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KRLC History


This brief history was compiled from the Secretaries minutes, the books of the Ladies Aid and the Brotherhood, and the annual Congregational Reports. The Congregational Reports were compiled by Ole Roske, who was church secretary from 1951-1966. Some of what follows is from Lillian Pederson's original write-up for the Ladies Aid, which she recorded from the memories of Mrs. Ragnhild Roske and Mrs. Emily Erickson. Mrs. Audrey Carlson has served as the church historian and recorder of most of this history for the last half century. Recent events from the past ten years are summarized on the Recent History page.


A History of Knife River Lutheran Church


  • in August 1927, Mrs. Tom Loining attended church service in Two Harbors. While there, she asked Rev. Tetlie if he would come to Knife River to preach. He said he would, provided he had a place in which to deliver a sermon. The Presbyterians gave their consent to use their church (this church).

  • The first service was held the later part of September, Rev. Tetlie speaking half in English and half in Norwegian and performing one baptism, for Phyllis Jacqueline Erickson. At this time, he agreed to hold services every other Sunday. This arrangement was fine until the group decided to have a Ladies Aid and Sunday School. The Presbyterians objected to this so the Town Hall (which was across from the DAC) was then used.

  • On October 27, the Ladies Aid was organized with the help of Rev. Tetlie, at the home of Mrs. Birger Martinson (Ragnhild); later, Mrs. Ole Roske. Officers were: President- Mrs. Sig Erickson (Emily), Vice President -Mrs. Birger Martinson, Secretaries -Mrs. Herman Hanson (Marie) and Mrs. Gust Torgerson. (Hannah).

  • Other charter members were Mrs. John Erickson (Sophie), Mrs. Tom Loining(Inga), Mrs. Nils Lind (Laura), Mrs. Magnus Martin (Alma), Mrs. Hans Pederson (Bergine), Mrs. Christ Roske, Mrs. Gunvold Skadberg (Tina), and Mrs. Bernhard Whiting. Sunday School had an attendance of twenty pupils and one teacher, Mrs. Sig Erickson.

  • In order to raise money, a fish cake supper was served December 10, 1927. There was no money for food, so these were solicited, and the fish and meat were donated by the members.

    • It was a lot of hard work, as the Town Hall had no accommodations for cooking a supper. The men got together and made three long tables. Dishes, stoves, silverware, tables and chairs were brought over from homes. Water and wood had to be carried in also.

    • The menu consisted of fishcakes (which had to be ground and pounded in wooden bowls), meatballs, creamed peas and carrots, peeled potatoes, apple pie ala mode, and coffee. Ladies were up early to fry 25 pounds of meat balls that morning.

    • The weather being nasty had taken the high hopes of a successful supper down to its lowest ebb. It was a handicap to have to prepare meat in one house, potatoes in another, but a capacity crowd was served a good hot supper.

    • It was a successful supper, $185 was taken in, and $72.85 of that was from fancy work. (So, actually only $112 from the supper)

    • Mrs. Martin was overcome by an attack of pleurisy from over working on her fancy work too steadily and had to walk the floor one whole night. Everyone was too tired to clean up afterwards so everything was carried in tubs into the Pederson's basement.

    • The next morning it was a busy time cleaning up the hall for services to be held in the afternoon. Then came the chore of sorting dishes and silverware. (So it’s a snap now compared to then – and we think it’s a lot of work for $3,000.)



  • On February 1, 1928 a Men's Brotherhood was formed. Members: Ole Ruske, John Erickson, Carl Erickson, Sig Erickson, Nils Lind, Magnus Martin, Tom Loining, Hans Pederson, and Birger Martinson. (I have included the names of Ladies Aid, Brotherhood members as many of our members today are descendants of them)

  • Now that the Ladies Aid and Brotherhood were organized and the Sunday School going so well, with some money in the treasury, it was decided to fine a more suitable place to worship.

  • The Tom Larvey property was purchased for $700 (home of George and Pat Anderson now). On March 28, 1928, the Ladies Aid paid the first payment—funny, they did say the Church had the money in the treasury. Oh well! Changes were then made in the church building – partitions in the house were removed to make one large room painted inside and out. Rev. Tetlie brought up the matter of Sunday work. It was given some consideration and brought up again at the next meeting.

  • At another meeting the matter of Sunday work was again brought up by Rev. Tetlie, and the sentiment was to avoid Sunday work as much as possible. Do you think we'd need a meeting on that now?

