Immanuel Lutheran Church
Almelund Since 1887
The History of Immanuel Lutheran Church Almelund, Minnesota
January 31, 1887 The first meeting to organize a Lutheran church at Almelund was held in Carl Gustaf Schanders home in Amador Township, Chisago County. The Rev. J.J. Frodeen, pastor of the Chisago Lake Lutheran Church, Center City, served as chairman of this meeting with Mr. John Lindquist elected the first secretary of the congregation. Forty-five people were entered on the first membership roll:
John Lindquist and wife Carl G. Schander and wife A.E. Rosander and wife Gustaf A. Sjoberg and wife John Peterson and wife John M. Johnson and wife Andrew C. Rydberg and wife P.M. Jonason and wife Otto Abrahamson and wife Carl A. Asp and wife John Lindstrom and wife C. J. Wadman and wife C.V. Sellman and wife Sone Swenson and wife Andrew P. Bjork and wife A.P. Pilquist and wife Olaf Anderson and wife John Jonson and wife Peter Medin and wife S. Carlman and wife Peter Gummason C.J. Lindquist Jons A. Lejon L.P. Swenson Andrew R. Herberg
The given and legal name of the congregation was to be: The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Church. The first deacons of the congregation were John Lindquist, Gustaf A. Sjoberg and Lars P. Swenson. H.C. Mohn offered the congregation one acre of land, with the privilege of purchasing an-other adjoining acre for the price of $25.00, to be used as a building site. John Hassel promised to donate a "piece of ground". Elected members of the build-ing committee were Gustaf A. Sjoberg (Chairman), John M. Johnson, John Lindquist, Jons A. Lejon, and Carl G. Schander.
Elected members of the subscription committee for the building fund were John Peterson, Peter M. Jonason, Otto Abrahamson, and Lars P. Swenson. Membership dues agreed upon were $5.50 for a farmer couple; $4.00 for a non-farming couple; $2.75 for a single man; and $1.25 for a single woman. Members of the committee elected to collect membership dues were C. J. Sellman and Sone Swenson.
February 8, 1887 A second congregational meeting was held in the Nils A. Rydberg home. Gustaf A. Sjoberg was elected to serve as chairman in the absence of a pastor. The following were added to the membership roll:
Carl F. Lofgren and wife John Froberg and wife Carl J. Berg and wife C.J. Carlson and wife C.W. Sandberg and wife J.M. Grandstrand and wife Nils A. Rydberg and wife C.J. Carlson Andres G. Swenson Olof Peterson and wife John M. Holm and wife Per Palson and wife Andrew Reed and wife John M. Carlson and wife Peter Nygren and wife C.A. Blomquist John A. Johnson and wife Ida C. Nilson Magdalena Magnuson
Plans for a church building were presented and accepted, the building to be 60 feet by 80 feet with 18 foot walls. All labor connected with the build-ing was to be donated.
March 11, 1887 The congregation was fully organized at this third meeting held at the home of Carl G. Schander. Gustaf A. Sjoberg was again elected to serve as chairman. At this meeting, the first trustees of the congre-gation were elected: John M. Johnson, Andrew P. Pilquist, Otto Abrahamson and Andrew Reed.
May 13, 1887 The fourth congregational meeting was held on the site of the proposed church. Willie Carlson of Center City accepted an open contract to build the church for $490.00, including everything except the plas-tering of the church, which John Jonason promised to do for 18 cents per square yard. Andrew Rydberg was elected to supervise laying the foundation beginning May 23. The first church building was constructed without a steeple or sacristy.
Summer 1887 C.J. Edman, a student, served the congregation dur-ing the summer, becoming the first to preach the Word in the newly organized congregation. In 1887, Deacon Lars Peter Swenson preached Gods Word to the congregation. Deacons were to conduct worship services in turn.
September 6, 1887 At the first business meeting held in the new church, the cemetery plot was designated. The graves were to be six feet deep and a space of two feet was to be left between individual lots. One dollar was stipulated to reserve a single lot. Single lots were $1.50 for adults and $1.00 for children. Elected to the cemetery committee were H.C. Mohn, Olof Ander-son and Jonas M. Danielson.
Olof Peterson chairman. The congregation decided to lift an offering for "Missions" every second month during the year. (These hard-laboring, self -sacrificing pioneers thanked God for having enabled them to sacrifice to build a church in which to worship.) Sunday School, with 28 children enrolled, had been conducted during seven months of the first year in the history of the con-gregation. John Lindquist was the first superintendent of the Sunday School. Sixty-nine members had been received, making the total membership at the end of the first year 114. Andrew Reed was the first treasurer of the congrega-tion. The first janitor of the church was Johan Peterson.
January 18, 1888 A special meeting was held when an attempt was made to effect a pastorate with Taylors Falls. The proposal was not accepted because it called for an annual contribution to the pastors salary of $600.00 and two offerings for a service every other Sunday.
