Lutheran Church at Unity Will Observe Jubilee of Dedication

Unity, Clark Co., Wisconsin



Trinity Lutheran Church Building at Unity - The 25th anniversary of the dedication of this church building at Unity will be commemorated at special morning and afternoon services on Sunday, Oct. 31. Completed in 1929 at a cost of $16,650 during the pastorate of the late J. A. Olson, the building today has an appraised value of approximately $75,000.


Surnames: Vander Stoep, Chell, Granquist, Schall, Egge, Messer, Purkis, Olson, Johnson, Miller, Helsten, Justman, Wieland, Hellestad, Edblom, Meyer, Hafemann, Laurson, Melander, Rosander, Olander, Lund, Linder, Hiller, Nordling, Danielson, Burman, Bergstrand, Almquist, Schultz, Ringquist, Dehn, Kilty, Darton, Runge, Dallman, Fischer, Seefeldt, Greve, Carlson, Stark, Sorenson, Schmidt, Gustafson, Binning, Bennett, Smiley, Nelson, Burmeister, Williamson, Schwantes, Flink, Baker, Pearson, Snowberg


Unity – The anniversary of the dedication of a church building erected 25 years ago will be the theme of a special celebration at the Trinity Lutheran Church here Sunday, Oct. 31.


The event will be recalled at the regular worship service at 10:30 a.m., and will be commemorated during special evening services starting at 8 o’clock, according to the pastor, the Rev. Claude Vander Stoep.


The Rev. William Chell, Wisconsin Rapids, will be the liturgist at the evening service. Principal speaker will be the Rev. Verner Granquist, Iron Mountain, Mich., president of the Superior Conference of the Augustana Lutheran Church, a synodical body with which the Unity Church is affiliated.


Greetings will be expressed to the congregation by the Rev. Harvey Schall, pastor of the Methodist Churches at Unity, Colby and Spencer, and the Rev. M. H. Egge, Greenwood, president of the Clark County Lutheran Ministerial Association. The junior and senior choirs will sing. Robert and Marilyn Messer will appear in a duet at the morning service.


Two youths of the congregation, Delbert Purkis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Purkis, and Robert Messer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ansel Messer, will be honored at the evening service as recipients of the “Pro Deo et Patria,” (For God and Country) award of the Lutheran Church.


The boys are members of the Unity Boy Scout Troop. The awards for which they have been chosen signify at least 150 hours of service to their church in such duties as usher, acolyte and choir singer. Furthermore, the awards denote a knowledge of church catechism and skill in handicraft projects of religious significance. Two objects constructed by the boys, a miniature church and miniature altar, will be displayed at the Sunday evening service.


The inscribed “Pro Deo et Patria” medals will be awarded by the Rev. Mr. Vander Stoep, and actual presentation to the winners will be made by their parents.


At the conclusion of the evening religious exercises the ladies of the congregation will serve refreshments in the church parlors.


The church of Trinity Lutheran congregation, now appraised at approximately five times its original cost of $16,650, was dedicated Oct. 20, 1929, during the pastorate of the late Rev. A. J. Olson. Members of the building committee, seven of whom still are active in the parish, were Ed. Johnson, George Miller, Elmer Helsten, Al Justman, Roy Justman, Herman Wieland, Martin Hellestad, Clarence Edblom, Frank Meyer, Hugo Hafemann, Albert Wieland, Mado Laurson and Gust Melander.


The local congregation was organized in 1901 by the Rev. C. A. Rosander as the Scandinavian Church of Unity, and a house of worship was erected in the same year. The building was dismantled to make way for the present church. In later years it was found advisable to change to an all-English congregation, and in 1921 reorganization was effected under the leadership of the Rev. C. M. Olander, then field secretary of the Superior Conference.


Since its reorganization the congregation has enjoyed steady growth, and now has a membership of 330 baptized persons and 223 communicant members. It occupies a prominent place in the spiritual life of the community and cooperates with other churches in general welfare work and in the observance of special occasions.


