History of First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wolf Point, Montana
The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wolf Point started with a few families meeting for worship during early homesteading days. Occasionally a traveling missionary would conduct services. After the Union Church was built on the present site of the Presbyterian Church, the Lutherans used the building one Sunday evening a month for services. In 1917 the Reverend Alfred Hendrickson was called by the mission board of Northwestern District of the Synod to become the first settled Lutheran pastor.
Two years later the congregation received its corporate charter from the state of Montana and became a member of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. First Lutheran Church grew with the addition of the Prairie Elk congregation; the organized rural congregations of Our Saviors, Trinity, and First Lutheran of Divide; and other unorganized rural districts.
1912 The Reverend Henry Ingebretson, a traveling Missionary of the Norwegian Synod, conducted services once a month. Later the Reverend T.L Rosholt, a Lutheran minister from Glasgow, conducted services once a month.
1913 December 19th the First Lutheran Ladies Aid was organized.
1914 The Reverend Alfred Hendrickson preached his first sermon in Wolf Point, and continued with regular monthly services.
1917 First Lutheran Congregation was organized April 15th at a meeting called for that purpose.
The Reverend Alfred Hendrickson was called by the mission board of the Northwestern District of the Synod to become
the first settled pastor.
1918 Services were held in the high school building instead of the Union Church.
The Reverend Alfred Hendrickson was commissioned as Lieutenant-Chaplain in the army and left the congregation.
The Reverend Wilhelm Coli conducted two services during the remainder of the year.
1919 In January the Reverend Hendrickson returned.
In March the Board of Trustees decided to buy two lots on Third Avenue.
April 20th the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wolf Point received a corporate charter from the state of Montana.
A building committee, consisting of A. V. Appelgren, L. A. Krogerild and H. G. Scanson was appointed.
1921 Jan. 30th First Lutheran Church became a member of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (E.L.C)
The Reverend Alfred Hendrickson, John Listerud, John Appelgren, A. J. Isachsen, and Harry Nedrud were appointed to the basement building committee, and the basement was ready for use by December.
1922 In May the Reverend Hendrickson accepted a call to Carpio, N. D. Aug. 6th the Reverend Amon O. Johnson was installed.
1925 Jan. 16th John Listerud, John O. Garden, John H. Appelgren, A. J.Isachsen, Paul T. Johnson, Ed S. Camrud, E. F. Beyer, and Sigurd C. Lund were elected to the building committee, Paul Johnson designed the plans for the church, and was placed in charge of the construction.
The approximate cost of the church was $7,000.00
1927 On May 1st the church building was dedicated.
1928 Our Savior's Congregation became members of First Lutheran.
1929 The Reverend A. O. Johnson accepted a call to Bozeman during the summer.
1930 April 13th the Reverend O.RA. Tollefson was installed.
July 6th the First Lutheran Congregation of Divide consolidated with First Lutheran.
1937 On Dec. 8th the first meeting of Lutheran Brotherhood was held.
1939 January 15th the Reverend Tollefson resigned to accept a call to Clinton, Minn.
July 23rd the Reverend O.N. Rue was installed.
1942 April 19th the 25th anniversary was celebrated, with the Reverend A. O.Johnson as guest speaker.
1945 August the Reverend Rue accepted a call to Duluth, Minn. In November the Reverend Rolf A. Norman arrived.
1947 The building was modified and a pipe organ was installed.
1950 August the Reverend Norman left for work in the Lutheran Welfare Department at Helena.
November the Reverend Ralph Okland arrived.
1953 The lots for the present building were purchased for $6,750.00.
1956 March 25th the ground breaking ceremony for the education building took place.
1957 April 28th the congregation marched from the old building to the new building and the education building was dedicated.
1960 First Lutheran became a congregation of the American Lutheran Church.
1961 In October Pastor Okland accepted a call to Rapid City, S.D.
The Reverend A. B. Cornelson of Great Falls served as interim pastor.
1962 The present parsonage was purchased from Karl Dick for approximately $26,000.00.
1963 May 6th the Reverend David Larson was installed.
1966 The Bethel Bible Series classes began for the congregation, after a two year training of teachers.
1967 June 18th the 50th Anniversary was celebrated, with the Reverend Ralph Okland as guest speaker.
1969 The Council was changed to 21 members.
1971 The first women, Dorothy Johnson and Doris Larson, were elected to Council.
1974 In April a building strategy committee, consisting of Bob Hauge, Bob Gess, Bob Beery, Orrin Vinger, Shirley Zimmerman, Barbara Olson, Alan Pipal, Jim Fredrickson, Dan Nordstrom, and Chris Brookman was appointed to poll the congregation and decide whether or not the members were in favor of building a sanctuary. After the congregation voted to build, most of the committee members agreed to continue as a building committee. New members on the committee were Bea Jensen, Carl Traeholt and Margaret Johnson.
1975 April Pastor Larson resigned to become administrator of Faith Lutheran Home.
May 25th the ground breaking ceremony for the sanctuary was held.
September, Pastor Vernon Toso was installed.
1976 June 6th the first worship service was held in the new sanctuary. The cost of the sanctuary was approximately $216,993.00.
