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Story Magazine

Fall 2016

Retired Luther Seminary professor publishes two books

by Kelly O'Hara Dyer, Correspondent

Gracia Grindal, professor emerita of rhetoric at Luther Seminary, recently completed two books: one is the latest in a series of hymn texts on the lessons in the revised common lectionary, collectively known as “A Treasury of Faith,” published by Wayne Leupold editions in North Carolina. The second is, “Unstoppable: Norwegian Pioneers Educate their Daughters,” available from Lutheran University Press.

Grindal, who retired two years ago from Luther Seminary after 30 years of teaching, has been writing hymn texts for the Revised Common Lectionary since 2005. Her latest book on hymn texts, “A Treasury of Faith A B C Hymns on the Revised Common Lectionary,” is on the gospel texts.

In 2011, a cycle of hymns on the Old Testament lectionary texts was also published by Leupold. She just completed a series of hymns on the Epistles, which concludes her hymn texts in the Revised Common Lectionary. To date, she has completed five books of texts (between 600 and 700 total, most of which have been set to music, available on

Grindal began working on the collective books and hymn texts collected in the Treasury of Faith after a chance meeting with publisher Leupold at a hymn society meeting. He asked her if she would be interested in the project, and she started by writing lessons for the “A” series of the Revised Common Lectionary. The hymn texts often come quickly to her, and she says she wrote her very first text for a lesson due to take place the following day.

Grindal also recently published “Unstoppable,” which examines the education traditionally provided for Norwegian Lutheran pastors’ daughters from the mid-1800s to 1936, when co-education began at Luther College. Much of the material is sourced from Grindal’s study of the Norwegian letters exchanged among pastors’ wives during that time, especially Elisabeth Koren, as well as the diary and sketchbooks of Linka Preus, wife of Pastor Herman Preus, who later became president of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod in America.

Grindal notes that while male students who expected to become ministers were sent to preparatory schools such as Luther College, females who anticipated marrying a pastor were usually sent to an aunt’s home to learn both practical skills and receive instruction designed to help them become proper pastors’ wives.

To date, Grindal has written more than 10 books concerning faith and Christian history, including her hymn texts. She taught hymnody for more than 30 years during her time as a professor at Luther Seminary, and remains active in her retirement as a hymn writer.

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