National Guard Called to Assist Church’s 125th Anniversary

Post a Comment » Written on July 11th, 2008     
Filed under: News
STOCKHOLM, SD (July 11, 2008) – The National Guard was called out to the 125th anniversary of Elim Covenant Church in this town of 100 people.

There was no trouble, however. Instead, National Guard personnel were helping solve a “good” problem – helping the church accommodate more people than had been expected.

TentThe Guard donated and erected a large tent (accompanying photo) that was used by the small church for its picnic and hymn-singing service. The tent was needed to protect the gathering from the elements.

“There’s not a lot of shade,” mused pastor Mark Chapman of the flat, windswept, and relatively tree-less terrain.

The church has an average attendance of 45 people, but a couple hundred people showed up for the celebration. “We literally had people from coast to coast,” Chapman says. The attendee traveling the most distance came from Alaska.

People planned family reunions around the anniversary, Chapman says. Attendees also included several former pastors, Northwest Conference Superintendent Jim Fretheim, and Department of World Mission Executive Minister Curt Peterson.

The church held an ice cream social and hymn sing on Friday night and heard from the former pastors. On Saturday, the church held the picnic on top of a hill from which people could see 40 miles across the plains. The hill also is the site of the “Brown Earth Church,” where Covenanters once held worship services. To see additional photos from the event, visit Elim Anniversary.

The crowd squeezed into the small church for the Sunday morning service. “We had chairs set up in every corner of the church.”

Peterson recalled the church’s past, says Chapman, who noted that someone from the congregation had found in minutes from 1891 that the Covenanters gave $10 to Congo. “Curt gave us a wonderful challenge to get in touch with our mission roots,” says Chapman.

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