Fr. Dale Matson
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; (James 5:14)
One of my roles at St. James Anglican Church, besides a monthly stint at preaching and celebrating, is visiting the sick in hospitals, homes, recovery centers and eldercare living arrangements. There is one person in particular that I try and visit weekly on Sundays. She has provided a lifetime of service to God.
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Reverand Dr. Arlynne Turnquist
The Reverend Dr. Arlynne Turnquist came to St. James about 14 years ago to worship, fellowship and participate in our prayer ministry. At that time, the prayer ministry was called, “Daughters of the King”. Since our departure from the Episcopal Church, the name was changed to “Daughters of the Holy Cross” (DHC). It is a small group of women who focus on prayer for our congregational needs, relatives, friends and clergy. Being a house of prayer is seen as a big part in our role as a church.
I met Arlynne when Sharon and I arrived in 2008 to be ordained to the Deaconate. Arlynne has a kind of “associate” membership at St. James since she maintained her membership in a Svea Lutheran Church in Minnesota where she was raised. She was born in 1935 in Minnesota.
She preached in Texas from 1989- 2005. Her congregations were both ELCA and Episcopal, allowed by an agreement between the two churches. She was both a supply and interim pastor there and performed similar functions in churches north of Fresno when she came here.
Her younger sister Carolyn Linn also lives here in Fresno and has been helpful in Arlynne’s transition from independent living because of infirmities and a more recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
Our time is spent together in a room she shares with another lady. It is a large four-bedroom home converted for elderly care and staffed with helping professionals.
I take the bulletin from our church service and start by reading the Gospel Lesson for that Sunday. We usually discuss the lesson and talk about any other issues of the week. Having a Pastor’s heart, she usually enquires about my health too. She is quick to take the spotlight off herself. After that we share communion together. Following that I anoint her with oil. We finish by praying for each other.
Arlynne never married and church is her family. It is a joy to visit this venerable saint and a consolation for both of us.