Who is Jack?

Allow Me to Introduce Myself . . .

Photo: Albert Glenn

Welcome to Jack’s Word Press Site. I’m glad you found me. I lost the site a few times myself when designing it. But magically it appeared again on my screen one day.Most of you who have looked up this website know me already. Those who found it on a search engine or by word of mouth, allow me to introduce myself.

I am a sexagenarian rapidly approaching the status of a septuagenarian, much too fast, it seems to me. In June 2015, I retired after over 40 years as a Lutheran pastor in Canada and the United States.

I have been married since Richard M. Nixon occupied the Oval Office and two years before he relinquished the office in disgrace. My wife Diane is a Pennsylvanian by birth (Lancaster). I, on the other hand, am living in my third country: born in Finland; raised in Canada since age 6; and a resident of the United States since 1981.  I imagine that my multinational identity will play a part in more than one future blog post.

We are proud parents of two adult sons: Luke, 39, who lives with us in Wyncote, PA; and Jesse, 35, who stayed put in Gainesville, FL when we relocated to the Philadelphia area in 2002 for the sake of a new ministry challenge for me.

I am a Canadian citizen, but cheer for the Finnish ice hockey teams in international tournaments, even if Canada is the opponent.

Since retirement, my self-identity has transfigured from thinking of myself primarily as a clergyman, to thinking as a novelist. Instead of looking out at the world and finding sermon material, now I find ideas for future novels. I’d always wanted to write one since I studied English literature at the University of Toronto. So, I did. In October of last year, my immigration novel Beginning Again a Zero was published at Lulu Press (http://www.lulu.com/shop/jack-saarela/beginning-again-at-zero/paperback/product-22899604.html).

I’m engrossed in writing a second one now. It will be more complex and expansive the first – and therefore trickier to write, but hopefully not trickier to read: Accidental Saviors, to be published in April 2018 by Can’t Put It Down Books, an imprint of Open Door Publications. You’ll be hearing more about that book on the website.