The Rev. Mr. Vander Stoep has served as pastor since July 1952. He is a native of Tacoma, Wash., and studied for the ministry at Pacific Lutheran College at Parkland, Wash., and Augustana Seminary at Rock Island, Ill. He was ordained at Des Moines, Iowa on June 15, 1952, and was married in Boxholm, Iowa. The two children of the Rev. Mr. Vander Stoep and Mrs. Vander Stoep are Becky Ann, 2, and Mark Andrew, nearing 4 months.


The Rev. Mr. Rosander, after organizing the congregation, served until 1904 and was succeeded by a list of pastors and vice pastors which included the Rev. C. A. Lund, 1904-1906; the Rev. F. O. Linder, 1906-1909; the Rev. A. E. Hiller, 1909-1911; the Rev. J. A. Nordling, 1913-1919; the Rev. J. G. Danielson, 1919-1921; the Rev. A. J. Johnson, 1921-1924; the Rev. J. A. Burman, 1924-1925; the Rev. Mr. Bergstrand, 1925 to 1927; the Rev. J. A. Olson, 1927-1943 and the Rev. A. W. Almquist, 1945-46. The Rev. Mr. Olson was recalled as pastor in 1946 and remained until his death in 1949. During pastoral vacancies in 1912, 1945, and from 1949 to 1952, neighboring pastors ministered to the congregation.


The present officers of the church are Orville Schultz, president; Roy Justman, treasurer; Clarence Edblom, financial secretary; Lloyd Ringquist, secretary. The administrative board is composed of Dr. Albert Dehn, Melvin Kilty, Hugh Darton, Evert Johnson, Harold Runge, Victor Dallman, Corwin Dallman, Orville Schultz, Lloyd Ringquist, Merlin Justman, Forest Johnson and Donald Fischer.


Organizations affiliated with the congregation, and their officers, are:


Sunday School – Mrs. Vivian Justman, superintendent; Mrs. George Miller Sr., secretary-treasurer; Jerry Seefeldt, assistant secretary-treasurer.


Ladies Aid – Mrs. Harry Greve, president; Mrs. Oscar Carlson, vice president; Mrs. Alfred Johnson, secretary; Mrs. Al Justman, treasurer.


Women’s Missionary Society – Mrs. Oscar Carlson, president; Mrs. Ella Stark, vice president; Mrs. Ruth Sorenson, secretary; Mrs. Claude Vander Stoep, treasurer.


Luther League – Neil Schmidt, president; Jerry Seefeldt, vice president; Alan Gustafson, secretary; Sharon Olson, treasurer.


Senior choir director, Al Justman; junior choir director, the Rev. Mr. Vander Stoep; organist, Mrs. Henry Binning; assistant organist, Mrs. Ansel Messer.


A building and remodeling project to enlarge the church for the installation of a pastor’s study, Sunday School room and rest rooms is under consideration, according to the pastor. Members of the congregation have been asked to contribute 25 coins of any denomination at Sunday’s anniversary celebration to help establish a building fund.



Pastor – The Trinity Lutheran Church of Unity is the first pastorate of the Rev. Claude Vander Stoep, who accepted a call from the congregation in July 1952, shortly after his ordination in Des Moines, Iowa. The Rev. Vander Stoep is shown at the altar in the church.



First Confirmation Class – Memories of older members of Trinity Lutheran Church of Unity will flash beyond 1929 when the congregation assembles Sunday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the present church building. Among those who will be recalling a half century of more of church history are the survivors of this first confirmation class of Sept. 14, 1902. In the back row, from the left, are Edward Johnson, Hilma Bennett (Mrs. Ed. Smiley), Edward Nelson, who died in Marshfield several days ago, Hattie Olson (Mrs. C. Burmeister), Julia Williamson, Mrs. Gust Ringquist, Anna Williamson (Mrs. Herman Schwantes) and Claude Nelson. Seated in the middle row from the left are William Flink, Verna Baker (Mrs. Richardson), the Rev. C. M. Rosander, Ella Flink (Mrs. Samuel Stark) and Robert Pearson. In the front row from the left are Arthur Edblom and Charles Snowberg. Still active in the church are Mrs. Ringquist, Mrs. Stark, Mr. Williamson and Mr. Edblom.


Source: Marshfield News-Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Oct. 1954




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