It is with deep sorrow that I write to let you know about the death of one of our network members, and a friend and colleague to many. Rachel Coen-Tuff died on Saturday while with her family at their cabin. The family has communicated that it was the result of a pulmonary embolism.
Rachel served as the Minister of Faith Formation at Faith+Journey Lutheran Church in West Fargo, North Dakota. She has served in faith formation ministry for 10 years, the last two of which were at Faith+Journey. Rachel was a graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
Looking at the comments that have been made on social media since Rachel’s death, it is easy to see that she is deeply loved and will be missed by her community.
A seminary classmate wrote that: “…her energy, her smile, and her deep sense of goodwill for the world and her passion for youth ministry will be deeply missed.”
Another person wrote that: “…she always had time to listen, and share in joyful conversation. She shone with Christ’s joy and light.”
Another person commented: “Rachel was one of the most purely nice, giving, thoughtful, joyful people I’ve ever met. I don’t think I heard her say anything negative. The loss of her amazing spirit will be felt massively. It doesn’t feel fair to lose someone so giving and good.”
Rachel was a member of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and was with us in Houston last January for the Extravaganza there. She also just returned home from Houston where she brought a group to the ELCA Youth Gathering. In fact, in one of her most recent posts on Facebook, Rachel wrote: “Home. My heart is full, my feet are tired, and my mind is amazed with the way God works through us to change everything!”
Today, we pray for Rachel’s family and friends. We pray for the people of Faith+Journey Lutheran Church, especially their young people. And we cling to the promises of Jesus.
Today, Rachel is experiencing those promises fulfilled. She walks in the presence of God. For Rachel, Jesus has indeed changed everything.
We do not yet know the plans for funeral services and the celebration of Rachel’s life. When we know, we will post that information on the Network’s Facebook page.