Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 28, 2003

Pastor improves, church web site gets 2,863 hits

By Lynda Jensen

An outpouring of prayers and support is helping to move along Pastor Joel Swedberg's recovery, since he was involved in a small engine plane crash recently.

Swedberg is the pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church in Howard Lake.

The church web site, hlchurch.org, which recently added a link with medical updates for Swedberg, registered 2,863 hits in the first week, reflecting the concern of many in the community for his welfare.

"Help and healing from the Lord, and prayers from the community are helping his recovery," commented Wayne Jorgenson, President of the council at St. John's Luthern Church.

Swedberg broke both his legs, fractured a heel, knocked out a tooth, broke his jaw, sustained a deep cut to his hand, laceration on his chin, and several cuts to his face during the accident at Winsted Airport in his small engine plane. The flight instructor aboard was killed.

It was a blessing that Swedberg didn't receive worse considering the serious nature of the accident, such as brain damage or injuries to major organs, Jorgenson said.

Swedberg is slowly recovering, although the church is talking about accommodating the pastor's mobility better, since he will be wheelchair bound for quite some time, Jorgenson said.

The web site is updated daily with Swedberg's condition. It was first set up July 19, commented parishioner Neil Sideen.

The average number of hits before the accident was about 89 per day, with an all-time high of 1,160 last January, he said.

"The hits on the web site went through the roof, and that' s atribute to Joel," Sideen said.

Ironically, during the first part of Swedberg's stay in the hospital, his nephew Cody Bullock was also admitted to the adolescent intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Center for a spine injury during a hockey accident.

Bullock was treated and released, walking on his own two days later.

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