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Johnson, Melvin J. / Remembrances from a life membership, 1903-1993, at Norway Luthern Church

Remembrances. . . from a life membership 1903-1993 at Norway Lutheran Church,   pp. 1-9 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 6

Oh what a great step forward for the Kingdom's work at Norway Congregation.
As soon as the contracts were
signed and all legal work completed, construction started. I had an 8 mm
movie camera that I used to show the
progress of construction from the excavation of the basement ground until
the day of dedication. Roy
Gulbrandson, a member of our Congregation, and employee of the general contractor,
was foreman of all masonry
work. Charles Paulson Jr. ("Chuck") was employed by the general
contractor as a masonry tender mixing and
supplying mortar for the stone masons.
We, as the Building Committee members, were not without our share of problems.
We were elected to carry out
the wishes of the Congregation, to care for differences that might come between
contractors, and to make decisions
on all alternates.
As the building came to its completion, different organizations of the congregation
contributed money for buying
the necessary fixtures, chairs, desks and tables for the Sunday School and
fellowship hall. The women's
organization took care of the kitchen needs, curtains, drapes and lounge
Memories and a day of rejoicing for Pastor Paulson and the Congregation.
Memories to those that are no longer
with us, and to .o^se of us Lhat still here, The fellowship we had unwrapping
crates of furniture and stocking
the Sunday School rooms and fellowship hall was wonderful. The dedication
of the educational unit was
September 12, 1954.
Memories.-.. "Praise the Lord." One step of our building program
has been completed -- the Educational Unit. It
was a day of rejoicing. Thanks to the Almighty God for answered prayers,
to the Building Committee, the
Congregation, and especially for our Pastor Paulson for his guidance and
direction to go forward for the Lord's
work here at Norway.
The Sunday School children left the old church on the hill and assembled
in the new fellowship hall for its
morning service. Then they and their teachers were assigned to their individual
class room. Pastor Paulson made
such a personal contact with the Sunday School children that he called most
of them by their first name.
The second church service was held after Sunday School in the fellowship
hall. The stage was used for altar,
lectern and pulpit; and the seating capacity was for 400 in chairs.
When the Educational Unit was finished, it left the congregation with a debt
of $75,000. The Building Committee
and congregation agreed that construction of the church would not be started
until the debt of the Unit had been
paid. In 1962 the debt of the Educational Unit was paid in full. All money
now coming in would apply to the
construction of a new church.
The constant growth of membership in the church and Sunday School caused
the Congregation to seek help for
Pastor Paulson. The Congregation agreed to go into an intern program with
our seminary. Each student was to
serve one year. They were Stan Rosengren, Ivan Ives, Jay Eisenhauer, and
William Breen.
I remember those young men very distinctly. I am positively sure that each
of those young men went on in life
profited by the oneyear that they worked with Pastor Paulson. I remember
one person in particular. One day as I
was at the Unit, Pastor Paulson said he wanted me to come to his office (which
then was the present choir room).
As we entered his office, he held up a pack of cards about 1/2" thick.
I said, What's that?" He said Bill Breen
brought them in. They are prospects for new members. "Memories."
I said, "Pastor your four years have come
and gone. Remember I told you that the mission field in Norway will go on
for years."
When the Educational Unit was completed, it gave us room to carry on one
of the original traditional "Lutefisk"
dinners that was originally organized by the pioneers from Norway and is
carried on to this day. In the old church
on the hill we would seat about 90 people. In our new unit, we were able
to seat 275 at tables. I think of the years
gone by, 75 years and more, when my mother and the other pioneer women would
prepare this wonderful meal for
all that wanted to come "at a price." I always thought at that
time when those women could no longer do this
work, that the tradition would cease. But I was wrong thanks to their children
and grandchildren and to the many
new members who helped keep this tradition alive. The Lutefisk Dinner is
usually held the second Friday in

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