Day 118 - Pennock
Old Mamrelund Lutheran Church (owned by Mamrelund Lutheran Church)—217 Dakota Avenue (320-599-4548). This church is considered perhaps the best-preserved rural “Swedish” church in Kandiyohi County. In 1868 Johan Gillberg and John Rådman homesteaded here, and the following year they helped found Mamrelund Church. Rådman apparently named the church while reading the Genesis account of an angel appearing to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre near Hebron.
Two structures preceded the present church, which was built in 1883 at a cost of $1,452.04. The small, 30 by 42 foot, white-clapboard church with its central steeple and Gothic-style clear-glass windows stands in a peaceful grove of oak trees; a nicely maintained cemetery is at the rear of the church.
The sanctuary in this wonderful church still has the original elaborate wall stenciling. Behind the altar is a painted reredos in Gothic style depicting the empty cross draped in white cloth. Above the cross is a deep blue starry sky, and below the cross is the inscription, Se Guds Lam (Behold the Lamb of God). Other Swedish inscriptions are stenciled on the walls. In 1989 the congregation had English translations painted on the walls.
The church has an embossed-tin ceiling and wainscoting; walls are fully stenciled with Gothic motifs, including pointed arches just below the ceiling line. There are also various Christian symbols, such as palm branches, the budding cross, the anchor, and the Latin cross. The walls behind the pulpit and the organ have painted drapery with floral motifs. Original objects in the church include old hymnals, a reed organ, a hymn board with carefully cut tin numbers, an elevated wood carved pulpit and altar rail, and beautiful gas lights and oil lamps. The sanctuary contains tightly spaced movable old pews.
In 1915 the congregation built a church in town but also decided to maintain the country church, which has no electricity, running water, telephone, or central heating. During the summer, several services are held here, as are two candle-lit Christmas Eve services. In August an “old time” ladies aid meeting is attended by women in period costume. To reach the church, drive west on U.S. Highway 12 out of Pennock, turn north on County Road 1 (there is a sign at this intersection for the church), go about three and one-half miles, turn east on Seventy-fifth Avenue, a gravel road, go one-half mile, and turn south onto a narrow gravel road.
Historic Lundy Covenant Cemetery and Salem Covenant Church—7811 NW 135th Street (320-599-4574; www.salemcovepennock.org).
In the early 1880s, two early founders of the Mamrelund Church were attracted to the Pietist movement and they joined other settlers at the nearby Lundby Swedish Mission Church. John Rådman became its pastor. Eventually that congregation merged with Salem Covenant Church. About three miles northeast of Mamrelund Lutheran Church is Lundby Covenant Cemetery. Go north on County Road 1 to County Road 27, turn east on County Road 27, travel two miles, and then turn north on a gravel road one-half mile to the cemetery.
Salem Covenant is the oldest existing congregation of the Evangelical Coven-ant Church of America in Minnesota. Although the congregation worships in a red-brick church built in 1968, the cornerstone notes that the congregation dates from 1871. It formerly met in a building that stood next to the Lundby Covenant Cemetery. In front of the church is a brick monument erected on the congregation’s centennial anniversary in 1971. The church is five miles northwest of Pennock on State Highway 104.
Lake Florida Covenant Church.
Lake Florida Covenant Church was organized in 1870 as a Lutheran congregation known as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway Lake. The tiny white-frame building, located off County Road 29, one and one-half miles east of County Road or twelve miles east of the present Salem Covenant Church, was built in 1873. In 1879, the congregation voted to leave the Augustana Synod and affiliate with the Mission Friends, becoming one of the earliest Covenant parishes in Minnesota. It served as a parish church until 1955 but now is owned and maintained by an association. The nicely restored interior contains many old furnishings. From 1890 to 1907, the Reverend Nils Frykman, also known as a hymn writer, served as pastor to this church and three other central Minnesota congregations.
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