The Rev. Dr. Hartland H. Gifford

Second Executive Director of AHA (2004-2008)

Over the years he has been known as “Hart,” “Herb” and “Giff,” the first four letters of each of his names. Born April 29, 1934, in Hartford, CT, Giff was baptized at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hartford. He graduated from Upsala College in 1956 and Augustana Seminary in 1959. In 1986 he earned the D. Min. degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

For several years, Giff was an announcer at radio stations in Iowa and Massachusetts. Following his ordination on June 12, 1960, he served as pastor of Zion, Duquesne, PA (1960-1962), where he effected a merger with First English Lutheran Church to form Christ, Duquesne. He organized what may well have been the last mission of the Augustana Lutheran Church in Andover, MA. Named Faith, he served there from 1962 to 1970. From 1970 to 1972, Giff was pastor of Christ, Middletown CT. He was then called to the Division for Parish Services of the Lutheran Church in America where he served as editor for adult parish mission resources (1973-1975), secretary for stewardship (1975-1981) and editor for interpretation resources (1981-1987). For a time in 1988 he served as director of public relations of the American Bible Society. In 1989 he became interim pastor and later the called pastor of St. Paul, Catasauqua, PA where he served until his retirement in 1999.

Giff has served the church and community in many capacities in the New England and Northeastern Pennsylvania Synods. In the NEPS, he has been a member or the chair of the synod Evangelism Team, Stewardship Task Force, Comprehensive Study Committee, Mission 90 Task Force, and Interim Ministry Committee. He has been a member of the ELCA Commission for Financial Support, the Stewardship Council of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and the Board of Directors of Good Shepherd Home, Allentown, PA. He is the author of sixteen titles and the editor of forty-three books, programs and newsletters. Of particular interest to AHA members is the book he edited with Arland Hultgren, The Heritage of Augustana, published in 2004.

In 2004, Giff was elected Executive Director of the Augustana Heritage Association, following the untimely death of Donovan Palmquist, and served until 2008. He has had a role in every AHA Gathering since the first one at Chautauqua in 1998. In 2010, he was named to the advisory committee in charge of developing an Augustana Room at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. It will be a combination seminar room and exhibition space for memorabilia reflecting Augustana congregations on the East Coast.

Giff married Carol Branham Lincke of Rock Island in 1959. She died of breast cancer in November of 1983. On March 1, 1986, he married Judith Johnson Coleman. Between them they are the parents of two daughters, Diane Gifford and Jeanne Coleman, and two sons, John Gifford and Matthew Coleman. They have three grandchildren and currently reside in Schnecksville, PA.