ROSLYN PARK, NY (September 5, 2017) – Retired Covenant minister Lars Silverness died August 30. He was 92 years old.
He was born on July 14, 1925, on a rural dairy farm in Oak Park, Minnesota, to Inberth and Sophie Silverness. He attended North Park Junior College and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Gordon College and then North Park Theological Seminary. He earned MDiv and DMin degrees from New York Theological Seminary.
Lars married Natalie Larsson on August 27, 1955.
He served as pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Floral Park, New York, and ministered at a Potawatomi tribal reservation. He also served as chaplain at several hospitals, including Creedmoor State Psychiatric Hospital in Queens, New York, where he ministered for more than 30 years.
Lars was the driving force for the creation of Faith Chapel on the hospital grounds and which took more than 10 years to fund and construct. Once it was completed, more than 300 people would attend Sunday services.
He was the first mental health chaplain to provide counseling at outpatient clinics to the community. He later became chaplain for the Kennedy Airport Protestant Chapel, where he was recognized in 1996 with The Bishop Wright Award for his contribution to the airline industry.
He was a charter member and president of the Floral Park, NY Rotary. He was passionate in his involvement with the Rotary Club’s Gift of Life Program, which facilitates free medical service to children suffering from heart disease. He also was chairman of the certification committee for the Association of Mental Health Clergy for three years.
In addition to his wife of 62 years, Lars is survived by two sons, Richard (Ellen) Sylvarnes and Scott (Kate) Sylvarnes; and three grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 9, at Faith Chapel on the grounds of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
Memorials may be made to Gift of Life Program here.