January 3, 1889 At an annual meeting with the Rev. J.P. Mattson as chairman, it was decided to form a pastorate with Taylors Falls. The call implied that the Rev. Mattson was to preach in Almelund every second Sunday and the congregations contribution to his salary was agreed to be $250.00 and an annual offering. The Rev. Mattson became the first regular pastor of the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Inasmuch as the congregation owned no organ as yet, Mr. Jons Lejon was elected as song leader to lead the congregation in singing.
Rev. J.P. Mattson, 1889-1894
Rev. Johan P. Mattson was ordained June 27, 1875, at Vasa, Minnesota. He was born Sep-tember 13, 1839, at Hofra, Vastergotland, Swe-den, and attended Swedish School in Skara, Sweden. He came to the United States in 1868 where he attended Augustana College and Semi-nary at Paxton, Illinois, from 1872-1875. He served McGregor, Iowa, from 1875-1876; Tay-lors Falls, 1885-1894 and also Almelund 1889-1894; Grantsburg, Wisconsin, 1896-1900; Lake Park 1900-1906. He died August 19, 1913.
Special Meeting 1889 It was decided to purchase an organ, which the Rev. Mattson played. Pews were purchased for the church and were in-stalled at a cost of $251.00.
January 7, 1892 The first recorded annual pastoral report was given. The church property, due to occasional improvements and additions, was rising in value. At this meeting, it was decided to insure the church prop-erty for the amount of $2,500.00.
January 9, 1893 At this annual meeting, a motion was made that the Church Council meet 30 minutes prior to each Holy Communion Service, a practice which extended many years into the future.
1893-A committee of four men was elected solely "to maintain and enforce order at all worship services". Several conditions arose when it was called upon to function.
September 24, 1894 The Rev. N.J. Sture of Trade Lake, Wisconsin, was called to be pastor at Almelund and Taylors Falls. He accepted the call and took up his duties as pastor of the congregation before the end of the year.
Rev. N.J. Sture, 1894-1899
Rev. Nils Johan Sture was ordained June 24, 1888, at Galesburg, Illinois. He was born October 6, 1851, at Skatelof, Smaland, Sweden. His parents were Carl and Brita (Svenson) Anderson. He attended the Ahlberg School at Orebro in Sweden and came to the United States in 1866 where he attended Gustavus Adolphus College from 1877-1879 and Augustana College from 1879-1883. He returned to Sweden from 1883-1886. He attended Augustana Seminary from 1886-1888. His parishes were: Warren, East Grand Forks, 1881-1891; Trade Lake, West Sweden, Wisconsin, 1891-1895; Almelund, 1895-1899; Taylors Falls, 1895-1902; York, Nebraska, 1902-1907; Waterville, Brantford, Kansas, 1907-1910; Elgarose, Oregon, 1910-1914. He married Anne Charlotta Fagerberg in 1889 and they had five children. He died on February 8, 1927.
1894 It was decided to complete the work on the steeple. A small beginning had been made. It was completed in 1895. The early members felt that the surest way to ensure a firm congregation in the future was to concen-trate much effort upon the growing generation. They secured a theological student to instruct the children in the Christian faith and life during the summer months. Here we have the beginning of what was called "summer school", an institution which the congregation maintained for a number of years, locally called the "Swedish School".
1894-At the end of the year 1894, the communicant membership of the church numbered 204. Mrs. Christina Soderstrom donated three acres of land for a parsonage site.
There were few roads so families walked through the woods following logging trails to attend church for worship and the children followed these paths to catechism classes and Bible School. All of these were conducted in the Swedish language at that time. Many came by horse and wagon. Sunday School was not held in the winter because it was too cold for the children to walk.
1895 -The congregation elected its first organist, Miss Alida Bruse (Mrs. C.A. Melander); her remuneration was to be an annual offering.
August 9, 1895 The congregation decided to build a sacristy, (a room for the pastor and where sacred vessels and vestments were kept).
1895 Vacation Bible School pupils were to pay 50 cents per month.
1896 The congregation authorized the trustees to look for a suitable site on which to build a parsonage. On April 19, 1897, The congregation pur-chased five acres of land from William Hassel where the first parsonage was later built. The hay on this parcel was cut for the horses to eat while their own-ers attended church.
1896The church decided to sponsor a congregation picnic on the Fourth of July. This celebration continued through 1961.
February 1, 1899 The following decisions were made: 1. To withdraw from Taylors Falls and form a separate pastorate; 2. To build a parsonage on the site previously purchased; 3. To raise the necessary funds by subscription. Two hundred fifty dollars was subscribed on that day; a building committee was elected, and the parsonage was to be ready on October 1.
August 18, 1899 The Rev. Sture resigned. The joint pastorate of Taylors Falls and Almelund was dissolved.
