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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 8

The first stage of construction was to remove all ground from under the church
to make that space available for
future use. The ground was deposited on church property to make more available
space for parking. I tried to
make a visit to the church construction each day to follow the progress done.
I believe it was in 1963 when the
church construction was about half done, when one member of the congregation,
the Sunday School
Superintendent, asked me if it was possible to finish the basement of the
church as she needed additional Sunday
School rooms. I told her there was no problem, she just had to ask the President
of the Church Council to call a
special Congregational Meeting to appropriate $10,000, and we will have it
done when the church building is
finished. A congregational meeting was called, the project was approved and
the money provided.
Loris Roed, a member of the congregation, was hired to enclose the exposed
steel beams and any other carpenter
work required. The general contractor was to prepare the ground floor and
pour the concrete floor. This now
would make us a room approximately 80 feet long and 40 feet wide, plus the
room under the altar. The girls and
boys rest room occupied the southwest comer of the basement. Tile floor was
laid throughout except that two
shuffle boards were installed with shuffle board tile inlaid in the floor
for recreational purposes.
The basement kitchen, as was originally planned to serve both the Fireside
room and the church basement was now
made available. This room was used extensively for many years for the two
or three dart ball teams for the dart
ball tournaments, social gatherings, family gatherings, shuffle board games,
and Sunday School with portable
partitions. The Sunday School felt a need for this room, and it now has permanent
partitions for Sunday School.
As the building was being completed according to the architectural plans,
The Building Committee had problems
with the fixtures. Several companies bid on the pews -- some with a solid
oak pew and some iith different type
and design of cushion pew. After reviewing all bids as to cost, quality and
design, the Committee chose the
Endicott Church Furniture Co. This was a four ribbed cushion pew for the
church and choir. I was told at the time
that we made a mistake in buying cushion pews as they would soil easily and
wear out. The truth is those pews
have served us for 30 years, without blemish or slight wear. The cushions
are easily replaceable.
The original architectural plan for the altar showed a four foot opening
coming on each side into the altar, and
with an exposed opening into the Altar Guild room. The inside of the altar
was painted walls. We had several
meetings with the Altar Guild and other committees to make a change. The
saying goes, "The Beauty of a Church
is in the Altar."
We contacted several church furniture companies and finally decided on Waukesha
Church Furniture Company.
They agreed to close up the four foot openings on the sides with paneling
and with a three foot door on each side.
To panel the complete inside of the altar and build a altar, pulpit and lectern
to match the paneling -- a beautiful
piece of work.
Just a note to let you know what someone else, not a member of our congregation
-- thinks about our church. A
funeral was being held at our church. I was in the narthex for some reason
and a helper to an undertaker knew me
by name and asked to talk to me. We went into the fellowship hall. He said,
"Melvin, I know you had a lot to do
with this building. I just want to tell you that as undertakers we cover
a lot of territory in many different churches
of all different denominations. But this is the most beautiful church I have
ever been in.
The church was completed in its construction and dedicated to the Almighty
God by Pastor V. Truman Jordahl and
James Amundson on May 24, 1964. Eugene Gunderson and I lifted the comer stone
in place and Roy Gulbranson
applied the mortar to hold it in place.
This concludes my life memory of Norway Lutheran Church to date August 29,
1993. I have been an active
member in the church since my early Sunday School days, Luther League, Men's
Club. Brotherhood, Dart ball,
Church Council, Call Committee, Cemetery Board and Men's Breakfast Bible
Study. I was appointed Secretary of
the Building Committee in 1942 and served during construction of the Educational
Unit dedicated in 1954. I
served during planning and construction of the church that was dedicated
in 1964 and enjoyed knowing we had a
debt free congregation in 1978.

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