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Messiah Lutheran Church 1881-1931

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Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [Page 42]


Pastor. A. B., Bethany College, 1903; B. D., Augustana Theological Seminary, 1906; ordained Lutheran ministry, 1906; post graduate work, University of Idaho, 1921-1922 (1½ years). Pastor, Marquette, Michigan, 1906-1908; Bethesda church, Chicago, Illinois, 1908-1910. Assaria, Kansas, 1910-1914; Marquette, Kansas, 1914-1921; Moscow, Idaho, 1921-1925; Elim English and Luther Memorial Churches in Minneapolis, Minn., 1925-1929; Trinity church in New York City, 1929—. Secretary of Board Old Peoples' Home, Lindborg, Kansas. Member of city council and president, Assaria, Kansas. President Salina Mission District; Faculty club, University of Idaho. President Moscow Ministerial Association; President Spokane Mission District; Member of Mission Board, Columbia Conference; Pastor for the Lutheran students in Idaho University and Washington State College.

Present address, New York, N. Y.

[Page 43] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church

To Our Dear Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette. Peace be within thy walls. Ps. 122:7.

Happily did I receive your kind invitation to be present at your Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration and to write a "little greeting" for your "Anniversary Album." Gladly shall I comply with your wishes.

Messiah Church in Marquette is "my first love." You called me to be your Pastor while I was yet a student in the Seminary. Before I could accept that call I was on my knees in prayer to God for His guidance. It was no small matter to succeed the President of the Illinois Conference, the gifted and well known Pastor and Preacher, Dr. F. A. Linder. But you received me very kindly and you had great forbearance with my inexperience and short-comings.

Think of how time is fleeting! Already fifty years since you were organized as a Church and it is twenty-five years since you called me to he your Pastor. It seems like yesterday when I was with you at your Twenty-Fifth Anniversary, your Silver Jubilee, just about a month previous to the time when I began my ministry in Marquette.

It was about midsummer when we, my young bride and I, "just married'', came to the "Paradise City of the North", to build our new home and begin life in the service of the Lord and to serve you, our dear Messiah people in Marquette. We were happy in your service and in serving the Lord and to win souls for Christ and His Church.

You gave us a very fine reception. How well I remember my first reception as a Pastor! A beautiful evening. The church decorated and well filled with the kindest people in every bench. Our good friend, K. M. Holmberg (now pastor), who served as supply-pastor during the vacancy, was master of ceremonies, and he acquitted himself beautifully. And candidate Carl D. Bostrom, (now pastor) who served as my assistant "student pastor", spoke on behalf of the Church organizations.

My first sermon as ordained Pastor, I gave in your Church, third Sunday after Trinity, my initial sermon, "The Call to Discipleship." To my dying day I shall remember that morning service. I prayed to God that He would use me to win disciples for Jesus, and that has ever since been the purpose of my preaching—to save souls. I hope and

Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [Page 44]

pray that Jesus still has many true and honest disciples in our Church in Marquette.

All the services in the Church were usually well attended by young and old. You were willing to come and hear the Gospel Message proclaimed by your young Pastor, and many were willing to do as the Word of God directed them. God had, and I hope He still has, some very faithful children in the Messiah Church. God's spirit worked in many hearts that received the Word gladly, so that they gave themselves to Jesus to follow Him all the way.

Memories from these happy days of grace in my first years of service in God's vineyard are most happy and shall never "fade away." We had many "sweet hours of prayer" together at the Mid-week services and the prayer meetings. Especially do I remember with grateful heart our "prayer week", at New Year and during Lent, when God called us to surrender and give our lives to Jesus, our Saviour.

I have the happiest memories of my work among the children and the young people. I loved to be with the little children in the Sunday School and teach them about Jesus, the children's best Friend. Gratefully do I remember the faithful group of Sunday School teachers helping in the blessed work and the first class of "children of the Lord's Supper", that I instructed and confirmed—never can I forget them! How I prayed for them! I entertained the hope that some, or at least one of them, would surrender to Jesus and prepare to be pastor in our Synod. Where are my confirmands in Marquette? I hope that some of you "have kept the faith" and can tell me so when I shall meet you at your "Jubilee Celebration." The young people and the work in the Luther League I also keep in sacred memory. Some of you are now leaders in the Church work.

We were happy in the work to be with the faithful workers of the Women's Societies. There were many loyal Church Workers, "Marthas", busy about the King's business, and "Marys", who would eagerly listen to the word of God, and had chosen the best part to follow where Jesus would lead them. God bless those devoted and consecrated Women-Workers in the Messiah Church!

We had very fine men as Deacons and Trustees of Messiah Church, when the undersigned served you as Pastor. They were good men, strong men, men of Christian conviction and courage, willing to

(Continued on Page 77)

[Page 15] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church


Pastor. A. B., Gustavus Adolphus College, 1905; B. D., Augustana Theological Seminary, 1908; ordained Lutheran ministry, 1908. Pastor, Marquette, Michigan, 1908-1913; Wahoo, Nebraska, 1913-1917; Chisago Lake Church, Center City, Minnesota, 1917-1927; Bethel Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 1927. Member of board of Luther College, Wahoo, Nebraska, for 4 years. Board of Christian Service, Minnesota Conference, since 1920. Member and secretary of Executive Committee, Superior Conference for 2 years.

Present address, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [Page 46]



I have been asked by the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee to give a short resume of the work in the Messiah congregation during my ministry there from July 19, 1908, to Nov. 30, 1913.

