STILLMAN VALLEY, IL (June 8, 2016) — When Karen Carlson started working as secretary at Valley Evangelical Covenant Church in 1966, there was no office for her at the church so she typed bulletins on an electric typewriter at a local carpet store. She copied bulletins on a mimeograph machine at home.
This past Sunday, after 50 years, Carlson retired as the church’s office administrator. Over that time, she had to adapt to the individual styles of multiple pastors as well as technological changes that may seem small now, but which, at the time, were significant.
Carlson worked with seven pastors: Emmet Swanson, Wayne Peterson, Bill Holmlund, Dolan Rundquist, Steve Tousseau, Don Holmertz, and Rick Lindholtz, as well as interim pastors Arthur Carlson, Paul Johnson, Jack Lundbom, Steve Anderson, and Bill Orris. That’s not counting several full- and part-time student ministry pastors.
Shortly after Carlson started, then-pastor Swanson asked her to assemble the church’s first newsletters, which she also typed at the carpet store and copied on the mimeograph at home. “Several pastors later, a word processor and a copy machine was the way to go, and those should be at the church so that both the pastor and I could use them,” she said. “The next pastor wanted us to use computers, so I had a whole new system to learn. As things changed, I learned to make the changes because I didn’t want to give up my job. I felt like I was given that opportunity by the Lord, so I would pray for his help to get me through each change.”
“We estimate that Karen has prepared worship folders for more than 2,500 Sundays, over 550 newsletters, 50 annual reports, and numerous special occasion bulletins, letters, etc.,” said Lindholtz, the church’s current pastor. “She has done many other things for the church, not merely as a job but as service to the Lord.”