History - Nelsonville Lutheran Church

The Nelsonville Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized on December 15, 1887. Members of 36 families were the charter members. It was decided to build a sanctuary on a lot purchased for $20 from Jerome Nelson. Most early members came from the North New Hope Church and shared their minister, Pastor K.O. Eidahl, for the first six years. Worship began on January 1, 1888. All services were given in Norwegian for the first 44 years.

Nelsonville Lutheran Pastors Gretchen & DwightIn 1890 the Council approved installation of a heating plant “providing it is necessary.” Final work on the new church was completed in 1893 at a cost of $1,471.67. In 1912, Nelsonville joined Amherst and called the first joint pastor, Finn Magelssen. The Ladies Aid sponsored the building of a church basement in 1928 so organizations could meet there.

The Nelsonville and Amherst congregations called separate pastors from 1934-1944, then reunited and became known as the Tomorrow River Lutheran Parish.

The first member of the congregation to enter the ministry was Jerome Stoltenberg ordained in 1940, followed by Eldred Johnson ordained in 1945, Roger Johnson ordained in 1956, and Brian Konkol ordained in 2005.

The church was remodeled in 1955 with a new entrance, kitchen, and sacristy. The sanctuary was beautifully restored in 1981. Because of a need for Sunday School rooms and fellowship space, an addition was approved in 1992 and dedicated in 1993. The cost of the project, including stained glass and furniture, was $232,154. A kitchen and bathroom remodel was completed in 2007.

In 1999, a very generous gift was given for the purpose of expanding youth and music ministry in the parish. We continue to enjoy the fruits of this gift through a Youth and Family ministry position on staff. The purchase of the adjoining property was approved in 2011 and will be used for much needed parking space.

Our congregation is blessed by the foundation laid by our founding members; may we continue to follow their example of faithful service to the Lord and to each other.