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)
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. --8--
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