Memories Over the Years
Read below and/or click HERE for a .pdf version that includes certain pictures and newspaper articles.
While leaving church one beautiful Sunday in the summer of 2006, Vaughn Schlapkohl asked if we would like to see where the old church building used to be. Being relatively new members, we had heard a little of Faith Swanburg history occasionally and were anxious to learn more. Vaughn took us a few yards southeast of the current church and pointed to some portions of the old foundation in the overgrowth. It was fascinating to look over the area and imagine what was being described.
Keith Moser soon joined us and talk of old times continued to flow from the first parish house to construction of the foundation for our current worship center. After a few minutes, we suggested that these memories should be written down and collected for the future reference of members of the church. Later, we mentioned the idea to others who supported it. We put a request in the “Church in the Woods Newsletter” asking members to write down memories and stories about the congregation and give them to us for making a booklet that would be available for distribution in December.
The pages that follow represent what we received from about 20 different people, booklets distributed at the 30th and 50th anniversary of the congregation, plus selected photos and news clippings from scrapbooks of Vi Hardy. As you read, you may find inconsistencies in the historical accounts. We chose to print what we received rather than trying to verify everything for accuracy.
We thank all who sent in memories that made this collection possible. If you feel inspired to add your own story, you can put it in our church mail box for potential publication in a future edition of the church newsletter.
Shirley and Ken Anderson – December, 2006
Thanks to Pastor John Dehaan for organizing this church so many years ago. It was during the depression years and money was scarce. But he worked hard. He held services in the school house which is now the Town Hall. The first parsonage was a small one room building behind the present church. He and his wife Iva, whom one of our circles is named after, worked hard. They held church, Sunday school, Bible School, Luther League, both adult and regular confirmation classes and much more.
After a larger and more modern parsonage was built, an addition was put on the former one which was used for a church until the present one was built. Many good pastors served over the years. And now, thanks to our present pastor Mar and her husband Bill Korman for all their work, we were able to build on a beautiful new addition which we all appreciate very much.
Sharon LeMay (Satchell)
I grew up in Swanburg and attended Sunday school from kindergarten until confirmation in ninth grade. During ninth grade confirmation classes when we were preparing for confirmation, we would alternate classes between the Swanburg Church and the Crosslake Church. Pastor John Krueger was minister at that time.
We were at the Crosslake Church one evening for class, and it just happened to be Pastor Krueger’s birthday. Well, we had decided the week before to surprise him with a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to him. While some of the kids from the class were in the kitchen trying to light the candles on the cake, it was time for class to start. Most of us were at the table in the next room with Pastor Krueger and waiting to begin class. You could tell that Pastor Krueger was becoming more upset by the minute with the kids that he thought were goofing around in the kitchen.
After impatiently waiting for them, Pastor Krueger yelled for them to get in with the rest of us so that we could start class. He continued to lecture us for several minutes on our spiritual future and how we needed to take this more seriously. Those of us around the table were having a hard time not laughing because we knew what the kids in the kitchen were doing, and that didn’t help because Pastor Krueger then thought we were not taking him seriously. Lucky for all of us, they came out of the kitchen with the cake, candles lit, and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Pastor Krueger. (We affectionately called him PK.)
I moved away from Faith Church many years ago, but attend service when I am in the area. I have so many fond memories of growing up in the church such as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and church dinners. I miss the old bell tower that we played on as kids. Faith Church is a special place for children and I hope today’s kids get the same enjoyment from being a part of the community that I did.
Pastor Mar’s history notations
Excerpts from: Pastor Mar Korman’s paper “Faith Lutheran Church Swanburg History”
Inside and adjacent to the double doors of Faith Lutheran Church Swanburg hangs a plaque listing the names of 34 charter members. Centered at the bottom of the plaque are the words, “They opened the door.” One charter member now living in southern Minnesota travels with her family every Labor Day weekend to worship at Faith. Dedication like hers describes Faith Church’s faithful members then and now.
Because Faith is the only church in Timothy Township, we are considered a community church. Many friends of Faith donated funds and labor when a fellowship hall was added to the church building. The events that precipitated the addition are interesting. We were planning a benefit dinner for the grandson of one our members who had a snowmobile accident and became a paraplegic. Because Faith’s basement was too small to accommodate the number anticipated, Crosslake Lutheran invited us to use their kitchen and fellowship hall. Also, because the boy attended the Catholic Church, I made sure the priest knew what was happening. He gave us his blessing and announced the dinner to his congregation.
After the dinner, as we were cleaning up, I noticed one of our councilmen pacing the length and width of the fellowship hall. About two weeks later, I noticed little stakes pounded into the ground outside our church. Next, the Carlson brothers drew up a simple plan on an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of graph paper. It showed a fellowship hall that was handicap accessible with a ramp to the sanctuary, two bathrooms, two offices, space for long tables for our fund-raising dinners, a beautiful large kitchen, and a utility-furnace room. Volunteer labor accomplished the designing and construction of the building within a year. The sale of the parsonage and donations from the congregation and community paid for the entire addition before it was even finished.
We have since held benefit dinners for a family who lost their home to fire and a member who needed a kidney transplant. Our church secretary sends our newsletter to the “Minneapolis Star and Tribune”. After reading about the transplant in our newsletter, a reporter from the newspaper came to the area and interviewed the woman receiving the transplant and the stepdaughter who donated her kidney. A story complete with pictures was published in the newspaper.