  • It was brought to the attention of the group by Attorney Claus Monker that the Church incorporate. On June 5, 1928, a special meeting was held at the Town Hall. It was decided the church shall be called the Knife River Lutheran Church, affiliated with the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. Rev. E.J. Tetlie shall be the Pastor

  • A second supper of boiled trout was served and proved to be very successful. $127.59 was taken in. Linens, dishes and silverware were purchased for $50. Not only were suppers put on by the congregation, but they also attended them. (pg. 13, Brotherhood book). "All members meet at Erickson's Store at 6:30, November 1, 1938, and all members shall go to the Presbyterian supper."



  • The first parochial school, with Oren P. Sheggeby as teacher, was held in June. This began a long list of Bible School teachers. These teachers were missionaries and student pastors. According to the Annual Reports of 1929, 30, and 31, they were paid $25 and had summer school for one month. They stayed at the Carl Erickson or Sig Erickson homes. Members would take turns serving them meals.

  • The children were expected to be on their best behavior and show good manners. Also it was time for cantaloupe for breakfast, special suppers when you came home from school—things you never got to eat unless the Bible School teacher came. It was a good geography lesson for the students, as they learned of faraway places—Madagascar, China, Africa, Brazil.

  • Even the language was sometimes learned, as the year "Jesus Loves Me" was taught in Chinese. (I still remember the words and could sing it now but I don’t want you all to leave. I know the Chinese wouldn’t understand it)


In 1930, an altar and pulpit were purchased, so the church could be dedicated in the Fall.



In 1931, $15 was paid to the Norwegian Church of Two Harbors for the paving of 4th Avenue in front of the church. So, you see we have an investment in front of Bethlehem in Two Harbors.

Some interesting information found in the Brotherhood book of Carl Erickson that's not necessarily historical, but that we can relate to. Upon motion made by 7 members, whose names were all listed, Nils Lind was instructed to spend an amount not to exceed $10 for the Christmas Program, which was put on with the Ladies Aid Society. A committee was formed to see the school board in regards to the use of the school for this.
Another interesting note from the Brotherhood book: "Motion made and seconded that the Brotherhood sell Ole Johnson the barn that stands on the rear of the church property for $25. Mr. Johnson agrees to serve as janitor for the church until this bill is paid off.

The Brotherhood Book ends in 1935, with the Congregational Secretaries book beginning in 1951. The only books available until 1951 are the Ladies Aid Secretary books; so the history is sketchy here.

In June of 1937, the Presbyterian church came up for sale. It was purchased for $350. It was then remodeled inside and out. A new porch was added and electricity was put in. A dedication service was held December 4, 1938.

Suppers were still being served to pay off the mortgage on the new church. Smorgasbords were served at the Sig Erickson store (now Emily's), and they also helped. When points (which were used to buy food during WW II) and fish were hard to get, making church suppers difficult, the Ladies Aid members gave $2 every 3 months to pay current expenses. An oil stove was purchased and the church insulated. Sometime during these years there was a fire in the church. Due to the fast actions of Mel Bugge and John Madison, the church was saved; some pews were scorched badly, though.

Rev. Tetlie left in 1943 after 16 years, and Rev. J. Obert Jorgenson became the new pastor in 1944.

The Ladies Aid purchased a new oil tank and piped the oil into the church around 1946.
A basement was added in 1949 to accommodate a growing Sunday School. The Sunday School Christmas Program was always the highlight of the season. Wonderful, elaborate programs were staged. There were costumes of all kinds, from the Holy scene to sheep and animals. Little ones in holiday dress had learned their pieces and recited them for Mom and Dad, Grandparents and friends. They sang songs from "Away in the Manger" to our modern songs of "365 Days of Christmas all Year Long". Behind all of that have been all the dedicated Sunday School teachers. Men and women, young and old, who have given so unselfishly of themselves during a busy holiday season.

At the end of Bible School and Sunday School there was always the picnic to look forward to. It was held in places like Big Lake in Cloquet, Lester Park, Island Lake, or at the "second sand beach", or in open fields around the area. Games were also played, lots of food and crocks of lemonade were devoured. These were also family gatherings of the congregation.

Rev. Jorgenson left in 1951 and Rev. Arnold Anderson was here until 1953.
In 1952, the Ladies Aid held an open house commemorating their 25 Anniversary. Rev. Anderson gave the address. Eleven charter members were present. A history of the Society was read by Mrs. Bertil (Audrey) Carlson. The program was arranged by Mrs. Sig Erickson.
In 1953, John Reppe become our Pastor. He had previously served as our Bible School teacher, and the congregation was very pleased to have him as our Pastor. He had a wife, Imogene, and a daughter, Christine.

