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Our History | Grace Lutheran Church

Our History

The Hauge Lutheran Church began at an organizational meeting on July 8, 1876, in the home of Wier Peterson.  It was unanimously agreed to build a church, and $985 was pledged toward it.  A 60′ by 40′ frame building was completed in 1877 at a cost of $4,000, on a lot given by Halvor Osmundson.

We started as part of the Conference of the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  In 1917 we joined the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.  The first pastor, N.C. Brun, was installed in March, 1877, and was succeeded by Rev. N. G. Nilson, who served almost nine years.  The Rev. J. Aarrestad was installed on November 16, 1893 serving Hauge (Grace) Lutheran Church along with Bethlehem Lutheran in Morris until his death on May 24, 1927.

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In 1930, negotiations with Lisbon Bethlehem Lutheran Church were completed to form a new parish, and a call was sent to Rev. Allen Blegen to serve both congregations.

On December 6, 1934, fire destroyed the original church building.  It was replaced by the present structure and dedicated May 10, 1936.  On January 9. 1936, Hauge Lutheran Church was renamed Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Rev. Blegen served both Grace and Lisbon Lutheran churches for six years, leaving in 1937 to become a full-time radio pastor.  Rev. Robert Wallstrom was our next pastor.  During his ministry, the Wicks pipe organ was installed.  He was followed by a succession of faithful pastors: Rev. R. C. Jacobson 1945-48; Rev. James Erickson 1949-53; Rev. Claire Jennings 1953-57; Rev. William Hutter 1957-60, and Rev. Ralph Chelsen 1961 until his death in July 1981.  Rev. Walter Baertschi was installed in 1982, serving both Grace and Lisbon Bethlehem until 1987, and serving Grace alone until 1988.  Rev. Vernon Tweedt served as Interim Pastor from 1988 to 1990.

On September 16, 1990, Rev. Tod Peterson was installed. During his ministry, the congregation built an addition to the church.  Construction began in September, 1995, and the addition was dedicated on July 21, 1996.

Rev. Peterson was succeeded by Rev. Stephan Olson, and Rev. Howard Walker. On May 7, 2000, Grace Lutheran Church voted to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  On June 25, 2000, we voted to join the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.  Pastor Vernon Tweedt again served us until January, 2001.  Rev. Steven Heilmann was installed on January 21, 2001, as our first AFLC pastor.