Vicar Paul Pal, a Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, student, died in a car accident while traveling from Canada to his home in Columbia Heights, Minn., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2005. He was 37 years old.
Pal was a student in the first cohort of Concordia Seminary’s Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT). He served as a leader at St. Matthew Sudanese Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights, Minn., since July 1997, and was on staff at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights, Minn., since January 2000.
Reports indicate that Pal was among 10 people in a van who made a trip to Calgary, Canada, for a Sudanese church meeting/conference. Returning home, but still in Canada, the van went out of control after encountering snow and ice, rolling over three times. In addition to Pal’s death, four or five of the other passengers are reported to be injured. The extent of their injuries is not known at this time.
Visitation will be held Friday, Nov. 18, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights, Minn. An English memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov.19, at 9:45 a.m. at St. Matthew. Departure for internment at Sunset Cemetery will be at 11:00 a.m., and a time for silence and prayer in Nuer will be from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. at St. Matthew. A memorial celebration will take place in 30 days, in accordance with Sudanese custom.
“Vicar Pal’s death comes as a shock. His joyful presence will surely be missed as we gather for on-campus EIIT sessions in the future,” commented Prof. David Wollenburg, director of distance education at Concordia Seminary. “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.”
Pal is survived by his wife, Sarah Jiech, and children Nyemuoch, Chany, Teathloach, Goamar, Nyeleap and Junup. A trust fund for memorials has been established to provide for Pal’s children’s education. Memorials can be made to St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 4101 Washington St. NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421.