Pastor Bill Paulsen

March 24, 1944March 15, 2022
Obituary of Pastor Bill Paulsen


Joseph G. Duffy

Arthur Paulsen, age 77, of Brooklyn, New York passed away on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Arthur was born March 24, 1944. The Reverend A. William Paulsen, or Bill as he liked to be called, was born on March 24, 1944 to Norwegian American parents, Arthur and Katherine Paulsen. He grew up in Wantagh, Long Island and while he was in high school, he lost his only sibling, Jeffrey, in a tragic motor vehicle accident. After college, he followed his lifelong spiritual journey and went to Union Theological Seminary and was ordained into the Lutheran Church. In the churches to which he served, he created a community defined by welcome, warmth, gospel fluency and music. In this spirit, he was a champion of ecumenical connections across faiths. Also, in this spirit of reaching across “divides”, he was a polyglot, speaking four languages with ease. His genius was evident in every encounter, not with a high brow, but with a humble encyclopedic memory. Bill was bigger than life. When he was in the room, everyone was lifted. He filled the air with outrageous humor, warmth, curiosity, a quiet generosity, always noticing when people needed a helping hand. He was a man who cared about everyone he knew and the strangers who he would encounter in his everyday Brooklyn life or in his extensive travels. Bill spoke openly to those in his inner circle about the experience of being gay and the importance of a church that welcomed people of the LGBT community. He was never quite able to come out as a pastor. When he retired from Gravesend Lutheran Church, he joined St. Luke’s Episcopal Church fulfilling his lifelong dream of finding a faith family, where he could be fully himself, a man of Christ and a fully accepted gay man. He always knew that Jesus loved him fully as he was. Bridging these worlds within himself at St. Luke’s brought a joy and a peace to the sunset of his life. Bill’s definition of family was inclusive of his family of origin and the family he created through friendship and community. In the spirit of that inclusivity, let us just say that Bill is survived by so many people. Within this bigger than life man who loved so fiercely, he held you all. Though we miss him horribly, we have peace knowing he found his way home into the arms of his Savior. We love you, Bill. A memorial gathering for Arthur will be held Tuesday, March 22, 2022 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Joseph G. Duffy, 255 Ninth Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215. A memorial mass will occur Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at 11:00 AM at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Paulsen family.

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Past Services

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Memorial Gathering

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Memorial Mass