The following is a brief list of major changes and improvements made over the
1954: Mortgage on basement was burned by the trustees who had signed the loan: Magnus Martin, S.J. Erickson, and Bertil Carlson.
1955: Organ was purchased
1957: A special meeting of the congregation was called to order by Pastor Reppe on April 2 to fill the vacancy of Treasurer Carl Erickson, who passed away after Holding the office of Secretary and then Treasurer since the church was organized. Mrs. Ivar (Lorraine Erickson) Peterson, Assistant Treasurer, was elected. She went on to hold that office for 18 years until 1975. We all wondered what would happen as we had lost Carl who was a leader also. Then the Lord gave us Kenneth Ojard.
1959: Lake Superior and Iron Range Circuit purchased the Boy's Camp at Lake Vermillion for a Bible Camp for $72,000; we paid our share of $170 with extra donations by the members, as it was too late to be included in the budget.
1960: Stuccoed the outside of the church.
1967: Bathrooms added. Yes, we had an outdoor biffy!
1969: Kitchen sink and cupboards put in.
1973: Painted inside of church
1974: Library added
1977: New ceiling in church
1978: Organists Evelyn Ojard and Lillian Eskola retired. Carol Carlson became our new organist. (Additional comments by Marv Holt: Today, June 9, 2013, Carol has been our organist for 35 years. She has played over 7,000 hymns for us in that time.)
1982: Kitchen remodeled.
1984-86: Extensive remodeling including re-wiring, new heating system, insulation, Walls redone in wainscoting, chancel remodeled, cupboards put in basement and pews stained. Many hours of hard work by the congregation members went into this. It was completed in time for confirmation Sunday to be held upstairs. Services had been held in the basement.

1987 Our Anniversary celebrating 50 years in this church and 60 years as a congregation was held Oct. 24 and 25, 1987. On Saturday, a fish cake supper was served with the theme, "Fishers of Men". On Sunday at 9 AM, the worship included a history of the church, presented by Audrey Carlson, and the Background of the Altar Painting, read by Christin Carlson. Special music was included also. At 2 PM that afternoon, a program was held with a Skit of Early Years and special music. Cake and coffee followed. A hand loomed banner dedicated to early founders was presented. The outside light to illuminate the cross, altar linens and the eternity light also were dedicated.

1990 Pastor Reppe retired July 31st, 1990. A potluck honoring him and Imogene was held on Sept. 9, 1990. He had been here 37 years. I think he was trying to break Carl Erickson and Ole Roske's records, which he did of course! A program of music and a skit, "A Day In the Life of Pastor Reppe or “One Head, Many Hats", were part of the program.


1991 Pastor James Swanson was our interim Pastor. A Committee formed to look into a new organ, made up of Carol Carlson, Jane Heimbach, and Lyle Northey. They presented their recommendation of a pipe organ to the congregation. A campaign to raise funds for the organ began, with Lyle Northey as chairman. The campaign involved fishcake suppers, calendars, note paper, Christmas cards, and rummage sales every summer in a tent at Emily's, all run by Trish Northey and Carol Carlson. A contract with Bethlehem for pastoral services was created, the first written one in our history together. The negotiating committee from Knife River was Richard Ojard, Paul von Goertz, and Audrey Carlson. Paul and Audrey served on the Call

Committee for a new pastor. Knife River didn't have a vote, but they attended every meeting and participated in interviews. They whole-heartedly agreed on Pastor Phil and Pastor Susan Berge as our new pastors. On Oct. 1st, the new Pastors started. They were installed at Bethlehem on November 10th. A congregational supper welcoming them and their son, Andrew, to Knife River was held here earlier.


1992 A picture Directory of Church members put together, with Sue Hubbartt and Audrey Carlson as the organizers.

1995 On January 22, there was a Dedication Service at the 8:30 AM Worship service for the new pipe organ($34,000). The message and presentation of the organ came from Mr. Dan Jaeckel, the crafter and builder of the organ. It was accepted by Lyle Northey and Richard Ojard, President of the Congregation. A special Organ concert was held with musicians, followed by gourmet coffee and cheese cake served after, organized by Carol Carlson. In February, an Endowment Fund Committee was formed, with Jane and Dick Heimbach, Stephen Carlson, Nancy Ojard, and Mary von Goertz. 2 young people were given help to go to New Orleans for a youth rally and 15 to attend Camp Vermillion since then.