We have served many church dinners since the early seventies, but the one that stands out from the rest is when we had blue potatoes. I had tinted some bedroom curtains blue and used my pressure cooker to do it. I didn’t get all the dye washed out before that first batch of potatoes. That got it all. The girls razzed me about that for a long time.
In November of 1963 the current organist, Elise Murrer, had to leave the area and care for one of her daughters. Julie Moser and I were given the bright idea to play the organ so we would have music for Christmas. She played the tenor and bass lines and I played the soprano and alto lines. We had taken piano lessons together and were used to playing duets.
We practiced like crazy for the first few months and then got to the point where we didn’t think we had to practice that often. We would get to church early enough to go through the hymns a few times and felt that was sufficient. Julie got a job for the summer a year or so later and was only able to be home on Sundays. Since the job was on an island her dad, Harold Moser, had to go pick her up.
One Sunday she was late getting from the island to the mainland and therefore we didn’t have time to practice prior to the worship service starting. I opened the book to the page we were supposed to play and we started playing – but it was an awful sound. I whispered “2 flats!” and she said “two sharps!” I was playing the song on the right page and she was playing the one on the left page. Naturally, it was hysterically funny and we had the worst time trying not to laugh during the whole service.
After church, someone in the congregation said, “I thought you were playing with your mittens on!”
Whenever we had guest pastors for Sunday worship they would do a double take when they saw two organists playing at the same time.
We weren’t planning on it being a lifetime commitment, but for me that’s what it turned out to be. Julie graduated from high school three years later and moved to Minneapolis, which left me alone on the organ bench where I have been ever since except for the two years Loni Anderson played after I “retired”. When Loni moved away I got the job back again. Joyce Nielsen gave me a six-month vacation one year and that was a welcome relief. When you figure that all out I have been playing the organ at Faith for 40 some years. My, how time flies!
Pastor Mar: Unorthodox Baptism
In the spring of 2005 young men from our congregation were putting steel siding on the outside of our church. Two of them were members of our congregation. I did not know the other worker.
About lunchtime the young man I did not know came into my office followed by Tracy. The young man removed his hat, smiled, and said, “Hi, Pastor. Do you baptize people?
“I sure do!” I replied.
“Well, I’ve never been baptized, he said.
“Would you like to be?” I responded.
“Yes,” he said.
“When would be a good time?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders, so I said, “How about now!” He readily agreed.
I instructed Tracy to take this young man into the sanctuary while I filled a pitcher of water for the baptismal font. When I entered the kitchen, I did not notice the sign on the faucet that said, “Sprayer is stuck in an open position.” The result was a very wet Pastor! I entered the sanctuary carrying the water and realized that I was not wearing my clerical collar. I also decided not to use the liturgy from The Lutheran Book of Worship. Instead I said a prayer and talked about the love of God in Jesus Christ and baptized the young man in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It was a joyous occasion for us that afternoon. Yes, it was unorthodox. But there are times in ministry when a pastoral decision is appropriate. My response to him was purely pastoral. These requests may be the work of the Holy Spirit, who calls gathers and enlightens us all. That, for me, is the heart of the matter.
Gloria Goldenstein, Howard Peterson, Annette Shetka, and Arlyn Carlson
In the middle and late 1940s there were a lot more teenagers in Swanburg than there are today. Several families had moved away for defense work during WWII and most of them moved back when the war ended in 1945.
Rev. Raymond Johnson had become the third pastor to serve Faith Lutheran Church. He and his wife Carmen were living in the parsonage located on the church grounds. Many of the Luther League activities were held at the parsonage. As we recall, there were about 20 rambunctious members. Pastor Johnson must have had a good mental health counselor!
In the winter of 1946 we were invited by the youth group of the Maple Hill Church west of Pine River to a skiing / sledding / tobogganing party along with another Luther
League from Pequot. (It was not Pequot Lakes at that time.) About four car loads of us went from Swanburg. The roads were really slippery and about three miles from the church, one car slid into the ditch and rolled over. No one was hurt in the accident, but the driver of the car, Eldon Peterson, might not have fared too well when he got home that night and had to explain to his parents.
We also recall that one of the Pequot High School basketball players broke his leg that day. But it didn’t help Pine River High School. We lost both our games to them anyway.
Please forgive us if we have any of the facts wrong. Remember this all happened over 60 years ago! But we guess we can recall things from those earlier years better than things we did five minutes ago or “what in the world did I come into this room after?”
I remember climbing the bell tower and hiding up in the top when playing hide and go seek after Sunday school or church services. I also remember playing soccer with Pastor Henneman and friends after Sunday school and services.
As an enthusiastic youngster, a friend and I got into a bit of mischief one Sunday. We somehow concluded that it would be fun to take the gas caps off a truck parked near the old parsonage and throw them into the woods. I remember being caught while hiding up in one of the big White Pine trees. Not that it makes any real difference; but we were informed that we had thrown the caps to the pastors’ truck into the woods. My friend and I spent the better part of that Sunday searching for those gas caps. That decision left quite an impression on me, if you know what I mean….it was indeed a very poor decision.
I remember the church having an ice cream social and I looked forward to attending Sunday school when ice cream was used as an incentive.
I was confirmed by Pastor Henneman at Faith Lutheran church.
