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St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Harmony to hold final service


Mon, Jun 13th, 2016
Posted in Harmony Features

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church outside of Harmony. Photo by Hannah Wingert

By Hannah Wingert

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, also known as the Big Springs Church, has been a landmark on County Road 22 outside of Harmony for over a century now. The congregation was first organized in January 1870 and in 1873, the church members purchased two acres of land. The parsonage, which the church sold in 1979, was the first building put up on the land and was completed in the spring of 1874. Members of the congregation worshipped in the Big Spring public school until 1890, at which time they made the decision to build a church. The church was built in September 1891 and cost a grand total of $2,100.00 to build.

For decades, the church thrived, but in the last decade or so, it began to experience a problem that many rural areas face. Unlike previous generations, children who grew up in the church were leaving the area and moving on as they graduated from high school. The membership began to decline. “We’re down to 6 to 12 attendees each Sunday and sometimes as low as 3 or 4,” Church council president of 21 years, Jeanette Serfling said. “We can’t pay a pastor to preach for only a few people.”

At the church’s annual meeting in 2015, the congregation had to face their reality. They didn’t have the funds to pay a full-time pastor and the small membership numbers meant only one thing. The church would have to close its doors. “We knew it was our only choice,” Serfling said. But that didn’t make the news any easier to swallow. Serfling has been a member of the church for 43 years, and her children were baptized, confirmed, and grew up there. “It’s a sad deal,” she said. “We (the congregation) are like one big family.”

The church lost their part-time pastor at the end of February 2016 who did Sunday services and spent on day a week doing visitations. Since then, they’ve used pulpit supply pastors for services only one Sunday a month.

“The only thing that has kept us alive for the last few years are annuities left to the church by members who passed away. That’s what paid the majority of our expenses,” Serfling said.

Serfling isn’t sure what the remnants of the congregation will do after the church closes. Some will probably attend Greenfield Lutheran Church in Harmony, others may go to Christ Lutheran in Preston or St. Matthew’s in Granger, which is St. Paul’s sister church.

Serfling spoke to the county .....
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Mr. and Miss Buffalo Bill chosen

Mon, Jun 13th, 2016
Posted in Lanesboro Features

As Buffalo Bill Days in Lanesboro, Minn. quickly approaches, the Buffalo Bill Days committee decided to hold an essay contest for the fifth graders at the Lanesboro school. The winners of that contest were announced during an awards ceremony at ..... 
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Brake for Treasures on the Trail

Mon, Jun 6th, 2016
Posted in Whalan Features

We are very lucky to have a jewel like the Root River State Trail in our backyard and now the bike trail through Whalan, Minn. will bring you to a hidden treasure. After retiring from a full-time job as an office manager in Forest Lake, Minn., Jan ..... 
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Bump. Set. Spike! Rushford couple takes a chance on outdoor volleyball court

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, Jun 6th, 2016
Posted in Rushford Features

For Jim and Debbie Kitchens, keeping people interested in their business is vital. The couple already own and operate the popular Nordic Lanes & Lounge and The Creamery restaurant in Rushford and know good service and offerings keeps customers comin ..... 
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POET Biorefining opens employee fitness center

Mon, Jun 6th, 2016
Posted in Preston Features

The forty-two team members of POET Biorefining in Preston can now get a workout in before they head home after work. A new fitness center in the plant’s office building was opened in November 2015. The center features weights, an elliptical, a t ..... 
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Veterans Cemetery Dedication brings about emotions

Mon, Jun 6th, 2016
Posted in All Features

Although the staff at the new Veterans Cemetery in Preston, Minn. did not know exactly what to expect for a turnout during the dedication ceremony that occurred on Sunday, May 29, 2016, the number of people who attended exceeded expectations. As v ..... 
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Veterans Cemetery Dedication brings about emotions

Mon, Jun 6th, 2016
Posted in All Features

Although the staff at the new Veterans Cemetery in Preston, Minn. did not know exactly what to expect for a turnout during the dedication ceremony that occurred on Sunday, May 29, 2016, the number of people who attended exceeded expectations. As v ..... 
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Slice of heaven for new owner of Aroma Pie Shoppe

Mon, May 30th, 2016
Posted in Whalan Features

On a bike ride through beautiful bluff country, Karna Hudoba found a slice of heaven she now calls her own. While camping in Lanesboro, Minn. in August of 2015, Karna and her husband, Pat, along with two other couples went for a bike ride on the R ..... 
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Local dealer for Old Hickory buildings

Mon, May 30th, 2016
Posted in All Features

While driving through Preston, Minn. on Highway 52, there is something new catching the eye of local residents. Preston Auto Parts/Napa/Root River Hardware in Preston, Minn. is now carrying the Old Hickory line of storage barns, sheds, portable ..... 
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