Rev. J.E. Carlson, 1899-1906
Rev. John Emil Carlson was ordained June 6, 1897, at Moline, Illinois. He was born No-vember 12, 1863, at Elgaras, Vastergotland, Sweden, and came to the United States in 1886. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College and went to the Augustana Seminary from 1895-1897. He served Aitkin 1897-1899; Almelund 1899-1906; Princeton 1906-1907; Forest Lake 1907-1911; Portland, Oregon 1911-1919; Chil-drens Home at Mariadahl, Kansas 1919-1923; Aitkin 1924-1929; Czar, Vancouver, Canada 1929-1932; Malmo, 1932 -1936. He married Anna Carlson of Moline June 1, 1897, and they had one child. Anna died in 1900. On May 20, 1902, Pastor Carlson married Ebba Bergquist of Taylors Falls. They had one child. The Rev. Carlson died April 16, 1947.
Years End 1899 The congregations first full-time pastor, the Rev J.E. Carlson who came from Athens, Minnesota, moved into a new parsonage, the first owned by the congregation. His salary was $450.00, one offering, parsonage and free fuel. 1900 The Luther League was organized. The communicant mem-bership of the congregation now numbered 198.
1901 A new heating system was installed in the church at a cost of $220.00.
1902 Several improvements were made to the church property: a balcony was built, new windows were installed, the interior was redecorated and a new pulpit was installed.
November 11, 1902 The church, which was not fully completed, was dedicated at impressive festivities.
Early years The women sat on the left side of the church and the men sat on the right. The collection was taken in cloth baskets fastened to the end of long poles. The pastor was president of the Ladies Aid, the Church Council, and Superintendent of the Sunday School. The Ladies Aid was held in the homes.
1902 The pastors annual report stated: "Under all circumstances, God is unchangeable and steadfast. What the preaching of the Word reveals, shall on the morning of eternity be fully understood."
1903 The congregation built a chapel at Sunrise aware of the fact that there were many people outside the church and the "Means of Grace" and that the people of the Sunrise community were removed from the church by a considerable distance. Services were conducted there for a number of years.
1904 Communicant membership was 422.
March 16, 1904 The Rev. Carlson received two months vacation to go to Sweden.
February 21, 1906 A call was issued to the Rev. G.A. Stenborg, Sand Lake, Wisconsin, to become the next pastor of the congregation. He ac-cepted the call and assumed the duties as pastor of the congregation during the summer of 1906. Previous to his arrival, several improvements had been made on the church and parsonage. A well had been dug, a windmill put up, and a cistern made. One hundred balsam trees had been planted on the church lot. The Rev. Stenborgs salary was $700.00, a Christmas offering and free fuel.
January 4, 1907 The communicant membership of the congrega-tion was 486. The pastor suggested having regular Sunday School teachers meetings, the first of their kind in the history of the congregation. The pastor was elected superintendent of the Sunday School, this policy continued until 1944.
REV. G.A. STENBORG, 1906-1918
Rev. Gustaf Adolf Stenborg was ordained June 18, 1882, at Altona, Illinois. He was born July 16, 1846, at Ostra Stenby, Ostergotland, Sweden to Anders and Anna (Anderson) Sten-borg. In Sweden he attended Johannelund Mis-sionary Institute. He came to the United States in 1880 where he attended the Augustana Semi-nary 1881-1882. Parishes he served were: Cambridge, Illinois 1882-1883; Marine 1883-1887; Cannon Falls 1887-1895; Sand Lake, Wisconsin 1895-1906; Almelund 1906-1918. He married Mary Magnuson-Carlson. They had three children, Esther, Lydia and Ambrose. Pastor Stenborg died November 6. 1921.
1907 A pipe organ was installed in the balcony of the church. The young people of the church had been at work on this project for several years. Andrew Flink was elected organist at a salary of $250.00 and an offering. Solomon Lindblom had served as organist from 1904-1907.
1908 The pavilion was built in the church park at a cost of $686.50. The pavilion was located east of the old school house. The land was used every year for the next 50 plus years for the 4th of July celebration. The whole community attended these celebrations. All dishes that were stored at the pa-vilion had to be washed and gunny sacks of potatoes had to be prepared. Water was heated and hauled from the creamery.
1909 The Dorcas Society was organized.
1910 The Luther League and the Dorcas Society combined their efforts to install a light-plant in the church at a cost of $133.00.
Midsummer Day 1912 The congregation, which began with 45 members and had grown to a communicant membership of 584, celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The Luther League purchased a piano for this occasion, the first to be owned and used by the congregation.
1913 The Luther League laid a sidewalk around the church, at a total expenditure of $100.80.
1914 The need of a new and larger church in which to worship be-gan to be felt.
January 12, 1915 The Luther League reported $1,173.40 in its treasury. The goal in view was the starting of work on a basement for a new church.
1917 The Lutheran Brotherhood of America was organized.
January 9, 1917 At this annual meeting Andrew Flink, after having served as organist for a period of nine years, resigned his position.