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THE LUTHERAN CHURCH - ONE HUNDRED YEARS
As the majority of immigrants in Scandinavia were of Swedish descent, the Augustana Lutheran Church in America was interested in developing mission work in the area. As a result, the first Lutheran Church in the R.M. of Clanwilliam was organized on May 23, 189l. Therefore, a century later, the Erickson Lutheran Church decided this special milestone be observed in 1991. Throughout the years two congregations of the Norwegian Lutheran Free Church, one in Clanwilliam, one in Danvers, had been organized as well as a sister congregation in Erickson of the Bethlehem Church. By 1991, with all the changes of one hundred years, these four congregations had merged as one and became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada at its founding in 1985.
Interest was keen, committees were set up and plans made for a special weekend of worship and praise, fellow ship and celebration under the theme 'Faith of our Fathers'. In choosing a date, contact was made with Bishop Donald Sjoberg, son of Bethlehem and national bishop of the ELCIC, as his attendance was utmost in the plans for the occasion. He was free ONE weekend that summer, that of July 19 - 2l. As a banquet was one of the events planned, a caterer was necessary, many of whom were fully booked for summer weekends. When one was found, he too had that 0 E Saturday night free. By this time it was realized that for this evening the church would not have enough space to accommodate the crowd. The Legion Hall? It, too, was available only on that night! Thus things just fell into place, enthusiastic preparations went ahead, word was spread, and all was ready. All that remained was for the people to come and the weather to cooperate. And come they did, from Ontario to British Columbia and south of the border. Weather was perfect, a beautiful summer week end.
Coming back to their home church were Bishop Donald Sjoberg of Winnipeg and the Rev. Vernon Sundmark of Kelowna, BC, both sons of Bethlehem, Scandinavia. It was unfortunate that Dr. Delmar Gusdal in Florida and Delores Hall, a missionary nurse and teacher in Papua New Guinea, of Bethel, were unable to be pres ent. The Rev. Sugurd Berg, also form Bethel, had passed away in 1980. Former pastors able to attend with their wives were the Rev. Oscar Johnson who served the LFC parish form 1955 - 1960; and serving the Erickson parish, the Rev. Alfred Tysseland, from 1973 to 1979; and the Rev. Carlyle Johnson form 1979 to 1985.
Beautiful memorial floral arrangements and potted plants graced the sanctuary of the church as it fIlled for the opening service Friday evening. This was nostalgia night with music from the past and present, family groups, quartets, duets, solos and instrumentals participating.
As the theme for the weekend was 'Faith of Our Fathers' this was the opening hymn, followed by greetings and invocation by Pastor Bergman and a welcome by the president of the congregation. Greetings were given by the Mayor of Erickson, the Reeve of the R.M. of Clan william, and from the neighboring churches Immanuel in Clanwilliam, Onanole United, Hilltop Baptist, st. Jude's Roman Catholic, Sacred Heart Ukrainian Catholic and the Berean, all of Erickson.
In a skit, 'Grandpa Shares Some History' with Lawrence Sjoberg as Grandpa, he talked with two of the Sunday School children whose great-great grandparents had been charter members of Bethel Church. 'Grandpa', wear ing old-fashioned spectacles, had a bit of difficulty keeping his mustache in place, much to everyone's enjoyment. A sharing offamily roots with the young folks was followed by their singing of that old favorite Swedish hymn 'Children of the Heavenly Father'. A roll call of the descen dants from those first years proved interesting. An old-fashioned coffee hour, complete with centennial dress and coal oil lamps, was a time offellowship and an oppor tunity to view the excellent display of photos and other memorabilia.
Saturday was a day of uniting the old and the new with 'Open House' at the old log manse that had been moved from Scandinavia to become the local museum. From there, it was on to the new parsonage where refresh ments were served. That evening, a full hall enjoyed the banquet and the variety program that followed. Vocal and instrumental music was interspersed with greetings from the former pastors and visitors. Messages from several unable to be present were read. It was a trnly inspiring and enjoyable evening.
Lutheran Church - Anniversary Cake
Sunday morning's 'Service of Praise' was the heart of the weekend. Beginning with the prelude 'Great is Thy Faithfulness' and the processional hymn 'The Church's One Foundation' the choir gave the call to worship with 'Sing Unto the Lord'. All former pastors participated and Bishop Sjoberg brought the message, closing with the