“Walsh Heritage” Vol 2, pg 742-743
Location: NW 1/4 Section 33 Eden Township
Lat: 48° 12′ 22″N, Lon: 97° 43′ 48″W
In the records are the following names as members:
Nelson, Nels Tolden
Thoe, Ole K.
In 1886, Ole Skattebo gave one-half acre of land to be used for a cemetery, and on April 7, 1896, the members decided to build a church. Peder Aafedt gave one acre of land beside the cemetery for the new church. The church was built that summer and even though not finished, services were held that fall and the pioneers came together to worship in a new church in a new land. On the building committee were Peder Aafedt, Peter Hove and Ole K. Thoe. The cost of the church was $750, since much of the labor was donated.
Pastor Ringstad rescinded in the fall of 1897 after serving the parish for 12 years. He accepted a call to Petersburg. At this time another realignment of this parish took place and East Forest River Congregation became a part of the Park River parish, once served by Pastor M.N. Knutson. Also at this time we officially became a part of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church. Pastor Knutson resigned in 1900 and Pastor Olaf Guldseth was called and came in November, 1900. He remained in this parish until 1910. During this time the church was completely furnished inside and dedicated in 1905.
Ole K. Thoe made the altar, pulpit, baptismal font and designed and did all the art carving work. It was truly a beautiful piece of work. Pastor Guldseth resigned in 1910, followed by Pastor George Shurson, who after one year was forced to resign due to ill health. He was followed by Pastor John Bjerke, who served us until the fall of 1919, when East Forest River Congregation left the Park River Parish and merged with the newly-formed Fordville Lutheran Church. They were then served by Pastor H.C. Olson of Dahlen until Pastor Norris Olson came in 1921. He was our pastor until 1926. A call was given to Pastor S.K. Knutson, who accepted and gave his first sermon Christmas Day, 1926, and was a faithful servant. On May 29, 1929, a tornado destroyed our beautiful church. The cemetery, however, was left intact.
Since there were so few members left of the East Forest River Congregation, they joined the Fordville Lutheran Congregation and became a part of this church, and so came an end to the East Forest River Congregation.
The pioneer women were not slow in becoming interested in working for the church. The first Ladies’ Aid was organized in 1885 and they met regularly in the homes, having Christian fellowship and working for home and foreign missions. They also helped in a financial way with the work of their home church. During the summer they would have a sale of articles that they had made throughout the year and a picnic was held for the entire congregation. This was a day everyone looked forward to. The first officers were Mrs. Ole Walden, president; Mrs. Peter Hove, secretary, and Mrs. Peder Aafedt, treasurer.
The young people also got together for meetings and Christian fellowship in the homes, too, before the church became a reality. Having picnics and parties during the summer was also a part of their fellowship. Sunday School was also begun in the homes.
The first marriage recorded was the double wedding of Alex Walden and Hanna Monson and Juel Nest and Martha Walden on June 1, 1886. Surely there is a challenge for us to go forward as these pioneers did, in order that the Word of God and Christ’s saving grace and the power He brought to the ends of the earth. Let us Christian men and women meet this challenge to go onward and work untiringly, as did these pioneers of near one hundred years ago. O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, be thou our guide while life shall last and our eternal home.
Submitted by Gladys Huseby.