Zion Lutheran Church of Bone Lake
“A community of believers dedicated to seeking God and serving people.”
- Member of LCMC since 2011.
- Celebrating 105 years of ministry.
History of Zion Lutheran Church
(taken from remembrances of early members)
Mr. and Mrs. Theo Nykreim and Mrs. Nykreim’s parents moved to Bone Lake in 1905 and learned there was not a Norwegian church in the area. In 1906 they met Rev. Osmond Risvold, pastor of the North Valley-Laketown parish near Milltown. He promised to come to their homes once a month to preach. Invitations were given to the few people in the area and they brought their families in lumber wagons in summer and by sled and horses in the winter to these home meetings. A few still used ox carts. The pastor always spent the night with some family as the 18 miles to his home would take several hours, even in the summertime.
The summer of 1907 found the members making plans to organize as a church which culminated that fall.
After the first of the year application was made to the United Norwegian Lutheran Church headquarters. A constitution and bylaws were approved and officers elected. In the fall of 1908 there were 10 voting members with a total of 30 “souls” in all. The organization’s papers were accepted on February 2, 1909.
Church services were held in homes until 1911 when they were moved to the Pleasant Dale School. Pastor Nels Otterstad was installed as the congregation’s first pastor in June of 1912.
The early years were difficult but the spirit of the pioneers was undaunted. A few more settlers arrived and were added to the church membership. Roads were being built, the area getting more settled and travel to Frederic was possible.
Plans were started to build a new church. Nels Swanson gave 2 acres of land. Another acre was purchased. Three men were appointed to design plans for the church. Ole Reno’s plan was accepted. The church name was changed from Bone Lake Lutheran Church to Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. A finance and building committee was appointed in December, 1913.
It took courage and faith to begin the building of a new church in 1915 when little or no funds were available. Good financial help was given by Bone Lake, Frederic and Luck. Labor and material were also donated. There was a sawmill in the neighborhood and men in the congregation cut logs and hauled them to the mill to be cut into lumber. Mr. R.O. Searle of Minneapolis, who owned the farm on McKenzie Lake, furnished a great deal of lumber and glass for the church. There was construction on the church when circumstances permitted.
The basement was ready for use in 1916. A year later the beautiful superstructure was finished. On June 17, 1917 the cornerstone was laid. In October 1921 pews were installed. In 1922, regular services were held every third Sunday. There were now 21 families – 55 confirmed, 25 qualified to vote and 105 “souls”. The church was dedicated in May, 1922.