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New chaplain at HAMC

March 28, 2014
Bryce Berginski - Tribune Reporter , Pierce County Tribune

This month Pastor Don Barsness has taken the position of chaplain at the Heart of America Medical Center.

As chaplain, most of his work centers around spiritual, pastoral care for residents and providers in hospice. Despite challenges and learning curves that have arisen in the short time he's been here, Barsness says he enjoys Rugby.

"It's a big change for my wife (Marla) and I, but (we're) excited at the prospects of life and ministry here, so from that vantage point it's good," Barsness said.

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Barsness comes to Rugby following more than 11 years in Garrison, where he was pastor at the Church of God. Early on in that career he split time pastoring between the Church of God in Garrison and the community church in Riverdale.

"We were, for a period of time, sensing the possibility of change in ministry that we had been doing," Barsness said. "The opportunity to come to Rugby opened up. We came for the interview, the invitation was extended, and we were excited about accepting the position."

Born in Canada, Barsness grew up in Billings, Mont. He has one sibling, a younger sister.

"[It was a] pretty typical upbringing," Barsness said. "My dad was a pastor, but I didn't grow up with any of the stereotypical pressures to be a certain kind of kid because my dad was a pastor."

Barsness felt called to pastorship near the end of his freshman year of college. Originally he planned to be a high school art teacher, but he decided to stay in a Bible college setting. In 1974, he graduated from Northwest Bible College in Minot, and later served as a youth pastor in Lemmon, S.D. He then became a pastor in Lignite, where he served for more than four years.

Barsness and his wife have three grown children who live on the east coast, and five grandchildren. In his spare time, his hobbies include basketball, home improvement and long-distance cycling.



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