Seminary student dies in car accident

Vicar Paul Pal, a Sudanese ministry leader in Columbia Heights, Minn., and a student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, died Nov. 14 in a car accident while traveling from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to his home in Columbia Heights.
Pal, 37, was among 10 people in a van who drove to Calgary for a Sudanese church conference.  As they were returning home, the van’s driver lost control in snow and ice on the Trans-Canada Highway near Swift Current and the vehicle rolled over, killing Pal and injuring at least four others.  Details of those injuries are not available at this time.
Pal was a student in the first cohort of the seminary’s Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT), a distance-education program for training pastors.  He was a leader at St. Matthew Sudanese Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights, since 1997, and was on staff at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights, since 2000.
“Vicar Pal’s death comes as a shock,” said Prof. David Wollenburg, director of distance education at Concordia Seminary.  “His joyful presence will surely be missed as we gather for on-campus EIIT sessions in the future.
“Our prayers are offered for his family, the people of St. Matthew Sudanese Lutheran Church, Vicar Pal’s fellow EIIT students, and others injured in the accident,” Wollenburg said.
An English memorial service for Pal was held Nov. 19 at St. Matthew.  A memorial celebration will be held in 30 days, in accordance with Sudanese custom.
Pal is survived by his wife, Sarah Jiech, and six children: Nyemuoch, Chany, Teathloach, Goamar, Nyeleap, and Junup.  Contributions to a trust fund to provide for the Pal children’s education may be made to St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 4101 Washington St. NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421.

Posted Nov. 16, 2005

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