I married my wife (Anicia) at Faith Lutheran church, Pastor Barb officiated. I remember when my best man was asked to present the rings and he reached into the pocket of his suit and pulled out gum wrappers and lint and had to dig around in his hand to find the rings. I was shocked at first, I thought he had lost them. I looked up at him and he was more shocked and nervous than I was. When I saw them through the stuff in his hand I almost laughed aloud.
When we moved here from Bloomington about 37 years ago, we joined the church. Erik, my oldest one of five children, was the first to take confirmation classes. We lived just north of the Fifty Lakes Store. Colleen Raph was in Erik’s group. We took turns driving the kids for the classes.
One evening, I drove, and as I passed Goldenstein’s, my ’58 Ford made a terrible noise. The lights on the dash all came on, and the car slowed down. Even though I was older, I was a fairly new driver. I shifted into second and then back to high and continued to Raph’s. I asked Bertella to take the kids on. I had shut off the car. I called home and said if I’m not back in 10 minutes, come look for me on the road.
I restarted the car and drove back home. I parked under the yard light. My husband came out, lifted the hood, and you could see the oil pan. I had blown two pistons out through the side of the block. We took the other vehicle and I showed where it had made the noise. On the road lay the two pistons. We picked them up and kept them for a long time. I said being a late learner, I guess that the car and I, neither one knew, it shouldn’t have run after that. It shows the good Lord protects us all at all times.
Vacation Bible School has always been an important part of Faith Lutheran Church, Swanburg ever since I was a kid. There are many memories associated with VBS. When I was 16 and Julie Moser was 13, we became Glorine Moser’s “helpers” for Bible school. She read the stories and Julie and I did the crafts, music and recess. We had lots of kids in Bible school in those days and there were always about three of Dale & Betty Peterson’s boys in that pre-school class. Music was an important part of the Bible School Program and we always made sure the kids had several songs to sing for their parents.
We played Farmer in the Dell, Drop the Hankie, Duck Duck Goose, London Bridge, Tag and all kinds of fun games outside with the children. Our “room” was in the parish house, which at that time was back behind the church. It was the original “church” building until the present sanctuary could be built. There was a piano in there and we could practice with the preschoolers without interrupting any other classes. The average attendance for this class in those days was about 10 or 12.
While we were doing crafts one day, one of the little kids was picking his nose and I happened to see what he pulled out of it. Julie didn’t see where this projection on the end of his finger came from, but she thought it was a chicken bone and wondered where he had gotten it. I was laughing too hard to try to tell her what it was and where it came from but managed to squeak out “Get a Kleenex!” Then she knew! Glorine’s comment was “Land sakes.”
Most of our growing up days at Faith Lutheran were accompanied with extreme laughter. It seems like when you are supposed to be quiet and reverent something always makes you laugh.
George and Jeannette Ingberg
We got married at Faith Lutheran Church, April. 23,1955. When I talked to Pastor Weeden about marrying us, he said he wanted to talk to us first. He wanted us to be sure we were in love and it was not just physical attraction. I showed him the picture of George with his boot camp haircut. He said, “It must be love!”
Eldon Peterson, as told to his son Dave
I remember that services were in the old schoolhouse before the church was established, and attending church at the parsonage before the building of the church.
I remember pastor Balseley’s (sp) sermons really captured my attention, and that he used his visit to Carlsbad canyon in one of his sermons.
I remember the digging of the church basement; horse drawn slips were used to move the soil.
I was there the Sunday that they set the cornerstone for the church. There was a box put in the block on the northeast corner, I’m not sure what it contained.
Reverend Dehaan and his wife Iva stayed in Jim Coppes’s cabin on the north side of Trout Lake.
My uncle Henry Ruud built the altar that currently stands in the church.
I was confirmed at Faith Lutheran. At that time confirmation was celebrated like a graduation, you needed to be dressed properly. My mother and dad (Clarence and Clara) went to Brainerd to get me a new suit. Suits were hard to come by back then so they bought a suit a couple of sizes larger so I could grow into it. I hated that suit.
The whole community was involved in putting in the sub-floor of the church. There was a nailing contest held, one for the women and one for the men. I think my mother won the women’s contest.
I remember that the trusses that make up the church roof were copied from another church. Several of the church men went to that church to copy the design. One of those men was my father Clarence who was involved in the building of the church.
Shirley and I were married at Faith and Pastor Weeden officiated.
I remember Anna Anderson taught my Sunday school.
I remember when my uncle Henry Ruud passed away, Catholic priest Father Foley gave the eulogy. Henry had built the stone chapel at what is now Camp Foley.
Many years ago, in 1961, we had the largest confirmation class since the first adult class in the history of Faith Lutheran Church. There were 13 of us; Daryl Proffit, Jon Moser, David & Janis Satherlie, Shirley, Sue and Kenny Staples, Fred (Butch) Satchell, Leo and Harold Fuhrer, Edna Freeman, Terry Raph and Greg Goldenstein. The pastor at that time was Pastor Richard Quentin Elvee. He was single, fresh out of seminary and he got stuck with a two-point parish with a bunch of baby boomers for his first Confirmation class.
We were not what you would call dedicated or co-operative when it came to studying, and we were not exactly well behaved. Pastor Elvee tried many different techniques to get us to study. Bribery; a pair of skis for whoever got the most test questions right. It ended up being whoever got the least wrong and David was the winner. Separation; confirmands of one family met with the pastor each day after school. That was how we ended up.
