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)
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 facilities. 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 a.re 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 -6-
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