the aim of being a minister and a missionary. He was inspired by missionaries from his home church, St. Paul’s Lutheran, especially the Rev George Hueter, who served in Papua New Guinea.

Pastor Norden received a bachelor of divinity degree from the seminary in 1963 and was ordained. He then set off for PNG, his family in tow, where he was a missionary for 16 years.

He and his family lived at a Lutheran mission station in a remote area. He had to learn a local language, his son said, as he and the family adjusted to life without such amenities as instant, always available electricity.

“He liked the people there,” his son said. “He saw how the Gospel and the good news, the effect that had on people’s lives.”

Some tribes had been fighting, but hearing a message of hope “helped bring them together and helped bring peace to the region,” his son said.

He was stewardship director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG for six years before he and his family returned to the United States.


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