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Messiah History

After several years of planning, and a recommendation by members of the B.A.L.L. Committee (Bethel, Aeneas, Lands, Lincoln congregations), plans were made which led to the merger of Bethel, Lands, and Aeneas.

On August 5, 1987, a group of interested members from Bethel, Lands and Aeneas churches met to select a steering committee. This group organized itself into a Site Committee, Name & Incorporation Committee, Constitution and ByLaw committee and a Finance Committee. Various other committees were developed later. On August 26, 1987, an organizational meeting was held with over 1/3 of the active membership from the three congregations present. The name "Messiah" was chosen and the constitution was adopted.

Aeneas History

Historical records indicate that the early Swedish Lutheran settlers in this area found their way to Wennersborg Church for religious worship, as this was the nearest organized Lutheran Congregation. It had been organized in 1871. The desire of the people for a church culminated in a meeting in Swan Lake Township, which organized the Aeneas Congregation on March 8, 1901, as members of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augustana Synod. At this time they resolved to construct a church building. There were only 17 charter members and all signed the constitution proposed by the synod. The building and furnishing of the church made steady progress, and the minutes of the annual meeting held in January, 1903, indicate that the building was completed. In 1965, with the merger of church bodies, Aeneas became a part of the Lutheran Church of America (LCA).

Bethel History

For the early Swedish settlers in this area the closest church was Wennersborg. It was difficult to travel that far. When the town of Hoffman and Kensington were established, there was a movement to establish churches in the towns. At a meeting in the Hoffman School on February 22, 1897, it was decided to build a church in Hoffman.

Though the building was built in 1897, it was not easy to withdraw from Wennersborg, and the congregation was not organized until 1901. At a January meeting, officers were elected and articles of incorporation and the constitution were accepted. Originally the church was the Swedish Lutheran Church of Hoffman. Not until 1929 was the name "Bethel" adopted in place of "Swedish". Formerly a member of Augustana Synod, when larger bodies merged Bethel became a part of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA).

Lands History

Early Norwegian settlers in the area felt the need to organize a church in their Lutheran tradition. At a meeting at School District 1, a suggested constitution was presented to the group. It was adopted, and on July 10, 1878, the Elk Lake Norsk Evangelical Minighed of Grant County was organized. It included 425 confirmed members and 535 baptized members. They met in homes or District 1 until the building in Hoffman was built in 1891. On December 9, 1890 the name was changed to Lands Lutheran Church and the church was incorporated. Synod affiliation changes were made. First the affiliation changed from the Norwegian-Danish Conference 1878-1890 to the United Lutheran Church in America 1890-1899. Next was the change to the Lutheran Free Church 1899-1961, and in 1961 the synod joined in the American Lutheran Church (ALC). Originally all services were in Norwegian, and church minutes were written in Norwegian until 1935. Beginning in 1926, some services were in English. Gradually the language emphasis was changed until the Norwegian was used only occasionally by 1948.

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