Obituary: James Gaderlund

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (April 16, 2018) – Retired Covenant minister James Gaderlund, who was instrumental in introducing and expanding the practice of spiritual direction throughout the denomination, died Saturday. He was 71.

Jim was born June 8, 1946, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in biblical archaeology from Wheaton College and graduated from North Park Theological Seminary.

He married Pamela (Hunt) Gaderlund on August 16, 1969. She survives.

The couple served Glen Ellyn (Illinois) Covenant Church; First Covenant Church in Portland, Oregon; Valley Covenant Church in Eugene, Oregon; and Foothill Covenant Church in Los Altos, California.

Gaderlund and several other pastors decided in 1997 to start a spiritual direction network in the Pacific Southwest Conference. It laid the groundwork for what would become the C. John Weborg Center for Spiritual Direction at North Park Theological Seminary. When the center launched in 2005, it was the first of its kind among any evangelical institution. He also gave leadership to the formation of the Association of Spiritual Directors when it was formed in 2015.

Along with Pam, he is survived by two sons, Erik and Blake.

A memorial service  will be conducted at 2 p.m. May 27 at Foothill Covenant Church, 1555 Oak Avenue, Los Altos, CA.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Jim was my pastor at Valley Covenant Church in Eugene, OR, a supporter of my art as an actor and storyteller, a spiritual guide, and a friend. To me, he embodied the example of a true and faithful servant. He was also courageous–even as he battled cancer–and funny; always a good sense of humor. I can still hear his voice delivering a sermon, a kind word, or a humorous insight. By God’ grace and mercy I hope to see Jim and hear his voice again in the eternal kingdom to come!

  2. I’m sad that Jim died. I’m a retired United Methodist pastor and had the privilege of working and being with him in a men’s clergy group and then on staff with him in the Sacred Journey program at Mercy Center in Burlingame CA. I see him as a pioneer in the area of spiritual growth or development for many people. He was a kind and warm person.

  3. I fondly remember Jim and those early days of the spiritual direction network in California. So many rich memories learning and growing and serving together. God’s healing peace to his family.

  4. Sad to hear of Jim’s departure from this world. When I worked for him at Valley Covenant, he kept a list of all the strange spellings of his name by people who sent him mail – Jim, I hope in heaven they get your name right! You were a great pastor and man and will be missed!

  5. I didn’t have the pleasure, but I’d guess we crossed paths in the Covenant at some point. Pastors give their lives to feed we rascally sheep…and often we can’t appreciate the time they put in and what they’ve meant to scores of lives for the Kingdom. God bless him and may God comfort the family.

  6. Peace be to his memory! Jim is a dear friend and mentor to us, our first Covenant pastor in Eugene, Oregon, the pastor who married us. His is a life well-lived.

  7. Jim was our pastor at Valley Covenant, and was such an encouragement to our family. We are very grateful for memories of our time together there in Eugene, as well as many delightful reunions since then at weddings, MidWinters, etc. Words are poor vessels to express our sadness at his departure, but we rejoice in knowing we have yet another Reunion yet to come!

  8. Saddened to hear of this loss of a faithful servant to our Lord. I met “Gator” on the waterfront at Covenant Harbor and he and other counselors/staff had a profound impact on my life. His care and concern for others was genuine and set a marvelous example for me and many others! Peace to his memory!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *