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In writing this account, we borrow from the Rev. V. A. Fiskerbeck's article in the centennial issue of the Ossian Bee. We have made minor changes and updated the history.
The Ossian Evangelical Lutheran congregation has its roots in the Stavanger congregation organized by the late Dr. U. V. Koren in 1853. Its earliest beginning as a separate congregation dates to June 5, 1903. On that date at a meeting of the Stavanger members, it was decided, without a dissenting vote, that the members from Ossian were to be allowed to have their own congregation as a separate unit, but a part of the same parish and served by the same pastor. The Rev. B. Askevold was then pastor of the Stavanger parish. Ossian was to have twelve services a year and were to contribute $100 a year towards the pastor's salary, together with offerings for the pastor at the three great festivals of the Christian church ie Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.
The first officers of the congregation as named in the articles of incorporation were: G. F. Gunderson, Sam Nereson and G. G. Oyloe—trustees; Cornell Riveland, Sec'y; and G. F. Gunderson, treasurer.
Prior to the building of a Lutheran church in Ossian, services were conducted in the Methodist. Twenty five dollars a year was paid for the use of this facility. By 1910, however, the Ossian Lutheran congregation had their own church building. Andrew Lee, father of the late Bishop Edwin Lee, was the contractor. Members, local businessmen and other friends, contributed towards the project with both funds and labor.
A lot for the site was purchased from R. W. Anderson. The frame structure, 40' X 48', with a 60' belfry was patterned after the Springfield church building.
The church was formally dedicated by the Rev. O. P. Wangness, president of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod, on June 12, 1910. In order to accommodate the large crowd that was anticipated, spacious platforms were built on both the north and south sides of the church. The congregation was not disappointed; on the day of the ceremonies, a thousand people assembled to witness the dedication. Ministers in attendance besides Rev. B. Askevold, the local pastor, were: the Rev. O. P. Wangness, Rev. I. B. Torrison of Decorah, Rev. Alfred Bredesen of Huron, South Dak., Rev. C. G. Naeseth of Kansas City, Rev. G. Blessin of Eldorado, and the Rev. Paul Koren. The dedicatory address was given by the Rev. Wangness and the Rev. Koren read a history of the church. A free will offering was taken at this service to help defray the expenses incurred in building the church.
The first funeral service was for A. T. Gunderson, one of the organizers of the Ossian congregation. The first child to be baptized in the new church was Mildred Rogness, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Knut Rogness. The first confirmation class consisted of three girls: Ruth Gunderson, Ruth Holien and Marjorie Nereson.
Before the congregation itself came into existence, a Ladies Aid Society had been organized in 1897 during the pastorate of the Rev. H. J. G. Krogh. The original officers of this group were; Mrs. Ole Thompson, president; Mrs. Andrew Gunderson, sec'y; and Mrs. John Moe, treasurer.
The Rev. B. Askevold was the first pastor to serve the Ossian Lutheran Church. His service began with its organization and ended in 1912. Other pastors are as listed in our account of the Stavanger Church.
A new Parish Hall was erected on the west side of the church in 1955. In the early 1970s, both the church and this hall underwent a major renovation. A pipe organ was installed and dedicated on July 15, 1973.
The following members of the Ossian Lutheran Congregation were elected and installed in office for 1980: Dave Siefken, president; Mrs. Marlene Nesvik, Sec'y; Mrs. Harold Scheidel, treasurer; Willard Holien, trustee; David Larson, Deacon; Mrs. Irene Rogness, board of education; Mrs. Wayne. Hemry and Wayne Sender, auditors; Mrs. Victor Halverson, Iowa Dist. Conv. delegate; Elaine Halverson, EWALU Camp delegate; Esther Johnson, Aase Haugen Home delegate; and Lester Torresdal, head usher.
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this page was last updated on Thursday, 01 April 2021