22 Jun Meet Father Blair and Elizabeth Carlson
Brothers and Sisters,
I’d like to introduce you to Father Blair Carlson and his wife, Elizabeth, who have spent many years encouraging and equipping evangelists around the globe. They’ve served in international Anglican churches in England, France, Ukraine, and more recently in Tunisia. Now they’re serving our Diocese at Resurrection Anglican in the Minneapolis suburbs, where Fr. Blair is interim rector.
Bishop Stewart Ruch III
Father Blair, tell us about how you and Elizabeth got connected.
Elizabeth and I got to know each other in Amsterdam while working together on a conference for itinerant evangelists. We were married in 1988 and have two married daughters.
How did growing up in Hong Kong influence you and your vision for ministry?
At my birth, an old patriarch of the Chinese Church gave me my Chinese name (Ga Po Chuen) with the prophetic meaning “preach good things around the world.” God planted the vision and then he fulfilled it in my life. Growing up in Hong Kong, I was part of our Chinese Church and witnessed the love my father had for his Chinese students at the seminary where he taught. I also was active at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church with my English-speaking friends. As an adult, I worked for Billy Graham in organizing international outreaches. Throughout these global experiences, I have witnessed God’s magnanimous nature in revealing himself in the context of various cultures and through different expressions of faith.
What led you both to Minnesota and to the Upper Midwest Diocese?
In 1994, after many years of living internationally, we agreed to move to Minneapolis to work out of the Billy Graham headquarters.
In 2000, the door opened for me to study at St. John’s, Cranmer Hall, part of Durham University in England. After serving my curacy at St. Mary’s Church in East Sussex, we returned to Minnesota. We joined the recently planted Church of the Cross on a volunteer basis. At the same time, I was starting a small ministry called GoodWORD Partnership with the vision of helping other international evangelists.
How does your past ministry intersect with your service now?
At Resurrection Anglican, I can exercise my administrative experience and Elizabeth her interest in mentoring and walking alongside women in their faith journey. It is a joy and a privilege to serve for this season in the Upper Midwest.
Where in the world are you involved currently with GoodWORD Partnership?
This year, GoodWORD Partnership has had the privilege of working in Guinea Conakry, Togo, Malawi, Chad, Russia, and in Asia. We train church leaders for evangelism, organize evangelistic outreaches, and mentor evangelists. My focus now is to encourage younger leaders and empower them for the future.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
I am a “Barnabas”—serving the church and evangelists behind the scenes in support roles. Whether I am in my Barnabas calling or I’m in my spare time, I enjoy creating things. That includes working with my hands, painting, color, and design. I was an art and anthropology major at Wheaton College. I am now the curator and restorer of my own informal art collection. And learning how cultures work is also a huge interest. I like to walk and have enjoyed exploring many cities around the world reveling in their architecture and way of life. Here in Minnesota, I have enjoyed canoeing the Boundary Waters and I love boats and open water. The art of Bonsai is a new interest as well.