Emmons Lutheran Church plans centennial celebration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 18, 2002

Emmons Lutheran Church plans to make its centennial celebration a memorable event June 29 and 30.

The church’s anniversary committee is planning a confirmation open house at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29, for classes from both Lime Creek and Emmons Lutheran Church.

Then on Sunday, June 30, the morning worship service will begin at 9 a.m. Several pastors will participate in the service. A catered dinner will follow the service.

Email newsletter signup

Reservations for the dinner are necessary no later than June 1. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-10 years, and those under 3 eat free. To RSVP, fax the information to 297-5802 or e-mail ilopdahl@WCTAtel.net.

The church is also selling special commemorative items in honor of the anniversary. An afghan, depicting the old and new church and parsonage, sells for $35; a suncatcher of the church is $15; a plate with a sketch of the church done by Eloise Adams is $15; an updated history book sells for $12; and notecards sell for $8. Orders must be pre-paid; contact the church office for more information.

According to Imogene Opdahl, a member of the centennial committee, planning for the celebration actually began in the spring of 2001. Committee members decided which commemorative items to have made and started the process of getting addresses for past church members. Last fall, the group sent out letters so people would know the dates for the celebration.

Recently, 660 letters were sent out to nearly every state and Canada inviting former people connected with the church to the celebration. It is hoped that news stories will catch those who were inadvertently missed, Opdahl said.

Extensive work was also done on the history book. It includes not only a written history, but also a list of confirmation classes, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

&uot;It should settle a lot of arguments,&uot; said committee member Maynard Bidne with a chuckle.

&uot;It’s been fun,&uot; Opdahl said. &uot;When it’s all over, we’ll have all the memories.&uot;

While the Emmons Lutheran congregation wasn’t incorporated until March 25, 1902, its roots go back to the time when Norwegian immigrants first settled in the vicinity in 1856. One source states that the Rev. H.A. Preus rode to the vicinity of Lime Creek and held services there in 1857. Another source records that the first service held in this neighborhood was on July 20,

1858 in Silver Lake Township, Iowa. The Rev. A.C. Preus conducted this service.

In 1860, members living in the Emmons and Lime Creek areas organized a congregation and called it the Lime Creek Lutheran Congregation. In 1902, a group of families in Emmons and the nearby neighborhood desired to establish a congregation apart from the Lime Creek congregation.

A meeting was held on Jan. 11, 1902, at the Emmons schoolhouse. The Rev. P.G. Ostby promised to conduct Sunday afternoon services twice a month in the English language. These services were to be held in the Emmons schoolhouse until the church could be made ready. During the summer of 1902, the church was built. The church dedication was held on May 21, 1903. Ostby continued as pastor until 1915, when he resigned.

A parsonage was built in 1915, and basements were added under the church and parsonage in 1917. Electric lights were installed in 1919.

Major repairs and improvements were made in 1936 and 1942. In 1945, a building fund was begun and continued to grow by designating that the loose change in the offering each Sunday go to the building fund. In 1957, a new site was purchased to build a new church on the east side of the highway. The congregation hired an architect and conducted a building fund drive in 1958 which produced a total of $76,000 of pledges and cash.

A groundbreaking service was held on April 26, 1959, and the laying of the cornerstone service was held on July 12. The old church bell was moved into the church tower in April of the following year. The first service was held in the new church on June. 12, 1960. A procession from the old church to the new church preceded the service. There were 650 in attendance.

Much of the labor and some of the fixtures were donated. The actual cost was $281,000. The mortgage was paid off in 1974. In 1969, a new parsonage was completed at a cost of $36,000.

Other improvements included a new organ in 1974, new windows in the classrooms, offices and social hall in 1985-86, a new sound system in 1990 and a new roof in 1991. Construction on the sanctuary and new siding began in the spring of 1997. Stained glass windows were installed inside the lower windows and the two chancel windows in the sanctuary.

Over the church’s 100 years, there have been 12 pastors serving the congregation. The Rev. Julie Fiske has been the pastor since 2000.

Five sons and daughters of the congregation have gone on to become pastors. They are: Norris Olson, Lois Knutson, Olaf Storaasli, Kermit Roisen and Matthew Hausken.