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The History Of The First Lutheran Church


Clair Karol


Another rural church died last year! In December l970,the doors of the First Lutheran Church of rural Lancaster closedfor the final time. Another rural church was dead. Part of a lot of people'slives were in this church and when the doors closed for the final time partof their life went with it.

This little rural church was organized in 1940 for peoplewho lived ten, fifteen, and twenty-five miles from Lancaster. It was startedby people of many different faiths and met in their homes in the beginning.

On February 7, 1940, a group of people gathered at thehome of Martin Sveum in McKinley township under the leadership ofReverend George Melby. From this meeting came the organization known asthe First Lutheran Church. There were twenty five chartered members.

In l940, the old Egelund Church from Juneberry area inRoseau County was bought and moved to St. Joseph township. This was theFirst Lutheran Church until 1958 when it became too small for thecongregation. Then they bought the Bethlehem Lutheran Church and moved itto where it stands today. The First Lutheran Church, of Lancaster, the TwoRiver Church of Hallock, and the Pembina Lutheran Church of Pembina allshared the same minister and made up what was called the Pembina LutheranParish.

In the early days of the church the pastor from the TwoRiver Church drove a distance of 30 miles to the Matt Steien school houseby horse and buggy, to conduct services. Worship services were held, thesacraments were administered, children were baptized, and confirmation instructionswere provided. The first confirmation class consisted of three people, AltonGlad, Vivian Glad, and Annie Johnson. However, most of the time the confirmationclasses were held at the Two River Church, with the youth of both churchesbeing confirmed together. After the services they would hold a lunch anda collection was taken up. This collection was given to the pastor. It wasthe salary he received.

In 1947, the first Bible School was organized with theneighborhood children attending. In 1950, the first Sunday School was organized.It met at the Lindquist School House with 27 children attending. Mrs. LoydSteien was elected superintendent and she held office until 1958. Last yearthe total enrollment was down to 5.

A Luther League was organized by Pastor Waldemar Andersonbut neither he nor any one else kept any records.

Ladies Aid was formed from the beginning of the church'shistory. This was very active. They sewed and knitted articles such as mittens,socks, children's dresses and so on. In the summer, they would hold summerpicnics where they sold these items. With the money they made they paidpart of the pastor's salary. The First Lutheran Church still had a veryactive ladies aid last December when the church had to close down.

Many people saw their children baptized and confirmed inthe church. They put in many of hard hours of work with Sunday School, LutherLeague, and Ladies Aid for "their~ church. It was part of them. Whenthe furniture and other appointments were sold this past January it waspart of each member's life that was being sold.

It is awful when the doors of any church have to closedfor a final time but there just weren't enough people left around this churchto support it any more. So, the doors have closed for the last time.


Karol, George Interview, Feb. 14, 1971

Pamphlet, "The First Lutheran Church," pages3, 5, and 6, Feb. 19, 1971

irst Lutheran Church," pages3, 5, and 6, Feb. 19, 1971