Church to celebrate anniversary

Published 9:14 am Friday, September 20, 2013

The famous Alaska String Band is returning to Albert Lea to play a concert at the United Methodist Church this fall. The performance will be at 2 p.m. Oct. 6 to help the Methodist congregation celebrate its 135th year in ministry.

The Alaska String Band

The Alaska String Band

“We are excited to have our friends, the Alaska String Band, return to help us celebrate our anniversary,” said the Rev. Tom Biatek. “Last year’s concert was very exciting with a full house and we expect a great community turnout again this year.”

The Alaska String Band consists of the Zahasky family: father Paul on guitar; mother Melissa on the violin and fiddle; eldest daughter Laura on fiddle, guitar and mandolin; middle son Quinn on upright bass; and youngest Abigail on the fiddle. The band hails from Juneau, Alaska, and their performances include gospel, folk, traditional and original music. They have an accomplished, spirited and spiritual style of playing with stunning vocal harmonies. Their shows are entertaining, appealing to all ages.

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“We see our 135th anniversary as a community wide event,” Biatek said. “Our church was founded by 10 faithful Methodists 135 years ago this October. It is interesting to note that the first Methodist Church built in Albert Lea was completed with great assistance from the Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Universalist and Baptist congregations. Each church contributed to the expense of building that first sanctuary.”

The concert is part of the larger 135th anniversary celebration of the United Methodist Church of Albert Lea. Events include worship at 9 a.m. led by the church band and a traditional 11 a.m. service. A lunch follows the 11 a.m. service. The bishop of the United Methodist Church in Minnesota, the Rev. Bruce Ough, will preach at both services.

“It is an honor to have the bishop with us to lead worship,” Biatek said. “He is bishop of both the Minnesota vonference and the Dakotas which means he is the spiritual leader over hundreds of United Methodist churches. He is a great preacher and is always in demand to lead worship. It is quite an honor to have him visit and preach in our community.”

All events on Oct. 6 are open to the public. Tickets for the concert are on sale in the church office in advance or at the door. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, $20 for a family and free for children age 5 and younger.