The Rev. Bernhard M. Seter, Zion English, Grafton; Trinity, Drayton; and St. John, Crystal, died on March 22 in Grafton, N.D. He was 69.
Seter was born Nov. 12, 1952, in Bottineau, N.D., to the late Marvin Calvin Seter and Myra Mae (Hahn) Seter. He attended Concordia University, St Paul, St. Paul, Minn.; Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne; and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (CSL), receiving his Master of Divinity from CSL in 1978.
Seter married Faye Freeman on Aug. 10, 1974. In 1978, he was called as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Drayton, N.D., and Zion English Lutheran, Grafton. In 1987, he began serving as chaplain for the North Dakota Life Skills and Transition Center in Grafton, an agency that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 1995, he also began serving as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Crystal, N.D.
Seter served on the LCMS North Dakota District Board of Directors from 1997 until 2001, when he was elected to the LCMS Board for Human Care, serving as chairman. In 2010, he was elected chairman of the BIM. He was instrumental in the creation of Project 24, part of an LCMS child sponsorship program that provides schooling, residential care, and the Word of God for children in Kenya. He made several trips to Kenya as part of his work on the program.
Seter served the church in a variety of ways, including through his work with Lutheran Church Extension Fund and as a counselor and reconciler for the North Dakota District. He served as district counselor for the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) from 1998 to 2002 and authored an LWML prayer service. For many years, he wrote the widely read blog “Northern Crossings, a Lutheran Mercy Blog From North Dakota and Northern Minnesota.” (northerncrossingsmercy.org) He loved music and enjoyed composing, performing, and sharing his love of music with others.
The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the LCMS, called Seter “a rare gift.”
“I recall traveling to Kenya with him almost 20 years ago,” Harrison said. “After a visit to the great Kibera slums, he delivered a profound devotion on our Savior’s cross, suffering, and Christian mercy. I’ll never forget it. He never ceased to amaze as he proclaimed Jesus with passion, loved those in his path, rarely talked about himself, discoursed on every manner of humorous observations and topics, read everything he put his hands on and delighted in life. Our love to Faye and to his congregations, who loved him dearly.”
Funeral services will be Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at 2:00 PM at Zion English Lutheran Church of Grafton, ND. Visitation will be Monday, April 4, 2022, from 4-7 PM with a prayer service at 7:00 PM at Zion English Lutheran Church, Grafton. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred for one of Bernie’s favorite missions.
The funeral will be live-streamed on the Zion English Lutheran Church – Grafton ND, Facebook page. A video of the funeral will be posted to the Tollefson Funeral Home Website following the service. An online guest book is available at: www.tollefsonfuneralhome.com