In Memory of Serenity Carlson(1926 - 2015)

individual picture
Serenity Carlson
Paul, Elaine, Marilyn
Birth Date
July 22, 1926
Ascension Date
July 22, 2015  
Our beloved sister, Serenity Rollag Carlson, has ascended to the spirit world on July 22 in North Dakota. Serenity was known for her bright spirit, and for working tirelessly for God and True Parents. She will be greatly missed by her loving family and many friends.

Let us support Serenity's family during this special time and pray for her victorious transition to a glorious new life in the spiritual world.

Following is an obituary in memory of Serenity by Rev. Kevin Thompson.


​​Dr. Ki Hoon Kim
Continental Director

​​Dr. Michael Balcomb

Following is a testimony by Rev. Kevin Thompson.

Natalie Serenity Rollag, also known as Maxine Carlson, was born on July 22, 1926 near Granville, North Dakota. She was adopted as an infant, and after half a century learned about her birth mother. Serenity married Edwin Carlson around 1952, and they raised three children in northern California, Paul, Elaine, and Marilyn. They separated, but later became friends again.

She attended the University of Minnesota, where author Saul Bellow was one of her professors. Later she earned a Masters in Psychology from John F Kennedy University. She began doctoral studies at Minot State University, where she was old enough to be some of her professor’s mother. Serenity worked as a school teacher, helped found three different schools, directed a Head Start program, and worked with Mexican migrant families in the 1960s.

In 1976, she became a missionary for the Unification Church. She was by far the oldest person ever to serve with its national fundraising teams. She directed and helped modernize the church’s national publications office in New York City, and later made two mission journeys to Zambia in southern Africa. Malaria did not stop her, and she always wanted to return there. She also traveled to attend church events in Korea.

In her later years, Serenity retired to North Dakota, where daughter Marilyn eventually became her caregiver. During this time they lived in Jamestown and then in Valley City, where they found a warm welcome by neighbors, and great support from social workers and others. They sometimes attended the Latter Day Saints’ services in Jamestown, and made many new friends there. Toward the end of her life, Serenity lived for several months at the Sheyenne Care Home, which she enjoyed, while becoming well known for her skill at Yahtzee and similar games.Serenity passed away peacefully, on her birthday. She leaves behind three children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, the youngest of whom is named after her. She has touched lives on three continents and beyond.

Seonghwa Information

The Seonghwa Ceremony was held in North Dakota on Saturday, July 25.


Donations can be made to the family here:

Seonghwa Ceremony

North Dakota

Comments (6)



    I worked with Elaine at 1985-1987 at New Yorker and talked about her mother. She was really worked hard for church and could not have a time for children. Elaine was really concerned and loved her mother. Thank you for your dedication to church.


  • L Baer


    What an awesome sister!


  • betsy orman


    Serenity was an amazing person. She had the most sincere desire to serve God and True Parents. She also worked for Il Hwa helping run our stores. For those who would like to make a donation to help with funeral expenses here is the link to the Memorial fund for her family.


  • Keith Peter McCarthy


    Among my first fond memories from when I met our church in 1976 was meeting Serenity. She was a strong, peaceful presence at the Washington Street Center (I hope I remember the location right!) in San Francisco. Somehow, her spirit made the “center” feel like a home. God bless her in her new mission, and her powerful children.


  • Mary Ann Schaffer-Wigton


    Thank you, Serenity, for your selfless, loving service to our Heavenly Parent and True Parents of Heaven, Earth, and Humankind.


  • Valerie Bradshaw Tembo


    Valerie Bradshaw Tembo.
    Thank you Serenity for all your work in order to help establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. I worked with Serenity in New York City. At one time we even shared an apartment together right under Queensbridge during the days of Home Church. I did not remember these details until a few days ago when my sister reminded me that on some weekends she used to leave the Washington Times to come and visit us. My husband always speaks about the great work she did in Zambia; she is truly with our True Father, continuing the work of Kingdom building.


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