Rock Dell Lutheran Church in rural Belview is 145 years old.
Celebrating its past, present and future, the congregation held a Heritage Day event May 6. The event was held as a time of praise to God for his many years of grace, said Andrew Soule, who serves as Rock Dell Lutheran church pastor.
Rock Dell church was established in the 1870s, and the first services were held in Norwegian, said Soule, adding the service and program, as well as the meal served that day all focused on those roots in Norway.
Even a time of worship, including the sermon, was offered in Norwegian as part of the festivities.
According to Soule, the congregation continued having services at the church in Norwegian up until the late 1940s, and he said there are still a couple of the older members of the congregation and community who can still speak Norwegian.
Soule said the Heritage Day celebration was a big event in the life of the church in the past, and he said it was important for them to remember where they had come from as well as where the church was heading.
The church actually began meeting in 1868, said Soule, and the building was erected in 1989.
As part of the event, a presentation was offered by Rebecca DeGarmeaux, director of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod museum in Mankato.
“Rebecca is an archivist and she talked about preserving our history,” explained Soule.
Soule, who has been studying the history of the church said he has seen some early photos from the church, adding it is fun to see the landscape and how it has changed.
“There were not as many trees back then, and you could see a lot farther away,” said Soule.
Mark DeGarmeaux, a Bethany College professor, offered the sermon that day in Norwegian.
Soule said the congregation has started having conversations about the church’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2022, adding there is quite a bit of excitement about that upcoming milestone.
One can find more about the congregation and its history on the church Web site and Facebook page, and Soule said as the 150th celebration comes closer much more information about it will be found there.
In addition to celebrating its 145th anniversary with a Heritage Day, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Belview, where Soule also serves as pastor, is celebration its 90th year of service to God and the community.
All in all, Soule said the 160-plus people who came to Rock Dell May 6 seemed to enjoy the celebration, and he said it was an wonderful opportunity for the congregation and the surrounding community to remember the past and how God has worked over the years.