As a class, we were always asking if he was afraid if he might forget something during worship on Sunday mornings. He never had and wasn’t worried. The next Sunday as he gave the benediction, he forgot the words. I guess you would call that the power of suggestion. He looked at all of us sitting together with a blank stare.
We loved Pastor Elvee and he was great fun. We even had a beatnik party for Luther League. One day after Confirmation class he packed all 13 of us in his car to take us home and we kept urging him to go faster on the curve by Camp Knutson. We ended up in the ditch. No one got hurt because we were all packed in like sardines and couldn’t move or get thrown around.
Pastor Elvee lived in the parsonage at Faith before moving to the new one on Cross Lake, built by Crosslake Lutheran, the other half of our two-point parish. Our confirmation classes were held in conjunction with Crosslake Lutheran confirmands. Although we studied together we were confirmed separately in our own congregations. Pastor Elvee left the Swanburg/Crosslake Lutheran Parish after two short years and became the chaplain of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. I think he had his fill of confirmation classes! He was also loved and adored by the college students at Gustavus.
I remember being sent to Synod as a delegate from Faith Lutheran Church, Swanburg and running into Pastor Elvee at Gustavus Adolphus College where the synod assembly was held. He said, “They sent YOU!” Funny thing, he said about the same thing when he visited Swanburg for church one Sunday morning in about 1972. He looked over at the organ bench and said “YOU are the organist?” I think the poor man was in shock. Must have been because of that confirmation class.
Julie Moser Bergman, as told to Shirley Anderson
The following information came from Julie Moser Bergman. She was at church to set up for a family holiday party Dec. 15th while Ken and I were there to use the copy machine for pictures included in this booklet. I asked her how the various families at church were related to her and to each other. I made notes while she talked and learned much about the family connections and also about charter members of the congregation. This is what she told me. I’ll start with charter members. Many are relatives of Julie. Names of charter members are in bold print.
Mrs. Cecil G. (Anna) Anderson was the superintendent of the Sunday School for many years. William C Torgerson, married to Emma C. Houston, were Julie’s Great Uncle and Aunt. Alan Houston, Emma’s son, was Julie’s second cousin. Mrs. Edward B. Stoutenburg, Jr. (Eleanor Houston) was Julie’s Great Aunt. Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Peterson (Grace Houston) were Julie’s Grandparents. Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Peterson (Clara) were Julie’s Great Uncle and Aunt. Eldon Peterson is their son. Eldon and wife, Shirley, now live in the home of his parents. Oakley Ruud was the son of Henry and Carrie (Peterson) Ruud, Julie’s great Uncle and Aunt. Henry Ruud made the altar and pulpits still in use in the church. Kenneth Peterson was Julie’s Uncle. He married Katherine Moser, Julie’s Aunt. It was the first wedding in the new church. Gordon Peterson is their oldest son. He went to Minneapolis Central High where he graduated in the same class as we did (Shirley and Ken Anderson). As Julie says, it’s a small world.
Virginia Peterson is Julie’s Aunt and Godmother. Roy Vernon Raph, Sr. and Mary were the parents of Donny Raph. Harold and Glorine (Peterson) Moser were Julie’s parents. Julie owns their home place on Swanburg Road. Mr. & Mrs. Marvin Peterson (Nellie) were Julie’s Great Uncle and Aunt. They were the parents of Howard and Don Peterson. Howard and wife, Evie, live on his parent’s home place. Raymond and Helen (Robinson) Peterson were Julie’s Uncle and Aunt. Katie and Mike Shetka live in their former house. Mrs. Henry Goldenstein (Blanche Moser) was Julie’s Aunt. Bertella Raph is her daughter. Katherine Moser is married to Kenneth Peterson. They are Julie’s Aunt and Uncle.
Jerry and Margaret Miller were not related to Julie. They lived about 1 mile east of the church. Cecil G. Anderson was married to Anna, the first charter member listed. He was a fine carpenter and wonderful cook. Cecil and Anna were Hope Anderson’s in-laws. Mrs. Lyle Stevens (Erma Moser) was Julie’s Aunt and Godmother. Mrs. John Dehaan (Iva) was married to the first pastor of Faith, John Dehaan. The Iva Dehaan Circle was named after Iva. Mr. & Mrs. John Heemstra lived about 1 mile east of church; David and Anicia Peterson live on the old Heemstra place. Mrs. John N. Stevens (Mabel) lived about 1 mile west of church. Gene and Beth Peterson now live in Mabel Steven’s place. Theodore Anderson was the brother of Cecil Anderson. Information was not known about charter member Norbert Filsmeyer.
The following are Julie’s comments about the relationships within the Peterson, Moser and Carlson families.
Peter and Ella Peterson, Julie’s Great Grandparents, moved to Swanburg with their nine children from Wisconsin. They settled here because “the water was good”. Their farm was on the corner of Swanburg Road and Hwy 1. It was later divided into three farms that are still owned by family descendents. Marvin and Nellie’s farm on the west side is owned by their son Howard and wife, Evie. Clarence and Clara’s, the original farm, is owned by their son Eldon and wife, Shirley. The farm of Oscar and Grace, on the south side, is now owned by grandson, David Peterson.
Oscar and Grace Peterson had nine children, three of whom married Moser siblings. The Ernest Moser family of eleven children moved to Swanburg from Pipestone, MN. Five Moser siblings married three Peterson siblings and one cousin. The marriages are as follows: Harold Moser married Glorine Peterson. Katherine Moser married Kenneth Peterson. Marie Moser married Warren Peterson. Margie Moser married Alan Houston, a cousin to the Peterson siblings. Later, after Warren Peterson’s wife Marie passed away, he married another Moser sibling, Pearl Moser. Two other Moser siblings, Blanche and Lucille, married brothers Henry (Hank) and John Goldenstein.