1996 Long Range Planning Retreat at Bethlehem on April 12 and 13, with John Safstrom, Marge and Norton Johnson and other interested members of our congregation was held.
(Additional comments by Marv Holt: On the morning of the annual meeting, Sandy and I joined the church so that at the annual meeting later in the day I was eligible to be elected treasurer. You’ve heard the expression about being railroaded. I didn’t realize the special significance of that expression in this church until several years later. When the church was lifted up back in the forties to build a lower level, they needed a steel beam to support the sanctuary floor. Usually a contractor would use a steel “I-Beam”, but not in this church. The main support steel beam is a length of railroad track!)


  • As a result of the Long Range Planning, a Sound System has been installed and total family Sunday School meets once a month.

  • A beach service was held with Pastor Susan leading. A good attendance enjoyed a beautiful day and coffee and goodies for fellowship afterwards.

  • Through the Worship committee, a Contemporary Service was put together by Pastor Susan and Carol Carlson to be used monthly.

  • Blue altar paraments were given in memory of Petra Skadberg by her family. Red paraments were purchased also from the Memorial Fund.

  • We continue to have our Palm Sunday breakfast prepared by the men of the congregation. Fishcake suppers and Advent festivals also continue.

  • The Council meets regularly with Norton Johnson as President. The Worship committee meets with Pastor Susan. Joyful Noise Choir and Bell Choir practice. Sunday School continues and the Women of the ELCA meet the last Monday of the month. There is a Bible Study at the Vanilla Bean, and puppet ministry has begun under the leadership of Vicky Gorman and Trish Northey.


(Additional comments by Marv Holt: The Miracle of the Bells

Trish Northey suggested that we should have a handbell choir.

We had no bells, no director, no knowledge of handbells and no music. However, in a very short time we found Sam Black, ironically Sam had moved to Two Harbors from Oklahoma City to escape the heat and tornadoes! Sam found a church in Duluth with handbells they were not using and arranged to lease them for us. So, for the next year and a half we had a handbell choir.

However, late in 1998 the Duluth church requested the return of their bells so they could start their own handbell choir. So, at the Christmas service Sam announced that we would no longer have handbell music. Unknown to us at the time, we had a visitor that day who loved handbell music. Following the service she asked Pastor Susan if it would be alright if she conducted a fund raising activity to raise money to buy new handbells. We said OK, not knowing what to expect.

In the middle of February when I stopped at the post office to pick up the church mail, there was a bundle of 17 letters in identical envelopes with return addresses from Colorado, California, Texas, Washington DC, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Inside these envelopes were checks for the purchase of new handbells. Several letters included a short note such as “Aunt Jane never asks for anything for herself, so if this is something she supports, we are happy to be a part of it.” Over the next few days and weeks, letters kept coming. We found out that Jane Grubb – “Aunt Jane” had sent out 65 letters to her family, friends, and the President of the US, the Governor of Minnesota and Ross Perot.

By the middle of March, Sam had located a couple in Chattanooga, Tennessee who had a set of handbells for sale. They had purchased a new set of bells for their church only to find out that their church did not want them. When Sam asked them how much they wanted for their handbells, they asked Sam if the handbells would be used in our worship services. When Sam said yes, they said they would sell us the bells for $4,500 – that’s about half of what they were worth. I

n the middle of April the Tennessee couple requested a check for $3,000 and they would ship the handbells to us. I stopped at the post office the next day and picked up a few more letters and found that we had received exactly $3,000 up to that point. When I got to the bank, there was a $5 charge for a cashier’s check and there was a $5.60 charge for the priority mail to send the check. When I left the bank I discovered I still had the post office box key, so I stopped back at the post office and sure enough, there was one more letter with a check for $15 to cover the cost of the cashier’s check and the mailing! By the time the bells arrived in May, we had received the full $4,500 with a little left over to buy more handbell music.)

1998 The Celebration of Music becomes an Annual Event. Serena Michaelson becomes our Youth

1999 Serena has Monday Night Madness for youth and Power Surge on Thursday nights for youth.


  • Blue pottery candles and flower vases to be used during communion services were presented in memory of their Grandmother's Emily Erickson and Gertie Sandwick, early members of the church, by Steve and Carol Carlson. Audrey Carlson presented the communion plate(platen).

  • Norton Johnson resigned as president of the congregation after serving for 5 years. Lyle Northey was elected to replace him.

  • Architect Wayne Dahlberg presented plans for an addition to the church. Special meetings were held regarding building plans. New steps and sod were put in after a delay from 1999



  • Marv Holt resigned as Treasurer after 5 years of dedicated service.

  • Melanie McMillion was elected the new Treasurer.

  • Lyle is still collecting aluminum cans for the youth group.

  • Holy Communion is offered two times each month.

