I write to share the sad news that the Right Reverend Daniel L Swenson, eighth Bishop of Vermont has died. A private service with his family took place today (Ascension Day) in Northfield, Minnesota.
Dan leaves behind family and countless friends whose hearts and lives have been warmed by his friendship and laughter. Following Dan’s ordination in the Episcopal Church in 1960 Dan and his wife Sally lived in a number of towns in Minnesota including Minnetonka Beach, Wayzata, Virginia, Eveleth, Faribault, and White Bear Lake. In 1986 they moved to Burlington, VT when Dan was elected the 8th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont and was active in the wider Episcopal Church.
Following his retirement as Bishop of Vermont in 1993, Dan and Sally moved to Forest Lake, MN. He was invited to serve as Assisting Bishop with The Rt. Rev. James L. Jelinek for 13 years. He knew the history of Minnesota and the Episcopal Church in Minnesota and was happy studying the Gospel of John and teaching. Having been raised in the shadow of the Holocaust and World War II, he worked passionately to educate and transform himself in the areas of institutional racism and civil rights. He was a strong advocate for the ordination of women, prevention of clergy sexual abuse and the full inclusion of gay & lesbian persons.
In 2003, Dan and Sally relocated to Northfield, MN to be closer to their family. There they were part of All Saints Church, Northfield, a community of faith that welcomed and embraced their presence and ministry. The Reverend Gayle Mardine Marsh is the Rector at All Saints and was very close to the Swensons. In my conversation with her, she told me much about her relationship with Dan and especially the last few days of his life.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and his beloved Sally (“Sal”) who died on Christmas Day, 2012. Their immediate family includes: children Martha (Dennis Joyner) Swenson of Vadnais Heights; Sara (Willie Jr.) Shuford of Minneapolis; Daniel (Kathleen Hanscom) Swenson of Northfield; 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Memorials may be designated to:
All Saints Episcopal Church
Northfield, MN 55057.
Cards may be addressed to his son and will be shared with the family:
5052 Lonsdale Blvd E,
Northfield MN 55117
I am most grateful to the people of All Saints, Northfield and their Rector, Gayle, for the loving way they ministered to and with +Dan and Sally.
My heart goes out to +Dan’s family in their time of grief and sorry. We offer thanks for his ministry as Bishop of Vermont and pray: Give rest, O Christ to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting. Amen.