Roy and Mary Raph moved to Swanburg from the Pipestone area, too. They had five children: Gerald, Donald, Merlin, Joanne and Arvid. Raphs ran the local store across from the Old Grade Road. That’s where all the kids got ice cream cones.
Hjalmer (Shorty) and Hannah Carlson lived north of Hwy 1 on Swanburg Road, Shorty drove the school bus for many years. They had five children. Vern, married Eileen Hoover, (Julie’s second cousin), Alan. Judy married Gerald Raph (now deceased). Donald (Bubby) married Arlyn Young. Their fifth son, David is now deceased.
After hearing all of this from Julie, it was easier for newcomers like us to understand why so many church members know each other so well and seem to be related. It’s because they actually are related.
Julie also talked about the excavation for the church foundation.
The members of Faith wanted to build a church, but had a relatively small amount of money. They didn’t know how they could raise more money, so they just started by digging the basement. My brother, Keith Moser was there and watched the process. He said our Dad, Harold Moser, used a big double handled scoop and would shove it into the ground filling it with dirt. Keith remembers three teams of horses driven my Grandpa, Oscar Peterson, Marvin Peterson and Johnny Heemstra, would be hitched on to the digger full of dirt and haul it away to dump the dirt. The church was built with nearly all volunteer labor and donated materials. My Dad told us that Pastor Dehaan helped put the beams in place using ropes.
Before the church was built, the congregation used the schoolhouse in Swanburg and then moved to the parish hall that sat behind the parsonage. The first pews used in the church were from the parish house. After the church was built, the parish house was still used for some Bible School classes.
Faith Lutheran has been big part of my life. My siblings, Keith, Glenyce, Gary, Bub and Jon and I were all baptized and confirmed at Faith. Bub, Jon and I were married there, too. Growing up, we had a beaten path through woods to church. We rarely used the road to go to Bible School. We went there to play with our friends as well as Sunday and Bible School and doing the yard work there, too. It seemed like my Mom was always doing something for church. I treasure my memories of the many dear folks that I have known by belonging to Faith.
Marion and Joe Dahl
We moved up to Pine River about 1973. We came from Golden Valley, Mpls. Can’t quite remember the date we joined Faith. As first, we joined First Lutheran in town. Then, three couples of us decided to come to Faith. The other couples were Stu and Ann Atsatt and Don and Nell Johnson.
Pastor Henneman was the pastor at the time. Soon after it was voted to put in stained glass windows and we were privileged to have one in honor of our son Alex.
Then a trip to Israel was planned and we joined the group. The year of that trip was 1985. Of all the trips we’ve taken, that trip was the most interesting. We had an exceptional guide that Loyl Stromberg still corresponds with. We got more acquainted with Pastor and Mrs. Henneman.
As we got more accustomed to a small congregation, we liked it more and more. Soon Joe was on the council and I joined the Iva Dehaan Circle. I started helping with quilt making. We met once a week. The quilts went down to Mpls. to Lutheran World Relief. From there, they were sent all over where needed. We had fun working together. But after I got sick, we had to quit. Also, it was hard to get them to Mpls. There are lots of big squares to be used sometime.
Then I took the financial secretary job and kept it until 2005. Ann Atsatt had the job before me. It is now held by Carol Malzahn. It was a job I thoroughly loved.
We’ve had several pastors while we’ve been members, but Pastor Mar is a gem. She goes the extra mile whatever she does. She has visited me many times and is so sincerely concerned about all of us. Our little church is like an extended family and concerned about each other. We’ve certainly enjoyed being a member of Faith all these years.
Pastor Mar: Offering
During my years of service at Faith I’ve forgotten or skipped over the Offering on Sunday mornings.
After the second incident, President Alan Houston kidded me and said, “I’ve instructed the ushers to have a large sign made saying “OFFERING” they can hold up from the back of the church.
The sign was never made, but it might be something to consider for the future!
Katherine Moser Peterson
I am Katherine (Moser) Peterson. I was asked to write up something about the history of Faith Lutheran Church. I lived in Swanburg at the time, but since moved to Minneapolis. At that time, we had services in the school house and later in the parsonage.
My husband Kenneth, son of Oscar Peterson, drove the horses and helped to dig the hole for the basement. He also hauled lumber to build the church that is there now.
Pastor and Mrs. Dehaan arrived and surveyed the Swanburg community regarding interest in establishing a Lutheran parish. So, in time the church was build. A petition with forty-two signatures was submitted. A class of thirteen adults from the charter roll of 34 was confirmed. I was one of those in that class. None of us had been baptized. So, Pastor Dehaan came to my dad’s farm (My dad was Ernest Moser.) and baptized us over there.
A few years later, we moved to Minneapolis and are here yet. I do come to Swanburg often as I have friends and relatives there. So, I enjoy attending the church. There are many new faces of course, but it seems like home to me.