  • The Congregation voted unanimously to accept the revised building plan submitted by Wayne Dahlberg.

  • Church was cancelled February 25th due to snow.

  • A Celebration of Marriage service was held.

  • On May 6, the Congregation voted unanimously on the recommendation of the appeal Task Force to hire the James Company to guide the major gift fundraising effort to go towards the church building construction project. Marge Johnson is to be the Capital Fund Appeal Chair and Audrey Carlson is the co-Chair. Trish Northey will be Appeal Secretary. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $150,000 in gifts and pledges. The challenge goal is 200,000 and the Miracle Goal is $250,000. Upon completion of this Appeal, the Facilities Committee will finalize a building proposal and make a recommendation to the congregation. "Building for Christ, Together in Faith" is the official name given to the building fund appeal. Leadership Team members were installed on Sept. 16th. October was a busy month getting the word out about the appeal. October 28 was declared Response Sunday/Spirit of Gratitude and the Celebration Sunday is to be November 11th, when pledges mounting to $145,000 were brought forward and dedicated. We are ready to move into actual construction. Marv Holt and Steve Carlson volunteered to be co-chairs. By the end of December, pledges rose to $150,000.

  • In December, a banner, "Let the Little Ones Come Unto Me" was created by Audrey Carlson in honor of Sofia Carlson's baptism.

  • New commercial refrigerator and stainless steel table for kitchen were purchased from Fish Cake Supper proceeds.

  • 22.8% of our total giving for the year went to mission/benevolence.



  • Nancy Ojard replaced Lyle Northey as President.

  • Sandy Holt resigned as editor of newsletter. Sue Sigel will be our new editor.

  • Church banners were displayed and dedicated on Feb. 3.

  • As of Feb. 17, the total pledge was up to $158,293 with $49,659 received and deposited.

  • Women of the ELCA's project for the year is working with Ann Hupp at Superior Healthy Community Center in meeting special needs in our surrounding communities.

  • Our Paschal Candle requested by the Worship Committee was used for the first time on Easter Sunday, April 21st. (Additional comments by Marv Holt: When I heard about the Paschal candle, I had an idea for a stand with three crosses to represent the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. When Pastor Phil saw the candle stand he saw the three crosses on Golgotha when Jesus was crucified and the Paschal candle – also called the Christ Candle – rising up from the crucifixion. I like that image!)

  • Bread of Life, a new alternative worship service, was introduced, to be used the third Sunday of each month.

  • Healing Service is offered each month, alternating between during the service or after the service.

  • Norton and Marge Johnson offered their Kawaii five foot Baby Grand piano to the church. It was gratefully accepted.

  • On April 28, the bid of Donald Holm Construction Co. for the building addition and improvements was accepted by the congregation.

  • A ground breaking ceremony was held Sunday, May 5th. Audrey Carlson, co-chair of Building Appeal, turned the first shovel(a gold-gilded one, given by Marv), Sandy Holt, Vice-President and Marvin Holt and Steve Carlson, Co-Chairs of Building Committee, also turned over the sod. We should have held a trial run as the ground was too hard or the shovel too dull—or Audrey didn't have enough power to break through the ground. We'll say the ground was too hard.

  • In August the construction project continues to run ahead of schedule. New addition to the Sanctuary and new narthex has been taped and plastered, ready for painting. Rocky Stewart has spent the summer wiring the new addition and re-wiring the old. (Additional comments by Marv Holt: When Holm construction removed the wall between the original church and the new addition, they found an empty whiskey bottle wrapped in an April, 1912 newspaper. Pastor Phil was quick to point out that the Presbyterians built the original church!)

  • A Christian Education Committee is newly created.

  • Rally Day/Knife River Family Fun Festival was Oct. 6, with Pastor Clown and the theme, "He's Got the Whole Word in His Hands."

  • Spiritual Growth Group meets a the Vanilla Bean, led by Glenn Johnson

  • We continue to have an active youth group, led by Serena Michaelson. This is not only for our members but there are many young people from the area. She also leads the Vacation Bible School Activities.

  • Sunday, Oct. 13, the Women of the ELCA celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the group with a special worship service. Pastor Susan spoke on "The Witness of Women". The theme was also carried out in a banner created by Audrey Carlson. At 3 PM a program was held. Relatives represented early members of the Ladies Aid when Delores Jackson read the names. History was read by Audrey Carlson. There was vocal music by Pastor Susan and Jan Anderson. Comments were made by the current Pastors, Phil and Susan Berge and Pastor John Reppe, our Pastor of many years. Melanie McMillion gave information on current mission projects. The Bell Choir performed. Members of the Myrtle Nelson family were present and were thanked for the green altar paraments and coffee urn donated in memory of Myrtle. A delicious meal of salad with rolls, fruit, and cake was served. Sweat shirts with the Heart of the Community logo were sold as a tribute to the early members who sold fancy work and other ornaments to finance their aid and church mission work.

