Norman Lutheran Church near Kindred marks 150 years this weekend
It started with a handful of North Dakota farm families from Norway. This weekend, descendants of those pioneer settlers are throwing a party for one of the state's oldest congregations.
Kindred, N.D. — It all started in an old log cabin south of Horace, near the Sheyenne River when North Dakota was still known as Dakota Territory. Still in rural Kindred, Norman Lutheran Church is thriving.
"It is my home. My home church," said Arlene Haux, a longtime organist who is now retired.
Haux had family that settled there in 1880.
Melvin Anderson is 99. He is the oldest member of Norman Lutheran Church. He remembers a church with a wood stove, going to church while his Dad was serving in World War I and getting to church from the farm using horses.
The weekend of June 25, people are flying and driving from across the region and nation as Norman Lutheran Church — one of the oldest churches in North Dakota — marks 150 years. There is a run, hayride, cemetery tour and afternoon program scheduled Saturday, with a special anniversary church service set for Sunday.
"(There are) so many people wanting to move into the area, and so there's a lot of young families that are coming in, and it's really exciting," said Norman Lutheran Church Pastor Katie Kringstad. "It's vibrant (and) it's a joyful place to be."
Being a country preacher back in the day wasn't a moneymaker. WDAY News looked at church records, and the pastor there made $400 a year.
Cameron Mitchell is a seventh-generation member at Norman Lutheran, and Wesley Nelson had ancestors who started coming to the church in 1876.
"This was home to me, (...) I always feel that way," Nelson said. "I can't get adjusted to living in the big city. I call Fargo a big city."
From its humble start in a log cabin, through two churches burning to the ground, the congregation prepares for the church's 150th celebration with hopes of another 150 years to come.