Immanuel Lutheran

Historical Highlights of Immanuel Lutheran Church
by Mrs. Earl Pederson (1967)

Sixty-three years have passed since pioneers of the Roseglen community organized the Immanuel Lutheran congregation. In the fall of 1903, Lutheran residents of this community attended services in the Peter Kolden home, conducted by Rev. H.M. Hestenes. On April 20, 1904, they formally organized at a service at the John Lunden home. Charter members were Mr. and Mrs. John Hill, Mr. and Mrs. John Lunden, Mr. and Mrs. John Snippen, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kolden, Mr. and Mrs. Jorgen Jacobson, Ole Rostad, and Lars Kolden.

The congregation's first pastor was the Rev. Hestenes, who held services only every four or six weeks, as he also served other congregations and travel was slow. His salary was $50.00 a year and three offerings. On December 7, 1905, at Mrs. Jode Lunden's funeral,  Rev. Hestenes dedicated the cemetery. The land, consisting of one acre, was donated by John Snippen.

Succeeding Rev. Hestenes was the Rev. H.A.L. Hjermstad, who served from December 1905-1906. The Rev. Andrew Fimmeland was then called as pastor, and his yearly salary was $75.00. He resigned on March 5, 1910, having served three years, after which Rev. C.A. Davick was called to fill the vacancy. His salary was raised to $100.00. After his resignation in 1911, the Rev. O.L. Brevig came to Immanuel, and it was during his ministry that the congregation was incorporated as Immanuel Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Roseglen. Up until this time, services had been held in homes or in school houses. After this, Rev. Hoffening served for a few years.

It was on January 26, 1915 that definite steps were taken to plan the erection of a church building and, that same spring, construction was begun. The sanctuary was used for the first time on December 28, 1915, at which time the congregation put on its Christmas program.

In May of 1917, Immanuel joined with Lucky Mound and Bethlehem to form a call. This arrangement continued until 1924. The Rev. Fjeldsgaard, who had served the Lucky Mound and Bethlehem congregations, was called after the Rev. Brevig's resignation, and he served until 1922. The succeeding pastor was the Rev. Iver Johanson, who served until 1924, when the Ryder-Roseglen-Emmet parish was established. Until a regular pastor was called, Rev. C.J. Nolstad of Makoti pastored the church. Joseph Eastvold, a new seminary graduate, was called as the first pastor of this new charge, and was installed on July 19, 1925.

It was not until July 11, 1926 that Immanuel Lutheran Church was dedicated in the name of the Triune God. The Rev. Eastvold served the congregation until 1927 and, on July 3, 1927, the Rev. Elias Kristensen was installed as pastor. By 1929, the church was completely furnished and the basement completely remodeled.

During Rev. Kristensen's pastorate, the church received a severe setback when fire destroyed the building and all of its furnishings on April 25, 1934. Worship services, baptisms, and confirmation classes were held in Glennon's grove or, during inclement weather, at the Roseglen Hall, until the basement could be made usable. Volunteers from the congregation assisted John Braathen in the reconstruction of the basement.

In 1935, the Rev. Kristensen confirmed the first adult confirmation class of nine members. He served this parish during the hard depression years, and he was while he was in Roseglen that his four children, Lowell, Robert, Luther and Constance, were born. During this time, twenty-four boys from the Immanuel Lutheran Church were called into the service of their country.

In 1943, the Rev. Kristensen submitted his resignation, having served the congregation faithfully for sixteen years.

The Rev. J.P. Dragseth accepted the congregation's call as pastor in August of 1943. In 1949, plans were laid for the construction of a new church in 1950. The new church was dedicated on July 17, 1951. The five members of the building committee, who worked diligently and put in many long hours on this project, were Arnold Hill, Lawrence Snippen, Adolph Kolden, George Vangsness, and Julius Mattson.

Special recognition is also given to the Ladies Aid who, organized in 1907, through the years, worked faithfully and, during this time, spent many long hours helping to paint, varnish and clean, so that everything would be in order for the church's dedication day. Besides its Savings Bonds, the Ladies Aid contributed $1,100 in cash to the building fund.

As the Roseglen Golden Jubilee book was being written, the congregation received word of the death of Pastor Dragseth at Portageville, Missouri, at the age of seventy-six.

Pastor Dragseth had served the congregation in Roseglen faithfully for thirteen years, leaving in 1956. A young seminary graduate, Rev. A.G. Dyste, accepted the call to pastor the congregation, serving from 1956 to 1958, when he was granted a leave of absence to return to college.

About 1957, the former Ryder parish was dissolved and a new rural parish, consisting of the Bethlehem, Immanuel, and St. Peter congregations, was organized, and called the Roseglen Lutheran Parish.

One of its first projects was the building of a new parsonage at Roseglen. On November 23, 1958, the new parsonage was dedicated. Pastor Dyste was married at Christmas in 1958, and the Rev. A.H. Belgum served as interim pastor for the next six months. He and his wife were the first to occupy the parsonage. That summer, Rev. Dyste and his wife returned to resume his work in Roseglen. Their son, Peter, was born there. In February of 1962, he resigned to accept a call to Bonner, Montana.

A letter of call was sent to the Rev. Byron Edwards, who accepted but, because he was unable to come until July of 1962, supply pastors from neighboring towns filled the needs of the congregation.

The Rev. Edwards was with the congregation for four years. During his time, improvements made to the church included the installation of modern plumbing, carpeting on the stairs to the balcony was installed, and the balcony was remodeled. Red wool carpeting was purchased for the chancel and aisle, the narthex was enlarged by remodeling the stairs, and tile was laid on the steps and landings. Gold carpenting was installed in the dining area.

Pastor Edwards submitted his resignation in May of 1966, having accepted a call to serve in the Foreign Mission field. On June 19th, he was commissioned as a Missionary to New Guinea at a special service in Makoti, and  his family left for New Guinea in August.

Pastor Kearney Frantsen, of Makoti, and others filled the pulpit during the summer months. In August, a letter of call was sent to the Rev. Paul Jensen, who accepted and was installed at a joint parish installation service at Immanuel on September 25th.

Following the September general meeting of the ALCW, a get-acquainted party for the church's new pastor, Rev. Jensen, his wife, LaVonne, and his daughter, Kristine, had been arranged, and they were given a shower of gifts in the form of home baked goods, canned foods, meats, etc.

Other church-oriented activities taking place in 1967, when the Roseglen Golden Jubilee book was published, include the Luther League which, in that year, numbered thirty-eight high school students, guided by Pastor Jensen and  his wife; the Vacation Bible School; a Sunday School with seventy-three enrolled members and twelve teachers; Bible Camp; the ALCW, which numbered fifty-seven members divided into fouro Circles; and Junior and Senior Choirs that sing at each worship service. In 1967, there were two hundred and forty baptized members and about one hundred and sixty-five confirmed members.

The Trustees in 1967 were Alfred Fines, Lawrence Halvorson, Harold Giffey, Dale Johnson and Art Forsman. Ervin Kolden is vice president, Ronald Haugen is secretary, and the treasurer was Earl Pederson.

As we relive in memory the 63 fruitful years that Immanuel Lutheran Church has been in existence, we offer thanks to the Almighty God for the blessings He has given us. We pray, O God, that we shall always live up to the terms, true devotion, dedication and love in our service of Christ, that the faith that has been given us will show itself in our entire selves.