Our Church
Mission Statement

Spiritual Growth
Sunday School

NE Iowa Synod
Stanhope, Iowa

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On June 10, 1905, a general invitation was extended to all Lutherans in the town of Stanhope and immediate vicinity to meet in the Bank Hall for the purpose of organizing a congregation and to eventually build a church. (Prior to this time about 30 children had been given Sunday School instruction under the leadership of J.S. Sogard.)

On June 24, 1905, another meeting was called. Pastor Knutson of the St. Paul?s congregation read their constitution and on motion it was adopted.

On October 10, 1905, the dream of these staunch Lutherans was realized. At this meeting they officially organized the new congregation, choosing the name Norum Lutheran Church.

On February 28, 1906, a special meeting was called for the purpose of voting on a synod. Their choice was the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. The first annual meeting held in the new church was on January 13, 1908. Previously their meetings had been held in the H.E. Fardal home.

Pastor Knutson continued to serve the Norum and St. Paul?s congregations until 1913. On September 13, 1913, he tendered his resignation.

Pastor Omar Brenne from Canada moved here in the spring of 1914. His pastorate of the Norum and St Paul?s congregations included the great church union in 1917. In order then to give the congregations a free hand to merge or reorganize, Pastor Brenne resigned in the fall of 1918.

On November 25, 1918, a special meeting of the two voting bodies, previously having constituted the ?Brekke? (Lake Center) and Norum congregations, was held in what is now Our Savior?s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The object of the meeting was for the purpose of consolidating the ?Brekke? and the ?Norum? congregations into a new name and a new constitution. The name selected at this meeting was ?Our Savior?s Evangelical Lutheran Church." After the union, Pastor H.O. Oppedal was called and served Our Savior?s and St. Paul?s congregations from 1919 to 1939.

On October 4, 1938, a special meeting of the congregation was called for the purpose of discussing the resignation submitted by Pastor Hans Oppedal. With great reluctance his resignation was accepted. Upon request from the congregations, he served until May, 1939, at which time he had completed twenty years of service.

In February of 1939, a letter of call was extended to Pastor Odean Monson of Mizpah, Minnesota. He accepted the call and was installed the first Sunday in June. In February 1949, Pastor Monson resigned as pastor of Our Savior?s congregation. On Sunday, May 22, he preached his farewell sermon. Pastor M.E. Nesse of Jewell served the congregation during the summer months.

September 23, 1949, a letter of call was extended to Pastor Walter Carlson of Leland, Illinois. He accepted the call and was installed on December 11, 1949.

A special meeting was held by the members of Our Savior?s congregation in the church auditorium on April 24, 1950. It was decided that the Ladies Aid members be granted the right to vote on all church affairs.

In 1955, in conjunction with our sister church St. Paul?s, a 25th anniversary party was given for Pastor and Mrs. Carlson. This was to honor their 25 years of marriage and also 25 years in the ministry.

The congregation was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod until 1961 when it became a member of the American Lutheran Church body - - - a merger of the ELC, ALC, UELC, and the American Free Church.

In July of 1962, Pastor Carlson resigned. The Rev. T.J. Alvestad agreed to serve as interim pastor for one year. During this time together with St. Paul?s congregation, Our Savior?s honored the 50th anniversary of Pastor Alvestad? s ordination.

In June of 1963, the Rev. Enoch Hall was installed as pastor of the joint parish. Our most energetic undertaking was the building of our Education Unit. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held after Easter Services in April 1968. On June 22, 1969, the new unit was dedicated. In December of 1976 Pastor Hall resigned, requesting to leave by January 15, 1977, to take the chaplaincy at Bethany Manor.

Pastor Dwight McElree was called to fill in as interim pastor of the parish beginning January 23, 1977. During this period and after many meetings with both churches, a vote was taken on March 5, 1978, to dissolve our partnership with St. Paul?s. Pastor McElree was then called to full time duties at Our Savior?s. Pastor McElree resigned in 1981 to further his education and pursue other endeavors.

Pastor Carroll Lang was called from Northwood, Iowa in November of 1981. He began his duties in January of 1982 and served until the end of the year.

Pastor Kent Larson was called in September of 1983 from Luther Northwestern Seminary. Following his ordination October 16 in Harlan, Iowa, he was installed October 30, 1983. Pastor Larson served until January, 1986.

In May 1986, Pastor Neal Solomonson was called. He began his duties July 26, 1986 and served until February 23, 1992.

As we drew closer to the end of the century, we were confronted with demographic changes in our rural communities. One of the results of these changes included the difficulty of finding a pastor willing to serve in a small rural congregation. Pastor Solomonson assisted us in starting a new endeavor. We decided to become active in the training of new pastors through the internship program. With the assistance of other Lutheran Pastors in our Riverside Cluster acting as supervisors, we were able to provide an excellent off-site training center. We were pleased with both our supervisory pastors as well as with the number of our congregation members who were willing to serve on the internship committee.

Among those pastors who worked with us in an advisory capacity as well as providing supervision were: Pastor Lee Laaveg and Pastor Tim Nappe of Jewell, Pastor John Wogsland of Randall, Pastor Michael Herschberger of Ellsworth, and Pastor Christa von Zychlin of Ames. Each student intern would serve for a twelve-month period prior to their final year in seminary.

Our first intern was Todd Hylden, who came to us from Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, MN. His Service of Beginning was held July 12, 1992, and he served until June 1, 1993.

Our second intern was Katharine Yarnell who came to us from Wartburg Seminary. Katharine?s Service of Beginning was held June 6, 1993 and she served until August 14, 1994.

Scott Hedegaard also came to us from Wartburg Seminary. A Service of Beginning was held September 4, 1994. Scott served until August 13, 1995.

Next to arrive in Stanhope, again from Wartburg Seminary, was Tim Maybee. Tim would serve from September 3, 1995 through August 11, 1996.

Neal Mather also came to us from Wartburg. Neal?s internship program began August 15, 1996 and concluded August 10, 1997.

Another Wartburg student, Kim Wills, served as intern from August 31, 1997 to August 16, 1998.

Loyd Ginn came to us from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. A Service of Beginning was held for Loyd September 6, 1998. Loyd was instrumental in preparing the thoughts of Stratford Lutheran and Our Savior?s members for the possibility of a combined parish. Loyd served us until August 22, 1999.

Amy Odgren was our intern from Wartburg and served from September 1999 through July of 2000 and continued pursuing what Loyd had started. Discussions were maintained with members of the Stratford Lutheran Church regarding the possibility of sharing a pastor.

A call was extended to Pastor Joseph Lambert who was installed as pastor for both churches in August of 2000. The parsonage in Stratford would become the Lambert?s new home, and the congregation in Stanhope would later sell the parsonage we owned at 605 Alfred Street. It was agreed the pastor?s office and secretary would be located in Our Savior?s. Pastor Lambert would resign as pastor at Stratford Lutheran and Our Saviors Lutheran on June 30, 2007 to pursue other interests. Since then Our Saviors has used several supply pastors to lead worship.