Richwood Lutheran Church celebrates 140 yearsBecker County (WDAY TV) -- Parishioners are celebrating a major milestone at Richwood Lutheran Church. Just over 140 years ago, the first pioneers in the rural Becker County township organized as a congregation.
Becker County (WDAY TV) -- Parishioners are celebrating a major milestone at Richwood Lutheran Church. Just over 140 years ago, the first pioneers in the rural Becker County township organized as a congregation.
As Yvonne Gire-Utke sings along with the choir. Memories of her childhood play in her mind. She grew up just a few blocks away from the church.
Yvonne Gire-Utke/Detroit Lakes: "It is just exactly how I remember it."
Gire-Utke spent her days at Sunday school classes, and in Christmas plays, she was also married in the church 43 years ago. She now comes to this church to rejoice, and to remember.
Yvonne: "My grandparents, my great grand parents, and my parents are all buried on this cemetary, and they also attended this church."
Danell Haspel has been working hard to make sure this 140th anniversary was a special one. She knows first hand just how hard it is to keep up with the building, and services since the church only has about 40 consistent members.
Danell Haspel/Church Board Member: "It is getting harder and harder, as the people move away."
Haspel says they have tried to keep the building as original as possible. This kerosene chandelier hanging here is original and was once taken down when electricity was invented, but with some modern touches, it's now put in it's original place.
Danell: "We call it our little church on the prairie, so it's kind of like the little house books and that sort of thing, and we're pretty proud of the fact that it's pretty much all original."
It seems like everyday we are hearing another church in a small town closing it's doors, Pastor Ann says it's the peoples love and commitment to this church that keeps this one going.
Ann Newgard-Larson/Pastor: "Most important thing is if you have a sense of mission, if you have a purpose, then you've got a reason for being."
Some of the oldest members, some of the newest..and even some dressed as if it were 140 years ago all came here for one thing. That's to celebrate a church that has withstood the test of time and to celebrate family and friends who made it all possible.
The church's altar and oil painting of Christ are some of the most original pieces in the church.