When I read the Newsletter request for memories or stories of past years, I wondered, what is my story? Do I have one? Not really. But then again, my “in-laws” helped to start Faith Church. Anna Anderson was a very special lady. She was a “prayer-warrior” and seemed to be a part of everything at Faith. She was Sunday School Leader and belonged to Ladies Aid (as it was called then) plus everything else. I remember the 1st Christmas Party I attended in the basement of the church. Anna read a story from “Guideposts” written by Van Varner. Her opening comment “you all know Van Varner”. I had never heard of him or knew anything about him. But after her presentation that was so interesting, I made it a point to read more of his writings. As I said earlier, she was Sunday School Leader and I have a book that belonged to her. It is the “Children’s Hymnal and Service Book”. Anna’s notes and some prayers are written inside the covers and on blank pages in the book. There are many who will probably recall Sunday School and Vacation Bible School with Anna.
What about Cecil? His expertise was in construction and he helped with the building of the church. I became part of this family in 1946 when I married Robert. We transferred to Pine River Church for a period, but like others, we drifted back.
In closing, this quote was one that Anna had written in the “Children’s Hymnal”. It is by Louise Clark: “Lord Jesus, keep me ever aware of my nothingness so that I may magnify your greatness”. This is something we all should claim.
Our family has long been a part of Faith Lutheran Church, and I have many fond memories, several of which are humorous. Two in particular come to mind.
My daughter was married at Faith Church when John Krueger was pastor. The day of the wedding, a longtime friend of the family decided to pull a prank on the groom to be. Unknown to anyone, he borrowed the groom’s shoes and wrote in large white letters on the heel of the left shoe HE and on the heel of the right shoe LP. When the bride and groom knelt before Pastor Krueger, the whole congregation could read HELP written on the bottom of his shoes. Pastor Krueger continued without missing a beat even though there were several members of the congregation laughing and pointing at the shoes.
There was another time when Pastor Krueger was at Faith Church and my husband was a member of the church council. My husband was well known for playing pranks on people and some members of the congregation decided to have some fun of their own, although as it was, this turned out to really affect Pastor Krueger more. It was communion Sunday and when the altar was set up for communion in the middle of the tray of small communion cups of wine and grape juice was a small 8” bottle of Mogan David grape wine with a name tag on the front that said “For Dick Satchell” on it. When the time came for Pastor Krueger to lift the communion cloth and he saw that bottle of wine sitting there, only a select few members of the congregation knew why he was having such a hard time continuing. All you could see was his shoulders shaking and several pauses due to his inability to talk from trying not to laugh out loud.
Faith Church has always been, and continues to be a very special and important part of my life. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have created and continue to create these wonderful memories for me.
Shirley and Ken Anderson
We moved “up north” in 2003 and visited area Lutheran Churches. We first came to Faith because the wife of our Bloomington pastor told us that they sometimes attended services here when at their nearby cabin. We saw the advertisement for the turkey dinner, came and enjoyed a delicious meal and attended a Sunday service soon thereafter. We happened to sit behind Bonnie and Vaughn Schlapkohl who immediately turned around, introduced themselves and made us feel welcome. We visited a bit more on the way out of church.
The next day, Pastor Mar called. She asked if we would be interested in membership at Faith. We told her we were visiting other churches in the area before deciding. Her next words had a significant impact. She said, “In the meantime, should you have need for pastoral care, here is my phone number.” Later, after visiting all the churches, we made the decision to join Faith. We felt comfortable here. We know we made the right decision.
Vi Hardy Faith Lutheran Church Memories 11 – 06
I visited with Vi Hardy one morning in November to find out about her memories about Faith throughout the years. The information that follows came from notes I took that day.
Vi Raph married Clifford Hardy. Their daughter Maxine is married to Gaylund King and they live in Blaine.
Judy Carlson married Gerald Raph. Their children are Jerry, Lynn, Gary, Penny Raph Schneider and Brenda Raph Sullivan.
Original members of the Faith Ladies Aid included Helen Peterson, Glorine Moser, Clara Peterson, Nellie Peterson, Grace Peterson, Fern Schlapkohl, Anna Anderson, Emma Houston, Mabel Houston, Mabel Stevens, Mary Raph, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Heemstra.
Joining later were Nora Stotts, Della Deshayes, Sue Vargo and Hannah Carlson. Vi, who says “I just helped”, is the only member still living.
Someone in the Ladies Aid was responsible for sending Christmas cards to all visitors who wrote their address when signing the church visitor registry. The women made things to sell at the annual church dinners. Items such as stamped for embroidery dishtowels, pillowcases and dresser scarves were purchased in town by Iva Dehaan and each woman selected what she wanted to work on for the sale. Fabric was purchased for the sewing of blouses, dresses and other clothing. Vi can visualize the material yet. Glorine Moser was known for checking the quality of the sewing. Vi made a dress once that Glorine looked over especially well and then asked Vi what size it was. She was disappointed that the size 12 dress was both too short and too small for herself. The handmade items were very popular and sold well. Funds were earmarked for needs of the church. The circle also made quilts for charity.
The second circle started when the older ladies were cleaning one day with the help of their daughters. Vi remembers Janis Rubey Allen being there with the rug cleaner. Other young helpers included Arlyn Carlson, Judy Raph, and Margaret Ann Peterson, daughter of Clara Peterson. Bertella Raph and her daughter Holly Kline made banners. Holly’s daughter Ashley was confirmed last year (2005).
