Founded in 1868

"Celebrating Over 142 years of Ministry in the Atwater Area"

A Church Was Founded

Over 130 years ago, there were few settlers in Meeker and Kandiyohi Counties without a church or leader. Some of them didn't have the privilege of taking the Lord's Supper for two years, some of the children a year and a half old were still unbaptized.

Men and Women came from Sweden to seek settlement in the New World. Most of their belongings were on their backs or in old chests. Many of them were unable to speak English, but they could read their Swedish Bibles and Psalm books.

Pastor Norelius was sent a letter on March 2, 1859 asking for someone to be sent to preach the Gospel. Rev. Peter Carlson had organized three small congregations that year of 1859. He was the first Lutheran Pastor to come to this community.

Group meetings were held in sod huts and log cabins before a church was actually founded. Records show we, Immanuel Lutheran, were organized in 1868. The original congregation was known as Swede Grove Lutheran and consisted of people from Meeker and Kandiyohi Counties. The first recorded meeting was held October 2, 1868.

The first pastor called to the newly founded congregation was Rev. Peter Beckman.

IMMANUEL's HISTORY  through 1915

On October 2nd, the Congregation was organized under the name of Swede Grove Lutheran Congregation (people from both Meeker and Kandiyohi counties). They adopted the constitution of the Chicago and Mississippi Conference.

First recorded minutes of the newly formed congregation.

On February 14th, Elizabeth and Atwater churches called a common vote in Atwater to call Pastor Beckman as their first pastor. They also renamed the church to: Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Gennessee Congregation in Township Gennessee, County of Kandiyohi, State of Minnesota.

Built first church building. Dimension were 30 feet long by 20 feet wide and 18 feet high. This building was built on Block 3.

In June they joined the Augustana Synod.

Atwater, Grove City and Beckville went together to pay for the pastor's salary. Each paying one third of the salary.

On December 7th, the congregation decided to build the present church . The total cost was $2,200. $1,200 for the interior and $1,000 for the exterior. This new church was to be 94 feet long and 36 feet wide. The center of the interior was 28 feet high while the sides were 18 feet high. Olaf Anderson was the building contractor on both the church and the parsonage.

The old church, which was located on the south side of the public school, was sold to the Norwegian Congregation of Atwater for $225. This building was later used as a garage for the Bethlehem pastor. Bethlehem built a parsonage on the southeast corner lot adjacent to the school and the church.

The congregation purchased three more lots so that a parsonage could be built.

Peter Peterson Altman loaned an organ to the church.

Sunday School was held for the first time. Magnus Broberg and Anders Olson were the first Superintendents.

The church parsonage was finished.

First trustees were P.M. Peterson, Gust Hedner and P.D. Ringstrom. They served 1, 2 and 3 year terms respectively.

Laid a new 56 feet by 36 feet foundation at a cost of $121.52, which was paid to Olaf Anderson, contractor, for lime and sand.

The marriage of Oscar Lins and Amanda C. Lindstrom was the recorded marriage.

Dug a 36 feet by 36 feet basement underneath the church building, except under tower and sacristy.

The church was resided. Originally, the church was sided with eight inch boards that were grooved to give the appearance of stone or brick.

On November 4th, the Young Peoples Society was formed.

In January, it was decided to ring the church bell at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday nights.

Installed a free standing Altar.

It was decided that the members of Rosendale be permitted to separate form Atwater to organize their own congregation.

The congregation purchase one lot on the south side of the church.

It was decided to give bibles to the confirmands.

A parsonage was built south of the present church building. It was 28 feet wide by 37 feet long by 18 feet high. It was build of frame construction with a brick veneer.

The Church had 300 communicants.

The congregation purchased Thorwaldsens Kristusbild's statue (The Image of Chirst)

On September 11th, a Hilgreen, Lane and Company 12 octave pipe organ was installed in the balcony of the church. The Young Peoples Society purchased this at a cost of $1050.

The Baptismal Font was Given in Memory of Gustaf Glader's wife by him.
Last Minutes of the Young People's Society

Gas lights were installed. New steps were constructed on the front of the church.

Present oaken pews were purchased at a cost of $700.

The Church elected Ushers for the first time.

On January 26, Pastor Schoberg organized the "Youth Mission Society."
Six years later the name was changed to "Luther League."

The interior of the church was redecorated. Tin was installed on the walls and the ceiling. The interior and exterior were painted.
A new heating system was purchased at a cost of $630.
A New Piano was purchased, which added to the beauty of the service.


More to be added

The Pastors of Immanuel Lutheran Church

Reverend Peter Beckman ~ 1869-1874

Reverend Peter Dilner ~ 1874-1882

Reverend L. J. Lundquist ~ 1883-1885

Reverend J. A. Frost ~ 1886-1893

Reverend Erik Hedeen ~ 1893-1899

Reverend G. O. Schoberg ~ 1900-1915

Reverend M. Le Vander ~ 1916-1925

Reverend Arnold G. Nelson ~ 1925-1947

Reverend William A. Conrad ~ 1948-1954

Reverend L. E. Bomgren ~ 1954-1971

Reverend Carmen Peterson ~ 1971-1976

Reverend Aaron Lofgren ~ 1975-1977

Reverend Kenneth Johnson ~ 1977-1982

Reverend Martha Nelson ~ 1980-1981

Reverend Zenith James Worthington ~ 1982-1986

Reverend Dwaine L. Bruns
1986 - August 1995

Reverend Paulette Creswell - Interim Pastor - 1995

Reverend Daniel B. Carlson
May 1996-October 2002

Reverend Gerald D. Geise
Interim Pastor
November 2002 - November 2003

Reverend Daniel J. Belgum-Blad
November 2003 - August 2011

Pastor J. Pablo Obregon
Interim Pastor
October 2011 - November 2011

Pastor Erick Thompson
Interim Pastor
December 2011 - October 2012

Pastor Kathy Hartley
Interim Pastor
November 2012 - July 2013

Reverend Christa Forsythe
August 2013 - 


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