MINNEOTA - From the efforts and faith of Norwegian homesteaders in the 1800s, Hope Lutheran Church was founded in Minneota in 1872.
And after well more than a century of existing as a congregation, Hope Lutheran will celebrate its 140th anniversary on Sunday, July 29.
Hymn singing will commence at 9:30 a.m., with an outdoor worship proceeding. Along with the atypical service, the Rev. Tom Kolden and the Board of Deacons at Hope Lutheran have more planned for the members of the congregation.
Photo by Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe
Gayle VanVooren, co-chairperson of the Hope Lutheran Church Board of Deacons, stands in front of the church with Rev. Tom Kolden earlier this week.
"The praise band will lead the service and we'll do some extra music. We'll have an outdoor meal with picnic tables, and we'll have games for the kids." said Kolden.
Gayle VanVooren, co-chairperson of the Board of Deacons, has lived in Minneota and attended Hope Lutheran for 46 years.
"The church itself has not changed much," she said. "A little paint here and there, that sort of thing, but it's pretty much the same."
Not only has VanVooren witnessed the preservation of the building, but she is also working along with several members of Hope Lutheran to preserve the history of her church community.
"We're going to be starting to work on more of the history of the church and talking with our older members, because we've kind of let that go. They have lots of memories and we need to get that down on paper. We're just starting that process."
Early settlers of Norwegian descent and Lutheran faith founded Hope Lutheran Church, with the first service recorded on December 1872.
Since then, Hope Lutheran has reached many milestones, but name changes and shifting locations did not shake the foundation of the congregation. In 1948 the cornerstone of the current church building was laid, and Hope Lutheran has moved since.
In light of its 140th anniversary, the congregation will be sending more than $1,400 to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Good Gifts Project. "It sends farm animals to third world countries. Some cows, goats and chickens so (those in need) can get eggs and milk to sell. We've surpassed our goal," said VanVooren.
The Good Gifts project serves more than 60 countries around the world by providing poverty-stricken areas with income-generating resources.
In cooperation with the ELCA and Good Gifts, Hope Lutheran Church will see to other philanthropy as well. "We're working with a malaria campaign," said Kolden.
As its 140th anniversary nears, Hope Lutheran Church in Minneota will celebrate together and look forward to 150 years.
"We're just lucky to have our church." said VanVooren.