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Manuscripts by Subject - Religion - #11180

Title: Gethsemane Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (Tolna, ND)

Dates: 1901-1990

Collection Number:  MSS 11180

Quantity:  .5 ft.

Abstract: Papers consist of church minutes, pastors’ logs, church guest books, 75th anniversary programs, and historical information about the church. The church was incorporated in 1904.

Provenance: Provenance unknown.

Property rights:  The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to the collection.

Copyrights:  Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation:  Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.
Transfer:  One publication was transferred to the State Archives’ publications in August 2013. Several publications and a photograph were tossed because condition concerns.


Gethsemane Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church was organized on February 25, 1901 in Rural Tolna (ND) at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Torrison.  The church’s first pastor was Reverend O. Swenson.  The building was completed in two years and the first worship service was held on August 30, 1903 – a day-long event including Holy Communion.  In 1929, a new church building was erected. 

Before the actual sanctuary was completed, Gethsemane religious school for children was held in the homes of congregation members.  The first religious school week-long session took place in October 1901 at the home of H. P. Overby and was taught by Miss Trine Swenson.  Until 1932, Norwegian was the official language of the congregation, but the transition from Norwegian to English was not completed until 1950. 

In 1962, Gethsemane Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church was incorporated into the larger church body of the American Lutheran Church, and became simply Gethsemane Lutheran Church.  Pastors who served the congregation through 1979 include Reverends Ole Swenson, L. M. Halling, Ingvald Norum, John Loland, George Mellby, Michael Helland, Oscar Johnson, Gerald Aamot, Arden Norum, Donald Brekhus, David Gabrielson, and Fred Norlien.

Source: Gethsemane Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (Tolna, ND) (MSS 11180) Box 1, Folder 5


Box 1:
1 Minutes, 1901-1946
2 Minutes, 1949-1987
3 Guest book, 1965-1980
4 Guest book, 1980-1990
5 Miscellaneous: newsletter, 75th anniversary programs and a church history, 1976-1986, n.d.

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