Repairs Under Way on Original Swede Bend Church

Post a Comment » Written on December 22nd, 2004     
Filed under: News
MANSON, IA (December 22, 2004)  – The building that housed the first  Evangelical Covenant Church congregation is currently under repair,  according to the executive director of the Covenant camp where the building is now located.

The Swede Bend Church in Iowa, noted as the place where the first  Covenant church was located, was relocated from Swede Bend in 1976 and  has been part of the campus of Twin Lakes Christian Center (TLCC) since  that time. Joel Rude, who has served as TLCC executive director for 14  years, says the building is used for summer worship services, noting  that some funds already have been raised to support general maintenance  efforts. (The accompanying photo of the church building was taken two  years ago.)

Next winter, in preparation for the 50th anniversary of TLCC, the center  had planned on full refurbishing. However, the process was speeded up so  that the building can be used much sooner. New floor joists have already  been installed and a new floor surface will be set down – board by board – by volunteers in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been working at shoring up the floor of the building for several  years,” said Rude. “A lot of the original infrastructure was rotting.  Some of that infrastructure included the original logs from the 1861  church floor. They were found to be unsafe due to dry rot and the floor  was sagging in several spots.”

TLCC has been in existence for 48 years. John Bengston, superintendent  for what was then the Iowa Conference, was a key catalyst for the camp’s  beginnings and a number of volunteers were also integral to the effort.  Volunteers ran the camp for several years until Eldon “Bud” Johnson (now  a parishioner at First Covenant Church) took over full-time operations  of the camp with his wife, Pauline. Johnson played a key role in getting  the Swede Bend Church building moved onto the TLCC campus. The building  has been a valuable part of programming as locals and nearby Covenant  churches have attended events there.

The Twin Lakes camp will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the  building’s being moved on campus, along with its 50th anniversary  celebration, during special events July 7-9, 2006. The weekend  celebration will occur at the end of a one-week family camp and staff  reunion, says Rude.

Last year, TLCC served 1,820 people through its own camps, retreats and  events, along with another 5,770 through hosting guest group camps,  retreats and events. A small but dedicated team of volunteers has formed  a Development Committee for the purpose of raising funds for short-term  and long-range projects, as well as operating expenses, notes Rude.

This winter, TLCC is taking advantage of a unique toboggan chute, one of  the only ones in the region. The chute comes out of a wooden silo and  propels children and adults at high speeds onto the frozen North Twin  Lake. The chute is also open to the public on certain days in January  and February – information can be found on the TLCC website at

Along with the repairs to the Swede Bend Church building, TLCC has been  involved in significant site planning in recent years to better use its  60-acre campus. The camp has been able to establish good rapport with  its local community by helping with various planning sessions. Expansion  of a local highway should help access to the camp and TLCC is also  considering installation and beautification efforts of a recreation  trail surrounding its grounds and an area around the lake the camp  accesses for activities.

To learn more about the needs of the TLCC Swede Bend Church building  project, call Rude at 712-297-7714 or email him at

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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