Karen Safstrom has died, according to a statement posted online on June. 13, 2020.
We learned of the deceased through the following tribute posted on social media.,
I am so saddened by this news, which many of you are aware of. Karen was such a delightful person and an exceedingly fine pastor. We will miss her greatly.
We are saddened to inform you of the sudden death of The Rev. Karen Safstrom from a bilateral pulmonary embolism. The unexpected death of one whom we love pierces the heart and reminds us all of the fragility of life. Our prayers are with Karen’s family and friends, and the people of Christ the King – Epiphany, in Wilbraham, as they prepare to celebrate a life lived for Jesus’ mission of mercy, compassion and hope. We personally mourn Karen’s death. Her abiding faith and irrepressible spirit will remain with us, but for now we must weep for the loss of our friend and colleague in ministry.
Karen was awarded the M.Div. in 2005, from Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, after previously working as a pharmacist. Her first call to parish ministry was as pastor to the people of First Lutheran Church in Lynn, Mass., where she served from 2005 to 2008. Karen’s time as associate rector at St. Francis, Holden from 2012-2018, highlighted the unique call of bi-vocational pastors and gave an ecumenical character to that vibrant congregation. In partnership with St. Francis, Karen founded unCommon Ground, a spiritual, pastoral place of meeting for those who have not found God in our churches.
Most recently Karen served the people of Christ the King – Epiphany in Wilbraham. Karen joined the community of Christ the King-Epiphany Church in October, 2018, as transitional pastor/priest-in-charge. This was a return to Wilbraham after having served the Lutherans of Christ the King as transitional pastor for ten months in 2010-2011. In the past two years, with Karen’s faithful leadership, Christ the King – Epiphany became one body in law as well as in faith.
“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s (Romans 14:8).” May the soul of God’s faithful servant rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine upon her. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
Bishop Jim Hazelwood and Bishop Doug Fisher
Cause of Death.
We have no information at the moment on of caused death . This post will be updated as soon as we have that information.
The following are some tributes posted on social media to honor the life and the legacy of the deceased.
Late yesterday afternoon I learned of the death of a seminary classmate, Karen Safstrom. Karen was a second career pastor, having been a pharmacist first. I think that career helped her tremendously with learning Greek—I envied her whizzing through quizzes and tests (we sat in a tiered classroom so I could look down as she quickly wrote while I struggled.) As a pharmacist/pastor, I believe Karen felt rather helpless when her dad and whole family struggled with the impact of his Alzheimer’s disease. (FYI, he died in October 2018).
As a pastor I offer God’s comfort to all who mourn. I trust in God’s unending presence, and today I rely on that for myself but more importantly for Karen’s mother and sister whose hearts must be close to breaking. Her many clergy friends and her parishioners need God’s comfort, too.
Grief, I’ve often said, is hard work. Our world is aching from the grief of COVID-19 deaths in the hundreds of thousands, even as many of us grieve the loss of our dear ones or jobs and income. We may not understand the pain or grief that is being expressed in protests; but that grief is also real—and deep.
If we care, we grieve when we suffer lose. Grief is an emotion we all feel, and perhaps it can unite us in ways we have yet to comprehend.
Funeral services often begin with these words: God comforts us in all our sorrows so we can comfort others in their sorrows with the consolation we ourselves have received from God.
Dearly Beloved, may we find ways to lift each other, to value each other, to comfort each other, trusting that God who calls all of us to recognize our common humanity will strengthen us for the work we must do.