  • On Oct. 18, we had a capacity crowd for our Fish Cake/Meatball supper. Many came to see our new addition, which was not completely finished. The first seating filled immediately and the sanctuary filled the second time at once. The kitchen was not completed and we used paper plates. 50 volunteers spent 217 hours working to make it a success. The proceeds of $2340 will be used toward finishing the kitchen. Pat and Jim Hanson spearheaded the successful supper. It was very muddy in the back entrance. We were happy we didn't have the carpet in yet.

  • Building update as of the end of 2002: Holm Construction has finished all of their work, John Hill has completed all of the mechanical and plumbing work, and Rocky Stewart is finishing up with the electrical work. Kitchen cabinets are in place, ready for dishes which were taken home by members to wash. An office area has been created as a youth group office. A sacristy for altar and worship appointments and ornaments, paraments, and banners has been created, with the reinstallation of cabinets.

  • The last wedding held in prior sanctuary was Jeffrey Carlson and Jessica Kempffer in February. The first wedding in the new addition was the wedding of Christin Carlson and Brad Frankenstein on Oct. 5. Audrey Carlson presented a wedding banner "And the Two Shall Become One" in honor of the occasion.

  • The Council accepted the resignation of Serena Michaleson our youth director of four years. Her enthusiasm for sharing Christ's love has touched the lives of many youth in and around Knife River.

  • A combined Christmas service for the congregation and Sunday School was held Dec. 15 during worship. "Sound the Bells! A Savior is Born" featured a variety of bells, from lowly cow bells to our wonderful hand bells.

  • Funerals during the past year have been for Ron Jackson, Ernie Guse, Myrtle Nelson, and Petra Wedlund.




  • Issue of From the Heart newsletter came out in January with our own mailing, instead of an insert in Bethlehem's newsletter.

  • We had our first major problem during the building project. Our new carpet has a side matching problem. Good news, it was replaced in a different color.

  • Kitchen shower was held with donations over $1000.

  • Sonja von Goertz took the position of youth director for the spring and summer months. We were treated to a silly breakfast which we'll all remember. She held other events with proceeds going to the Street Outreach Program.

  • Work crews continue to work on projects inside and outside the church. Work has begun on the landscaping. We have had many dedicated workers but the V.I.P. of our Building Project is Marv Holt. He's held everything together by being at the church, seeing that things are being done and doing the things that aren't.

  • Approximately $160,000 was pledged for our appeal and we have received 85% of that with one year left.



  • We had the honor of our quilt donated for World Hunger at the Synod Assembly being purchased by Garrison Keillor.

  • In May, the Councils of Knife River and Bethlehem met to review five different staffing options for our churches. The Councils met to take a final vote recommending the two congregations become separate parishes and Knife River would call Pastor Susan as our first solo half-time Pastor. (Pastor Phil would stay on as Bethlehem's full-time Pastor).

  • On June 22, Pastor Susan accepted the Call to serve Knife River.

  • On August 8, Pastor Phil's last Sunday at Knife River, a "roast" was held following church at a buffet get-together. He received a red hat for his 50 birthday, so he can join the red hat society. His sense of humor and his easy style of guidance will be missed.

  • Pastor Susan's first official Sunday as Knife River's own Pastor was on Sept. 5.

  • A new building appeal is begun to pay off our mortgage, this one is being done "in house", with leadership from Pastor Susan, Paul von Goertz, and Lyle Northey.

  • Pastor's office established

  • Finishing work mostly completed throughout church

  • Church facility used throughout the week for things like yoga, exercise class, quilting, 4-H groups, youth group meetings, concerts, community events, etc.

  • Heifer Project has been a successful mission project for our Sunday School, including involving congregational members in purchasing animals for families in developing countries.

  • Jan Swanson acted as a volunteer youth worker for us.

  • An adult study often meets Sunday mornings after worship.



  • Received two lots next to church from William Myrvold

  • Memorial Garden begun, under Laura Stone's leadership

  • We continue to double-tithe to outreach/benevolence giving.

  • We were recognized at Synod Assembly for being 2nd per capita in Overall outreach giving, and 4th per capita in giving to World Hunger.

  • Carly Harris has been hired to be our Youth Worker

  • We published an Advent Devotional booklet made up of memories of Christmas past by our members



  • We became officially incorporated for first time as Knife River Lutheran Church.

