Etc. - 12/24/09


Finding a stick of dynamite at the First Presbyterian Church in Kelso, Wash., was probably not the sort of excitement the Rev. Hanna Peterson was looking for prior to a recent Christmas party.

Hanna, who grew up in Walla Walla, said in an article from The Associated Press that she’s not sure where the dynamite came from. "It may have been among old items donated for a garage sale by church members. It was apparently set on a bookcase in May during the sorting and forgotten about until Peterson found it."

She said it took a couple of calls before emergency crews realized she was talking about dynamite — and not a bottle of nitroglycerin pills."

A Portland bomb squad disposed of it and cleared the church just two minutes after the party was to begin.

Hanna graduated in 1994 from Walla Walla High School, then earned a bachelor’s in religion and French language from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

The daughter of the Rev. Robin and Kriss Peterson of Walla Walla, Hanna earned her master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in June 2002. She was ordained as a minister of word and sacrament in College Place on Dec. 1, 2002.

She was installed at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollister, Calif., on Dec. 8, 2002, and served as associate pastor for family ministries.

Her duties included worship coordination, children’s chapel, mission ministry, contemporary worship, and visitations.

She was called to Kelso’s First Presbyterian Church in fall 2005. Installed as the pastor there on Oct. 16, 2005, she "has been exceeding our expectations ever since," a church biography of her notes. "Not only does she prepare our worship services each week, but she is the lead singer on our praise team, provides special music both vocally and instrumentally, and oversees many of the other activities that go on in our church."

Outside her church duties, Hanna enjoys singing, dancing, horseback riding, cooking, watching TV and movies, quilting and time with good friends.

In addition to her parents, Hanna has a brother, Amos, and sisters Ella and Cleo Peterson. I hope her party was a real blowout of a more mundane sort.

Hanna’s favorite Bible verse is Micah 6:8, which says in the New International Version, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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