Behind the site of the current church was the parsonage. And, behind that was a little church building. The fund-raising dinners were served out of there. They were started in 1938 – 39 (just after Vi got married) to get money to build the church. Food was put on large platters and served family style to the diners who sat at picnic tables. The meal featured the all you can eat option. Vi remembers being responsible for preparing a chicken that had to first have its head cut off to kill it. She then had to boil the chicken before frying it to get a nice crust on the skin. She also needed to peel 6 qt. of potatoes.
Pastor Dehaan conducted church services in the school house that is now the Timothy Township Town Hall. He would wait for latecomers before starting the service. At one point, the congregation was asked to vote to decide what denomination they would be. Vi remembers that Warren Peterson voted for Lutheran and his mother “gave him the dickens”. The other option to choose was non-denominational.
Vi was 18 years old when she and Clifford were married in 1938 in the old, little church.
Confirmation classes were held in the parsonage. She was confirmed in the new church. Vi thinks Margie Moser Houston was in the confirmation class ahead of her.
When the congregation moved into the new church in 1940, it was located behind the parsonage. Henry Ruud and Cecil Anderson (Hope Anderson’s father in law) were the carpenters who made the altar rails. Vi’s husband Clifford and his brother in law planned to cut up the old church building and transfer it to their property. But Clifford got sick and it wasn’t done. The wood eventually rotted away.
Vi remembers when a tornado hit the church on June 16, 1966. She has many photos from the newspaper to show the damage.
Vi’s scrapbook had photos and a newspaper report about the tornado. Copies from the scrapbook follow this report. Copies of the photos of the confirmation classes, the wedding of Bertilla Goldenstein and Donald J. Raph and “The 30th Anniversary” booklet also came from Vi’s scrapbook.
Stoutenburg, one of the first members of the church moved away but wrote a poem for an August 1986 church anniversary celebration. She is buried in the Swanburg Cemetery.
1986 Poem by Mrs. Edward B. Stoutenburg, JR.
(Sung to the tune of “Springtime in the Rockies”)
When its anniversary time at Faith Lutheran, you will find us heading home.
To a little place called Swanburg, where in our youth we used roam.
We will find there are changes, stained glass windows and padded pews.
The old bell tower is missing, but the bell is still in use.
There are some faces missing. We all knew them very well.
But they are here in spirit, to join us as we tell
Of the good times we had together, as we strove to build our Church.
Through good times and through bad times, amid the Pine trees and the Birch.
So now we are here in Swanburg; we have gathered from far and wide.
But no matter where we have come from, it’s in Swanburg we would rather abide.
So instead of wishing we all could stay, and feeling a wee bit blue,
Let’s sing this song with all our might, Oh! Swanburg we all love you.
Cornerston Letter Transcription from Les Peterson
Les Peterson read the Newsletter request for stories and history of the church. He sent the following transcription of a letter found in the church cornerstone box when it was opened. The original letter was hand-written, and was not signed or dated. Les wrote, “I was never quite able to determine who wrote it for sure, but it was probably either Pastor Dehaan or Pastor Johnson. In 2002, I showed a copy of the original letter to Pastor Dehaan’s widow Iva Dehaan, and she said that the handwriting was not that of her husband. So, I’m assuming it was probably written by Pastor Johnson. (Iva Dehaan died at an Alexandria nursing home in 2004 at the age of 98.)”
A history of the Congregation
On October 15, 1935, graduate John Dehaan of Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary, Minneapolis appeared on the field and spent a week surveying the Swanburg community. Calls were made at all the homes in the community in an endeavor to collect as much information as possible pertinent to the religious situation in the community. A petition with forty-two signatures was submitted through him asking the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest to assist in organizing and sustaining an English Lutheran congregation here.
Mr. Dehaan returned to Minneapolis and presented the petition to the President of Synod, Dr. R.H. Gerberding. He also presented a full report of his canvaas at the same time and this was discussed at a meeting of the Central Conference Committee of the Northwest Synod Home Mission Board at which Mr. Dehaan was present to explain the details of the report. Any action by the synod at that time was impossible until clearance could be given by the intersynodical Home Mission Council. This would be the cause of at least several month’s delay, so Mr. Dehaan feeling that the time was ripe and the need was great, decided to return on his own initiative to assist in organizing an independent English Lutheran congregation which might later seek entrance to the Synod.
Mr. and Mrs. Dehaan arrived in Swanburg on November 5th and located in the James Coppess cabin on Trout Lake. The first regular service was held in the schoolhouse on Sunday, November 10th, Martin Luther’s birthday.
Regular services were held each Lord’s Day. Several special meetings were called and well attended for discussing the principles and process of organization. Pastor Dehaan began a course of adult instruction as well as children catechetical class and everyone was invited to attend and to receive instruction regardless of their intentions to join or not to join a congregation.
On November 26th, a committee met with the Mission Pastor to draw up a constitution for the proposed congregation. On Sunday, December 8th following the regular services, the constitution was read before the congregation and no objections were voiced, the document was declared ready for the signatures of those desiring charter membership in the congregation. The following week at a meeting following Divine Services, all adults eligible to become members of the congregation were given a vote in the selection of a Church Council.
Pastor Dehaan received the hearty cooperation and support of the whole community from the time of his arrival. The weekly offerings were supplemented by many generous gifts of vegetables, groceries, produce and meat, beside his supply of wood.
An official call was extended to Mr. Dehaan the first week in January and was immediately accepted. The Pastor was ordained by the Synod of the Northwest on February 12, 1936.