  • We held two services for the first time on our own: An Ash Wednesday service and a candlelight evening service mid-December.

  • A surprise 20th Anniversary of Ordination service was held for Pastor Susan in June.

  • Many long-time members of our church and community died during 2006.

  • Jim Allert became congregational president.



  • We began using the new Lutheran hymnal, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Book.

  • We were again recognized at the Synod Assembly for our outreach giving(ranked 4th) and giving to World Hunger(ranked 6th)

  • Some firsts: a combined Thanksgiving service with French River Lutheran Church and a Knife River luncheon with music for the Tour Of Homes in December.

  • Carmen Beardsley became our new Youth Worker.

  • Melanie McMillion became our first volunteer Pastoral Administrative Assistant.

  • We began monthly staff meetings to coordinate ministries and calendar.

  • Launched final appeal for church mortgage pay-off under Lyle Northey's leadership.

  • We had a Blessing of the Animals service with 30 people, ranging from 7 to 87 years old and about a dozen animals participating.

  • We again experienced some significant deaths, including two suicides.



  • We begin to explore support for Synodical mission in Honduras

  • Beginnings of a church library are underway

  • Work continues on Memorial Garden

  • Defibrillator purchased

  • Time and talent survey done in fall 2007 leads to infusion of volunteers for various church committees and activities (especially maintenance and repair)

  • Community mosaic weekend held in April – big success. Laura organized it and over 100 people from all over the community (not just the church) participated. Mosaics were installed in Memorial garden and trees planted by the congregation. (Additional comments by Marv Holt: We had to collect rocks for the mosaics – not just any rocks, Laura wanted red rocks, blue rocks, green rocks, black rocks, white rocks, and they had to be the right size!)

  • KRLC holds 80th anniversary celebration in June



  • New front doors installed by Tim Anderson

  • Church puts up tent for bake sale at Grandmas Marathon

  • Church library completed

  • Dale Burton completes fish sculpture and fountain is installed

  • Numerous church policies updated/established

  • Altar access platform with railings constructed

  • Memorial Garden dedicated Sept. 13th.

  • New church directory initiative

  • Pastor Susan's sabbatical discussion begins

  • President Jim Allert’s last official action was to cancel Christmas!  (There was blizzard so church services had to be cancelled.)



  • A new Long Range Planning survey was completed showing interest in an elevator.

  • A surplus of $1,998 from 2009 was used to get a new computer system and laser printer for Pastor Susan’s office.

  • Pastor Susan took a one month Sabbatical from mid-June to mid-July.

  • Our Sunday School gave $280 to the Global Barnyard.

  • We purchased cushions for all of the pews.

  • More than fifty people helped Pastor Susan celebrate her fiftieth birthday on Sunday, March 21st. The party was a surprise, but her sermon about gifts from the heart and showing our love could not have been more appropriate as a lead-in to the party. The decorations were fantastic, thanks to Dee and Randy Ellestad, and the food was as good as always. Melanie and friends are to be thanked for their creativity in filling the lovely gift boxes with appropriate cards identifying donations in Pastor Susan’s name. What a special way to honor a very special lady!

  • On September 26th the congregation voted to purchase and install an elevator. (In 2006 the congregation undertook a 20 year mortgage loan from Thrivent in the amount of $176,000. By August of 2010 the balance on this mortgage was just under $45,000. If we had simply made the regular monthly mortgage payments according to the loan, the balance in August would have been $153,000. Our congregation has done an excellent job of accelerating the payoff of the original loan.) Many member volunteers helped to do the preparation work for the installation of the elevator, saving us about $5,000.

  • Early in December our new elevator (LULA: Limited Use Limited Application) arrived in the form of hundreds of pieces. It took several volunteers a couple of hours just to unload the truck.

  • LULA was ready for use for the Christmas season thanks to many volunteer hours during November and December!

  • Congregational Christmas Play, “A Christmas Whimsy.” On December 19th.




  • LULA was certified by the State of Minnesota in January.

  • During 2011 a few volunteers have worked on various maintenance tasks around the church facility. In the lower level we added a storage room for the Quilters group and were able to recycle one of the doors from the elevator shaft rooms that were removed to make room for LULA. We also insulated the block wall in the lower level and covered it with sheet rock and then painted the whole lower level. In the short hallway leading to the lower level bathrooms we were able to make a small storage closet and use a part of the second door we removed from the elevator shaft.

  • We converted the lower level women’s bathroom into a unisex handicapped accessible bathroom. We also replaced some of the floor tiles in the kitchen.

