Highlights of Bill's memorial service

The Hymns

The Lessons

The Sermon

The Anthems


Opening hymn, with violin introduction played by son, Mark, and his children, Emmy & Will:

Thine is the Glory, risen conquering Son
Endless is the vict'ry thou o'er death hast won!

Children of the Heavenly Father - a favorite Swedish hymn

Closing hymn, Beautiful Savior

The lessons

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11 
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
   because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
   he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
   and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
   and the day of vengeance of our God;
   to comfort all who mourn;
3to grant to those who mourn in Zion--
   to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
   the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
   the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified

10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
   my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
   he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
   and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
   and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
   to sprout up before all the nations.

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields [
b] with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

John 14:1-6
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."

5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 28;16-20  The Great Commission
16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

       Come, Holy  Spirit, by the choir (Bill was their lead tenor)
       Shepard Me, O God, by Mary Shaner, pastor's wife and choir director, a new hymn at the request of daughter, Dorothy
Lord, Listen to your children praying (before the prayers)

Remembrance by Marcus Lohrmann, Bishop of Northwestern Ohio Synod


Kris and members of Bill's family and friends, on behalf of the
Northwestern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I
want to express our condolences and prayers for you as you grieve
Bill's sudden death but also trust God's promises in Christ.

Today we thank God for Bill's life and witness. We who are a part of
the Northwestern Ohio Synod have particularly come to know Bill and Kris
through their leadership in nurturing the Companion Synod relationships.
Most recently I came to know Bill much better through our days together
this last Fall when our synod established a Companion Synod relationship
with the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia
and Montenegro. We enjoyed a number of conversations on the bus
together. But the group also enjoyed his gentle witness and delight in
taking photographs of our experience together.

Bill and Kris have played an important role in nurturing our Companion
Synod Relationship with the Dodoma Diocese. Many of you know that in
earlier years they served four years as missionaries in Tanzania. Our
relationship with the Dodoma Diocese gave them an opportunity to
rekindle their love for Tanzania which led Bill to be a part of two
trips there. His presence there was valued. We received a message of
condolence from Pastor Munisi who expressed the sorrow of the Kondoa
District concerning Bill's death. He assured us that the pastors and
congregations of that district are keeping the family in prayer. I also
received a letter from Ursula Friedrich, wife of Missionary Reinhard
Friedrich who expressed their sadness at learning of Bill's death. The
Friedrichs have served as missionaries working with the program of Lay
Evangelism in the Synod. This synod has supported their work. I wear a
stole that was given to me by a Massai couple who are among the lay
evangelists of the Diocese. It seems appropriate to wear on this day.
The Friedrichs recalled that Bill and Pastor Dennis Maurer picked them
up at the Detroit Airport in their most recent visit. Missionary
Friedrichs recalled with fondness Bill's two visits to the Diocese and
his beautiful photographs.

We also appreciated Bill's quick willingness to mentor groups who were
planning trips to Tanzania as he would speak about cultural
sensitivities and introduce us to basic phrases to help us communicate.
One of those phrases (and a good one for today) is "Bwana Asifiwe" which
means "Praise the Lord."

Clearly Bill and Kris have reflected a passion for the richness and
diversity of God's creation and the calling to bear witness to all the
world of God's good news in Christ.

Kris and family, we know something of the depth of your sorrow as you
grieve Bill's death. On this day we thank God for his life and Christian
witness. But we also pray that the Good News of Jesus Christ that you
both so often have shared with others, will be the source of
encouragement and hope for you. May you entrust Bill and yourselves to
our Lord Jesus who is the Resurrection and the Life.

Offered by Bishop Marcus C. Lohrmann
Northwestern Ohio Synod, ELCA
June 10, 2006

From a close friend
Bill Johnson was a good friend for about 55 years. Although in recent years we did not see each other that often (because of distance) we continued to visit each other, usually about once a year, in addition to phone conversations.
I met Bill during my first year at Cornell, in the choir at the Lutheran Church in Ithaca, NY. I was lonely, homesick, and felt "lost" in the size and impersonality of Cornell. I was also struggling with the Christian faith in which I had been brought up. Bill offered me friendship and an example of steadfast faith. We became friends and roommates. He was planning on going to Luther Seminary in Minnesota. Even though it wasn't the seminary of my branch of the Lutheran church, I went with him.
Whenever Bill would speak to me about going out to Minnesota he would speak to me in a Scandinavian accent, so I was surprised when I got there that most people out there sounded quite American!!
We were roommates there for one year also.
I will always be grateful to God for Bill, for his faith and example, for his guiding me to Luther Seminary and for his continued friendship over these many years. I will miss, too, his humor and his always hearty laugh!! Thanks Bill!
Jim Christ