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BETHLEHEM LUTHERAN CHURCH SCANDINA VIA

by lngeborg Sundmark and Amy Peterson

A Swedish Lutheran congregation was organized on May 23, 1891, under the leadership of a "Mission Developer" by the name of Pastor L.G. Ulmen, there were fifty charter members and with the congregational name of "Bethlehem" Lutheran Church.

First Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Scandinavia.

Most of the early church families came from the Scandinavian countries where solid spiritual fibre was woven into early life through Lutheran confirmation.

Their first concern in the new land was for worship, and even before many of the families had time to build permanent homes, they planned for a church building.

The first "Bethlehem" church building was completed in 1893 under the work of Mr. Pete Johnson, who contracted for $120.00. The land was donated and presently serves as the church cemetery in Scandinavia.

The following year Sunday School was added to the program with Mr. Adolph Lundgren as superintendent. Two events reflect the faith and life of the time. At the time of the dedication of the first, Mr. Frank Hillstrand was delegated to personally ask the T. Eaton Co. for a donation of fifty chairs. He came back with a success story and worshippers were comfortably seated for the dedication. An organ was bought and paid for with $90.00 worth of cordwood.

The second story tells of the first wedding in the new church in 1895. Following a worship service, the congregation learned of wedding plans for Mr. John Sundmark. While the congregation patiently waited at the church most of the afternoon, the groom travelled several miles to get his bride, who must have had only minutes to ready herself for the ceremony. Since the groom was also organist, we wonder if he had to playa dual role at the ceremony that summer afternoon. As faithful people gathered to share the word and sacraments, the Lord added to their number, those who were being saved.

Just before the arrival of the first resident Pastor, B.a.

Berg, a new parsonage was completed under the direction of Mr .. Erick Nystrom. The parsonage was made com­ pletely of hand hewn logs. The whole structure is completely free of nails and was built during the winter of 1897-98 by all voluntary labour. All the corners are dove­ tailed together; even the dividing walls are made of logs, something seldom seen in later buildings. This Scan­ dinavian log parsonage was later moved to the Erickson Centennial Park, to be used as a museum.

There was also a Lutheran Church built in the Danvers district; namely the Bethania church, built on a 1/2 a lot given by Chris Orten (N.E. 17-18-18W), and it was served by the ministers of the Scandinavia Church, Bethlehem congregation. A deacon was appointed for Bethania

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Scandinavia.

congregation who would be in charge of Sunday School. Some of the members transferred to the Scandinavia church and later to Erickson. The property was later turned over to the Scandinavia church. The church was later demolished.

By 1911, funds were secured in sufficient amount to begin construction of a new building a short distance south of the old building. The building committee was Charles Hill, Erik Nystrom, Pete Johnson, Carl J. Johnson and Frank Hillstrand. The new building was

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