  • On Dec. 18th, the choir performed the Christmas Cantata, “I Hear the Prophet Calling.”



  • On February 26th, at a special meeting of the congregation, we voted to purchase four additional lots adjacent to the church for $28,000. The mortgage with Thrivent will be re-financed to pay for these lots.

  • Steve Carlson received the signed purchase agreement back from the sellers of the lots and Thrivent approved our request to refinance our current mortgage so we could borrow an additional $27,000 for the purchase of the lots. We closed on the lots on April 13, 2012.

  • During the rain and flooding that hit Knife River during the past couple of weeks, we were able to appreciate some work that Randy Ellestad did back when we were getting ready for the installation of the new elevator in 2010. Prior to the work Randy did, we would routinely get water on the floor of the kitchen and the new addition whenever there was a heavy rain. Randy was able to drill some holes through the old foundation down in the pit below the elevator that relieved some of the hydrostatic pressure from the flow of ground water that used to seep through the old foundation. Once these holes were drilled, the ground water had an easy path to drain into the elevator pit. We then installed a new sump pump in the elevator pit that pumps the water out to the culvert that runs behind the Memorial Garden. Ever since we finished that task, we have not had any significant amounts of water on the floors downstairs. During the flooding over the past couple of weeks, we got about a quart of water on the floor of the kitchen – nice clear clean water. We can handle that.

  • The Lake County Commissioners have approved our request to extend Third Street to give us better access to the new land we now have. This will enable us to have some off street parking.

  • A special thanks to DeWayne & Maurine Rubedor for the new BBQ grill and fire pit they donated to the church. We were able to use the new grill for our “First Annual” church picnic on August 18th. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and we did not have a bonfire in the fire pit.

  • Following the June flooding, we were able to serve our Knife River community by hosting several events that normally would have taken place at the Rec Center. The Rec Center was heavily damaged in the June flooding that hit Knife River. As “The Heart of the Community” we were happy that we could provide this service. Thanks to the efforts of many Knife River community volunteers, the Rec Center will be back in service soon.


  • Surveyed our total church land to see what the boundaries are for the new lots.

  • Fixed our heating system.

  • April 14th, the choir performed an Easter Cantata, “Come Walk With Me.”

  • A landscape architect has been hired to give us design ideas for our land and a columbarium.

  • Endowment Fund provided funds to purchase 3 new sewing machines for the quilters. Nineteen quilts were donated.

  • Congregation voted to proceed with the Columbarium.



  • Adopted a new marriage policy on September 21st, the fruit of many months of meetings and deliberation.

  • The Creation Care Team met for the first time on May 25th.

  • VBS was held in July.

  • A church picnic was held on July 24th with 40-50 in attendance.

  • Marv Holt stepped down as church President in July. Steve Carlson agreed to be acting President until elections occur in early 2015.

  • Celebration of Music (formerly held in November) was held on Sunday December 7th in conjunction with the Julebyen. Julebyen was a huge success, including our participation in the living nativity (with goats running wild). The Free 4 All quartet was formed and also sang at the Julebyen.

  • We were able to double-tithe this year, which is a reflection of the generosity of our congregation.



  • The church took in 21 new members - a record! Worship attendance increased to an average of 58 each Sunday. Both of these buck the national trends in traditional churches!

  • New church directory was issued, thanks to Jim Allert!

  • Lyle Northey took over as church President at the January annual meeting. Many thanks to Steve Carlson for temporarily stepping in as church President when Marv Holt moved out of that role.

  • Mike Stiff stepped down as church Treasurer at the end of the year and Michael Dent stepped up to fill that role. Thanks to Mike for his many years of serving in that demanding role.


  • Seven children went through First Communion instruction and received their First Communion.

  • Endowment scholarships for post-high school education were given Spring and Fall for 5 different young people.

  • Held three Memorial Garden worship services over the summer.

  • Worship attendance hit another high, averaging 59 each Sunday.

  • Celebrated Pastor Susan's 30th Anniversary of her ordination with a special program and brunch on June 12th.

  • Held our second largest ever Fishcake Dinner, serving around 420.

  • Were again able to double-tithe between Synodical giving and a category of local and world outreach giving.


  • The mortgage was paid off and we had a ceremonial mortgage burning celebration after church in June.

  • Phase 1 of the Columbarium was completed.

  • Updated the Church Constitution.

  • Lyle Northey stepped down as church President at the January annual meeting. Many thanks to Lyle for his years of service to the church. Bjorn Ojard stepped into the role of President.

  • The Creation Care Team continued to guide us as we switched over to LED lights.

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