Salem women celebrate 25 years

Published 9:05 am Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pictured above are some of the past presidents of Salem WELCA who were present at the retreat Lois Anderson, Mary Lahs, Deb Beighley, Judy Dilling, Eleanor Schember, Kathy DePoppe, Marianne DePoppe and Pauline Hall.

The Salem women gathered for their annual retreat to reflect on how WELCA began and how it has changed and blossomed throughout the years. President Kathy DePoppe gave a welcome to all who attended the retreat of the women of Salem Lutheran Church, Albert Lea. This was a celebration of the 25th year of WELCA, when the ELC and the ALC merged in 1987. Cynthia Nelson was president of the organization at the time of the merger, and she was present at this retreat. Each of the past presidents were honored with a flower, and a thank you was extended for their service and leadership.

The program for the event was planned by Marianne DePoppe, Helen Wick and Kathy DePoppe. Salem Lutheran was founded in 1907, the first English-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. The Salem women’s organization was founded at that time. Janette Ophaug is the earliest living leader who served in 1959-60. A tribute was given to Adeline Enderson, the longest-living member of Salem who recently celebrated her 100th birthday at Salem.

During the program, the ladies wore clothing of the times, hats, gloves, hankies, purses, aprons and always brought their Bibles to church. During the war years, 1940-49, the ladies did knitting for the servicemen, rolled bandages and did sewing for the Red Cross. The program brought back memories of the early days 105 years ago when dues were 10 cents, they met twice each month, the lunch consisted of a hot dish or salad, rolls and always dessert! Two ladies served. Salads were kept in an ice box. They cooked on wood stoves with four lids and used granite coffee pots — egg coffee was delicious! Cost of the meal was 10 cents. From this meager amount, the ladies tried to help with church expenses. Ladies were urged to subscribe to “The Lutheran Women’s Work” to keep informed and this magazine was later named Lutheran Women still being used today for Bible studies. At the December monthly meeting in 1949, it was voted to organize 12 groups of women each meeting monthly and also to have one combined general meeting each month. In 1976 the ALPHA Circle of young women was formed, all young married girls who were on their way to becoming excellent cooks, and they proved this by serving a complete turkey dinner to all of the women. Looking back over the years brought great memories and a tribute was made to all of the dedicated women who gave of themselves in service, leadership and friendship. Yalta Hestness, historian, had table displays of memorabilia of Salem WELCA history which was enjoyed by all. A brunch was served by the Mary Magdalene Circle. Readers for the program were: Shirley Noaeill, Caroline Neale, Lois Anderson and Pauline Hall.

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