In accord with the constitution adopted, a request for entrance into the Synod of the Northwest of the United Lutheran Church in America was made and the Synod’s committee recommended that Faith Congregation be accepted at the next convention of the Synod in St. Paul, Minnesota in May of 1936.
March 27th was set as the date for a “Logging Bee” and a good number of logs were soon on their way to the mill. The lumber was to be converted either by barter or construction into a dwelling for the Pastor.
Palm Sunday, April 5th, was the day of adult confirmation and a class of thirteen adults from the charter roll were confirmed by Pastor Dehaan. Mr. Theodore Anderson had constructed two fine altar rails to beautify our service which was held in the Swanburg School. On Good Friday, the first Holy Communion Service was held for the congregation. A set of fine silver communion vessels had been given to the congregation by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Waterloo, Wisconsin.
On Easter Sunday, the congregation worshiped together as a completely organized congregation in the unity of faith. The Charter communicant membership numbers thirty-four, not including the Pastor.
On April 27th, the congregation met for formal incorporation under the laws of the
State in order to be able to acquire and hold property as a corporate body.
At the meeting of the Synod of the Northwest in Holy Trinity Church, St. Paul, May 5 – 7, 1936, a new chapter in the history of Faith Congregation of Swanburg was begun. It was at this convention that we were officially received into the Synod. It was also here that we received first general notice concerning the nature of the work that was being done. The spirit of the work found harmony in the dominant missionary spirit of the Synod. Mr. H. Torrey Walker, a representative of the American Board of Missions volunteered to supply Parish School Hymnals, which answered a most important need in the work. Mr. J.K. Jensen, treasurer of the synod, volunteered on his own initiative to raise ten dollars a month to assist Rev. Dehaan in his work for the remainder of the year 1936. Mr. Ivan Ringstad of St. Paul became so much interested in the work from its presentation at the convention that he supplied many helps for the Daily Vacation Bible School and upon a visit to the field, offered to interest other friends and so financed the work of providing a parsonage and further backing as soon as work might be started on a church building.
The month of June saw a square two-acre plot purchased from George Peterson for twenty-five dollars per acre and paid for by the Swanburg Ladies Aid, and upon it erected the temporary quarters for Pastor and Mrs. Dehaan. The site is located on the south side of the County Highway just a quarter of a mile east of the school house now used as a place of meeting. The building was erected from mature lumber and intended later to be used as a garage and woodshed for the Pastor.
On Pentecost Sunday May 31, 1936, ten young people were added to the communing membership of the congregation by confirmation. The confirmed membership was now forty-four. The baptized membership was seventy-eight.
Rev. and Mrs. Dehaan conducted a successful Daily Vacation Bible School during the first two weeks of June with an enrollment of 39.
Sunday, June 28th, was set as the date for Pastor Dehaan’s installation. Dr. R. H. Gerbering, President of Synod, was assisted in the service by Rev. A. C. P. Hayes and Rev. P. L. Wetzler. The service of formal induction of a congregation into Synod was also used at the time. Rev. Hayes delivered the charge to the pastor and Dr. Gerberding, the charge to the congregation.
The building program received a bad setback when the brush fire north of Swanburg raged for a week steady and consumed much of the season’s hay that was already in stacks. Thus, not only a week of strenuous firefighting was required but those who lost feed which was so much needed for the coming winter, were immeasurable set back.
In May 1939 Pastor Dehaan received a call from Grace Lutheran church, Alden, Minnesota which he accepted.
Juluis F. Masted was called to be the second Pastor of Faith Ev. Lutheran Church. Pastor Masted arrived in Swanburg to take up his duties on July 7, 1939. He was not installed until August. Dr. R. H. Gerberding delivered the charge to the congregation and Prof. A. C. P. Hayes delivered the charge to the Pastor.
When Pastor Masted arrived in Swanburg the Parsonage and Parish House were both in need of paint and as the members were too busy with their own summer work, Pastor Masted volunteered to paint the buildings and so with the help of his good wife, the job was completed in about three weeks.
Shortly after Pastor Masted became pastor of Faith Church plans were made to begin the building of a new Church but it was not until April 1940 that anything was done. A few days were spent in excavating the basement which was 26×50 but it was not completed until in September 1940 when the forms were built and the concrete poured making a foundation 8 inches wide by 5 feet deep. On top of the concrete foundation, rock faced blocks were laid measuring approximately 42 inches above the ground. Plans were made to continue right on that Fall with the erection of the building but winter set in before plans could materialize. Nothing more was done until May 1941 and at the time of the cornerstone laying by Dr. R. H. Gerberding, President of the N.W. Synod, the floor has been laid and the studdings are erected also about 1/3 of the walls are boarded up.
The reason for the slow progress was because we are depending entirely on donated labor, as we do not have the necessary funds to hire the work done and although it will take longer this way I am sure it will be more appreciated than if it came too easy. We hope that when the building is completed we will have no debts for which we give God the thanks and praise.
We wish to thank the kind friends who have contributed financially toward our building and to those faithful men who have given of their time and energy in the building of this Church. May God bless you and reward you in His own way.
We thank God for making it possible to have a Church in the Community in which to worship the Triune God and we pray that God will keep this Church true to the Gospel with the Lord Jesus Christ as its cornerstone.
And so “In Faith of Jesus Christ, we do now lay this cornerstone In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost that here true faith, the fear of God and brotherly love may abide and that this place may be set apart to the preaching of the gospel, the administration of the Holy Sacraments and the invocation and praise of the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God World without end. Amen.