Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation

As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879), p. 397

The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation - This congregation, now in connection with the Conference for the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, was organized in 1851, on the 22d day of August. There having been considerable emigration to this city of Lutherans, mainly from Norway, several of them had been holding religious meetings previous to the time mentioned, and longing to have regular Gospel services, in the way and spirit of their forefathers, and in a language which they fully understood, a meeting was announced to be held at the house of John Larsen, which resulted in the organization of a church society to be known as the First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church, of Racine. The following Trustees were elected: John S. Bangs, John Larsen and Andrew Johnson. On the 15th day of January, 1852, a certificate of the organization was filed. Rev. Ole Andrewson, who was present at the organization meeing, became the first Pastor of the Church. In addition to the constituent members already named, were: O. I. Halbstad, Helge Simonsen, Endre M. Surly, Finkel Finkelson, Niels Olsen, K. Knudsen Bonde, K. A. Ringheim. The Constitution first adopted confesses the canonical books of the Old and New Testament as the Word of God to be the only infallible rule of faith and life, and it further adheres to the symbolical books of the Lutheran Church. Steps had already been taken at the organization meeting toward the erection of a church building. A lot was purchased on State street, where Fish Bros. & Co.'s wagon shops are now located. What time the meeting house was finished is not known to a certainty, but it was used in 1853. During the succeeding years it prospered well, in connection with the Synod of Northern Illinois, under several Pastors. During the pastorate of Rev. J. M. Eggen, from 1866-70, there was a large emigration of Lutherans, especially from Denmark, and when the reverend gentleman referred to resigned, in 1870, the number of communicants was 150. He was an energetic man, and the period of his ministry was as prosperous as any in the history of this congregation. In the spring of 1867, the church building was moved about one block east, and in 1868 an addition was made to it, at a cost of $1,200. In 1871, Rev. Adam Dan, a native of Denmark, at the time a missionary to Jerusalem, Palestine, was called to the Pastorate of this cHurch, and in July of the same year, he was ordained and entered uopon his ministerial duties. After having officiated as minister for about one year, it was considered, by several members of the congregation, that Rev. Dan was teaching doctrines strange to the Lutheran Church, and against the Confession of the congregation. An accusation of false doctrine was made against him. He protesting, a schism was the result, and when the members siding with Rev. Dan claimed the right to the Church property, a lawsuit ensued. The case was decided December 12, 1874, and the Pastor Adam Dan, was found guilty of preaching false doctrine; but the party adhering to him being in the majority, the court gave them the property and original name of the congregation. The defeated members, wishing to maintain the Christian and Lutheran doctrines of the founders of the congregation, organized themselves into a separate society, and formed a connection with the Conference of the Norwegian-Danish Church of America. In 1875, during the Annual Assembly of that body. Numerous Pastors of that society served the new congregation, until they secured their present minister, Rev. A. M., in May, 1876. At this time the number of communicants was 34. During the same year, a lot was bought on State street, and, before the end of the year, a house of worship was erected upon the site, and ready for use. January 13, 1877, the society was incorporated under the name of the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Racine, Wis.; and, on the 25th day of March, the new edifice was dedicated. The present number of communicats is 85. A Sunday school has always been connected with and supported by the Church, and during the summer of 1878, a month's religious day school was held. We give the history of these divided congregations, as we obtain them from the respective interested parties.



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