'Go in peace. Serve God someplace else'

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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Sunday's service was not unlike a funeral for someone who had lived to 107 years. Sad, and yet a thankful celebration for those 107 years.

Redeemer Lutheran Church was formed just more than 107 years ago by Finnish immigrants. It started as meetings in members' homes, and they shared a pastor during those first years with three other parishes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The church established a cemetery, just north of Kingston, and soon built a church building there. Some years later, the building was moved into the town of Kingston, to better serve the people of Kingston. It is this building that still stands today.

By 1950 (?) it became evident that most members now spoke English at home instead of Finnish as a primary language. So the name was changed, and services were held in English. This controversial decision passed by a single vote, 20-19.

The church membership never surpassed 84, yet it has thrived and served its community. Dozens have been confirmed and married in the church, and dozens have been buried from the church.

Down to 13 members, they voted some time ago, 12-1 in favor of closing the historic church. June 26 was its last regular service. A disolution service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. A newly formed Redeemer Cemetery Association will meet that day at 4 p.m. with an obligatory service of coffee in-between.

All church property will be turned over to the Redeemer Cemetery Association, and anyone with family buried in the cemetery may join this new entity and serve on the board of trustees.

Staff photos and video by Jean Doran Matua; available online in the Photo Gallery on our website.