The first time I visited Marquette was at the Augustana College and Theological Seminary Students' reunion in August, 1906, while I had charge of the Bethany Church in Escanaba. The students rendered a program in the Church in the evening, and I was "drafted" to make a speech in Swedish in place of a student who could not stay for the program. I spoke on the topic, "Vad tjänar det till?", and that was my first introduction to the members of the Messiah church. This speech and the reports heard of my work in Escanaba caused the congregation to consider me as candidate (as its pastor) when the pulpit became vacant, in 1907. In January, 1908, I was invited to come to Marquette and preach, in order that the congregation might become better acquainted with me. I accepted the invitation and preached my first sermon the Second Sunday after Epiphany, on John 4:5-26, and the topic, "Vattenhämtare vid livets brunn". The following Tuesday evening the congregation met and extended a unanimous call to me to become its pastor after my ordination. I had five calls to consider, and two of them more inviting, perhaps, than from Marquette, but the Lord put it upon my heart to accept the call from the Messiah church.

On June 12, 1908, I was ordained, and on Midsummer Day I was married, and on July 15, I and my wife arrived at Marquette. We were met at the depot by Mr. John Carlson, who brought us to his home, where we were invited to stay until our own home was ready. We shall never forget Mr. and Mrs. John Carlson for their kindness to us and their true Christian friendship. Sunday, July 19, 1908, I entered upon my duty as pastor of the Messiah church, and I preached my first sermon on the text for the day, John 1 :35-51, and used as a topic, "Kom och se !" The Church was filled with attentive listeners, and many greeted us welcome after the services, and we felt at home at once with the people. During that week a very fine reception was held for us, and that gave us an opportunity to come in still closer touch and become acquainted with each other.

Our first impression of the Messiah congregation and Marquette was very favorable and that impression has stayed with us ever since.

[Page 47] Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church

The people received us very kindly and responded willingly to our work. The services were well attended on Sundays and the work was carried on harmoniously and with ever growing interest. The long vacancies and the changes of pastors and students had slackened the interest in the Church to a marked degree. There were strong in fluences outside the church, which also kept many people away from the church. It was evident that a spiritual awakening was necessary, if the church was going to prosper. Hence we labored and prayed unceasingly that God might bring this about. God heard our prayers. It did not take long before souls were won for Christ, and the congregation as a whole took a more definite stand for Christ and the church. New members were added at every Communion service, and the various organizations within the church increased their membership rapidly and new activities were organized, so as to put all to work in some way.

The Church Books showed a membership of 313 when we came. About 35 of them had been dropped shortly before, leaving only about 280 communicants in reality. When we left, there were about 440 communicants. More than 200 communicants were dropped from the Church Rooks, because of death, removal, or indifference and ungodliness. These figures may not mean so very much now, but I know that they represent much work and prayer, joy and anxiety.

The following new activities were organized in 1909: The Men's Sick Benefit Society, Dorcas, Young People's Bible class, the "Birthday Treasury", for home and foreign missions, the Children's Choir, and regular study of the Catechism at the Sunday School teachers' meetings. In 1910, a young men's Society, called the Adelphic, was started, but that "faded away" in a short time for want of interest. In 1912 a confirmation Society was formed, but that too died. The Messiah Men's Society was organized on Lincoln's Birthday, 1912, and that society, I suppose, was the forerunner of the Lutheran Brotherhood.

The church property received a good deal of attention during my time of service, because it was not in good condition. In 1910 the Dorcas Society took upon itself to finance the renovating and remodeling of the church, and so we set about to do that. A basement was dug out under the old part of the church and a foundation put in and the basement finished as it is now. The church was plastered, new floor put in the old part of the church, a new Altar and Altar painting procured, a door put in between the sacristy and the chancel, the Altar railing remodeled and the floor inside of it rebuilt, the pews were scrubbed, scraped and refinished, the chandeliers refinished, new roofs put on the

Golden Jubilee—Messiah Lutheran Church [Page 48]

church and the parsonage, and a new furnace put into the parsonage; besides this many small improvements were done. When the Altar and Altar painting were dedicated May 21, 1910, we were all happy, and as the veil fell and the congregation arose and sang the beautiful Hymn. "Till härlighetens land igen Jug ser dig, Jesu, fara," many were moved to tears in praise and thanksgiving to God.

Then when the Dorcas Society served the dedicatory supper in the new basement dining room, it was another occasion for rejoicing. There had been some objection to this basement project, because they feared the whole building would tumble, if any digging was done under the walls of the church for a new foundation. At one time during the process of digging out for the basement and putting the new foundation in, there was real excitement. I was attending a mission meeting in Iron Mountain at the time. The contractor had for some reason been off the job one day, and the southwest corner of the church had begun to show cracks. By the time I came home, the excitement had abated somewhat, but certain persons were quite displeased and said to me: "Did I not tell you so?" The S. W. corner of the church is still standing, but the "scars" of the cracks are very likely there yet, and "that reminds me"!

As I recall all these things, nothing but the most pleasant memories of it remains, because of the fine spirit and willingness of the people to cooperate with the pastor.

There were many obstacles both within and outside the church to contend with. The pioneer days in the Upper Peninsula were of a rather "rough-hewn" type, and not so much bent towards a religious and churchly life. The saloons in those days dragged many people down morally. The spiritual, moral and cultural uplift of the people in these regions has been an extremely strenuous work for the pastors and the churches, but it has not been in vain. The harvest of their sowing is, indeed, plenteous, and the Messiah church is one beautiful example of this. Those, so called, "good old days" are passed and a new age with new conditions and problems is here. Little does the present generation seem to realize what it meant to do the pioneering work. My work here was mainly adding a few stones to the building, which my very efficient and consecrated predecessors had started. A good foundation had been laid, and God blessed our work, so that the spiritual life of the congregation was deepened, a clearer conception of what the church of God is was manifested, a more serious feeling of

(Continued on Page 81)

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Messiah Lutheran Church 1881-1931

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