In July Pastor Jon Skaar was installed. November 21st the sanctuary was dedicated.
1978 July 25th the ordination of Bill Meiers was held.
1983 Search Bible Studies began.
1984 Dec. 31st Pastor Vernon Toso left due to illness.
1985 May 26th Pastor Richard W. Owens was installed.
1986 The first woman, Shirley Zimmerman, was elected president of Council.
1988 First Lutheran became a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
June 2nd Pastor Richard Owens accepts a call to Bismarck, N.D.
Oct. 6th Pastor Timothy A. Whiteman led the worship service and was installed November 10th.
1992 May 3rd First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wolf Point celebrated its 75th anniversary.
2002 November, Pastor Whiteman accepted a call to Bellingham, WA.
2003 January, Pastor Sye Simonsen was installed as interim pastor.
2003 On August 3rd, Pastor Gregory V. Holler-Dinsmore led worship and was installed as pastor on September 14th.
2005 The council was changed to its present 11 members.
2006 Lay Pastoral Associates (LPA) Laura Krauth, Larry Monson and Shirley Zimmerman complete training and begin
serving as lay pastors where needed by the synod.
2007 In September First celebrated its 90th anniversary.
2008 In its annual meeting the congregation approved installation of a multi-media projection system for the sanctuary at a
cost of $25,000. This was funded through pledges and installed in September.
2010 April, Traci Gibson completes LPA training and is the first teenager to go through the program.
July 20th the High School youth group travels to our companion synod, the Cape Orange Diocese of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa after two years of fund raising to gather the $45,000 needed to make the mission trip.
September, Christine Holler-Dinsmore begins seminary in the TEEM program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.
November, Saturday evening Praise Services begin.
2011 Thanks to Alan Scheer we now have a Website: www.firstlutheranwp.org
September - We transitioned from Sunday School to LOGOS Family Nights on Wednesdays. Average attendance ~50 for worship, meal, Bible study and crafts/games
Christine Holler-Dinsmore continues seminary studies supported by the Robert & Elsie Penner fund.
2012 July 17 youth and 4 adults attend ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans with over 36,000 young people.
LOGOS Family nights continue averaging 50-60 a night.
100th Anniversary Committee is formed to plan the centennial celebration in 2017
2013 Church website is now set up for "online" donations.
Formed Renovation Committee to develop a plan to bring our facility into the 21st century. Working with architect Steve L'Heureux they developed a plan to create a more welcoming and useful worship space.
2014 April ordination of the Rev. Dr. Christine Holler-Dinsmore at First Lutheran. She will be developing Spirit of Life Lutheran Ministry here on the Fort Peck Reservation.
LOGOS now has 60-80 participants every Wednesday night
2015 Congregation voted to proceed with church renovation by initiating a capital campaign. The first phase, new roof, atrium, and sidewalks was funded and will be completed in 2016-2017.
July - 8 youth and Traci Gibson attended the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit working in the community, worshiping and having a Spirit- filled time.
June-Sept. Pr. Greg is granted Sabbatical Leave to travel, learn, and re-create.
100th Anniversary Centennial Celebration is planned for April 16-17, 2017
2016 Renovations completed: New Roof on Sanctuary, new entryway with ADA compliant electric doors, new concrete work and landscaping.
Due to budget deficit Pr. Greg takes a salary reduction to 75%
2017 At the Annual Meeting the congregation approves first reading of revised constitution and bylaws to bring it in line with the ELCA model constitution. The Clergy Housing Loan Fund is used to fund deficit, bring the Mission Endowment Fund to maturity (to use for community outreach) and to set-up an Intra Church Loan Fund for project and ministry needs of the congregation. Pr. Greg's continues 75% salary.
April 15-16 - Celebration of First Lutheran Centennial.
2018 At the Annual Meeting of the congregation final approval of revised constitution and bylaws was passed. As there is no organist and the organ has been sitting idle for over 2 years a motion was passed to explore the possibility of selling it. Pr. Greg continues 75% salary.
April - Pr. Holler-Dinsmore announces his retirement effective July 31, 2018
Lay Pastors Larry Monson, Laura Krauth and Sheri Heser will perform pastoral duties on a rotational schedule until a permanent Pastor can be found. Pr. Bonnie Novak from Nashua will also fill in when and where needed.
2019 Pastor Bonnie Novak was called to serve at First Lutheran and was installed by the members of the church in November 2019.
Volunteer hours were the successful driving force in keeping the many ministries of First Lutheran viable.
Our church home, inside and out, is maintained by our members.
2020 COVID 19 - The church was considered non-essential, however, First Lutheran Church did not close. Our Sanctuary was spacious enough to provide safe distances for those who attended church services in person. Pr. Bonnie donned P.P.E. and the congregation wore masks during worship. Our ministry also continued via radio and live stream.
2021 COVID restriction continued, but eventually lifted.
Bible Study began to meet on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 1:00 pm.
There were 5 confirmands.
Services at Faith Home also resumed.
2022 Pr. Bonnie was elected to serve on the Synod Council.
The Sunday School program and Confirmation that was pre-empted by Covid resumed and is going strong.
Smorgasbord was restarted in December and was very successful. This will once again, become an annual event.