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home : news-record : local news Sunday, June 10, 2007

6/6/2007 10:36:00 AM  Email this article Print this article 
Scheie Lutheran Church to celebrate its 150th birthday

By Melissa Vander Plas

Scheie Lutheran Church
The Scheie Lutheran congregation will be hosting its 150th birthday celebration this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

On Friday, there will be a community party and outdoor social with special guest Tom Overlie. This event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Lew and Ellen Aasum garden at 332 East Prairie, Mabel. The program will begin at 7. In case of rain, the event will be held at the Scheie Lutheran Church.

On Saturday, at 11:30 a.m., there will be a cemetery walk to Weisel Cemetery and at 1:30 p.m., one may go over to the North Cemetery if interested. Wally and Sharen Storhoff will host the walk to Weisel Cemetery and recommend wearing good walking shoes and bringing rain gear "just in case!" The cemetery board will be taking those who are interested to the North Cemetery. Persons who want to go on the walks should meet at the Scheie Church parking lot.

Historical displays will be open at 2:30 p.m. with a confirmation reunion at 3 p.m. and a coffee party from 4 to 5:30 p.m. A Norwegian worship service will be held with the Rev. Percy Larson and the Rev. Paul Johnson and other special guests, beginning at 6 p.m. A cemetery walk, with celebration of light, will be held at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, there will be a festival worship with Bishop Harold Usgaard at 10:30 a.m. with a congregational photo and a catered meal following. The cornerstone, removed earlier this year, will be resealed and placed back into the church's foundation.

The church's history began 150 years ago on June 8, 1857, when 11 families became the charter members of the First Evengelical Lutheran Church - now known as the Scheie Lutheran Church. The name Scheie was later taken as a tribute to the first resident pastor, Andreas Scheie of Milwaukee, Wis.

It is believed that the group first worshipped in a small log schoolhouse or community building in the valley, and so wanted to construct a good church building as early as 1860. However, as the church's first historical book reflects "the rumblings of the terrible conflict between the North and the South was plainly heard, and plans were dropped until 1863."

The motion to build was on Oct. 30, 1863, and the church dimensions were to be 40x28x16 feet with a steeple and gallery. The cost was about $2,400.

These pioneer families endured so much and persevered so well as they tried to settle in this new land. As reported in one of the church's history books, "Immigration slowed down due to the money panic of 1857. This was also the winter of the 'crust.' Forty-two inches of snow fell and three rains froze the land into a glazed crust that stayed all winter. People got around on skis, and even the wildlife like the deer died because of the weather or death by wolves and dogs." Indian presence, disease, and the Civil War only added to the perils of pioneer living. Some families buried many of their children as the diseases had no cure or mercy.

Despite this, the church progressed and actual buildings were built. Living through the fires of the churches was another shock to the faith community, but again, plans were made immediately for the next building project. The current church structure that stands today was dedicated in 1913 and was built at a cost of $12,000.

As the Scheie congregation celebrates this week, they find two new historical pieces on the narthex wall as one enters the church. One contains the signature of the two builders of this structure, Eddie Dahl and John Aake. The other contains the very top of the present altar, which was removed in the remodeling process when it became too tall for the area. These pieces were created by Gale Erickson of Rochester, a childhood member of Scheie.

An historical display will show the life of Scheie and a new DVD created by member Judy Narun is available as well as a new booklet on the last 25 years created by members Robert and Terese Housker.

The Rev. Mary Waudby has also made mementos that are crafted from glass saved from the large stained glass windows that were sucked out and destroyed in the tornado of 1969.

The Norwegian descendents will be given a special part as that heritage will be honored in worship and food.

A chance to bring the past into the present is what Scheie hopes to do this weekend and the congregation invites all of the community to come and join with them in celebrating their heritage as they look toward a faith-filled future.

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