The Norwegian Lutheran Church

in Barron County

By Rev. J. E. Nord.

--From the History of Barron Co., Wisconsin, H. C. Cooper, Jr., &
Co., 1922, pg. 1147-1151.

Donated by Vic Gulickson

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 Rev. A. Johnson of Eau Claire, and Rev. C. J. Helsem of Running Valley, Wis., were probably the first Lutheran pastors who visited Barron County.

  Early in the autumn of 1869 these gentlemen made a trip through Barron County, finding a few settlers around Lake Chetek and Sumner. Leaving these small settlements they went north through the forest still finding settlers along the route; but toward evening they came to a place northeast of Dobie where they found no houses. However, they found a little hay meadow and a hay stack where they slept during the night. The next day they went west through the timber, at last reaching a settlement called Lakeland, where they also held services. From Lakeland they went south through the woods to Prairie Farm
where they also found settlers and held services. From there they went to Menomonie. This completed their first journey through the county. The trip took them a whole week.

  During the year 1870, Rev. Helsem made many visits to the settlements east and west of Chetek, on Pokegema Prairie, and at Lakeland, Rice Lake being then only a logging camp. On these visits Rev. Helsem gathered the people on week days for religious services, baptized their children and cared for the sick. The settlers would often come from 10 to 15 miles to attend these services.

Faaberg Norwegian Lutheran Congregation on Pokegema Prairie in the town of Stanley, was organized on Sept. 17, 1871, by Rev. C. J. Helsem. The congregation then numbered 55 communicant members. Officers: The Pastor, president, ex-officio; Ole Smestad, secretary; Hands Lunde, treasurer; Lars Holme and Hans Amundson, deacons; Fredrik Lunde and Bore Bratstigen, trustees. In 1880, the membership was 175. But in 1883, those members who resided on the west side of Prairie Lake withdrew from Faaberg and joined the Chetek congregation, and in 1908 those members who resided in and around Cameron withdrew and organized the Cameron Lutheran Congregation. The present membership is only 90. In 1872 the congregation bought two acres at the southwest corner of the southwest of the southwest of Section 25, Township 35, Range 11, and platted it for a cemetery. In 1890 a church was built on the southeast of the southwest of Section 23, in the same township. Pastors: Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1871 to 1878, Rev. H. Z. Hvid from 1878 to 1881, no pastor from 1881 to 1883, Rev. J. E. Nord from 1883 to 1889, Rev. A. J. Orke from 1889 to 1895, Rev. H. Lund from 1895 to 1904; Rev. 0. Refsdal from 1904 to 1914, Rev. H. Lund from 1914, the present pastor, residing at Chetek, and serving three congregations.

Lolland Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, four miles northeast of the village of Chetek, in the town of Chetek, was organized by Rev. C. J. Helsem on July 7, 1872, with a membership of 58, 25 being communicants. Officers: Rev. C. J. Helsem, president ex-officio; trustees, Paul Johnsen, Nils Jensen and Nils Olson; deacons, Ole Olson, Mads Jakobsen and Sivert Solum; secretary, Lars Johnson; treasurer, Kristian Black. The cemetery in Section 22 was dedicated in 1872. Pastors: Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1872 to 1878, Rev. H. Z. Hvid from 1878 to 1881. The pulpit was then vacant from 1881 until 1883 when the members of this congregation with some members of Zion and Faaberg congregations organized the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation at Chetek. At the time of the union this congregation had 67 members.

Solum Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation at Prairie Farm was organized by Rev. K. Thorstenson on Aug. 29, 1872, with a membership of 37 in all. Officers: Rev. K. Thorstenson, president, ex-officio; secretary, Peder Pederson Hoidalen; treasurer, Christian S. Johnson; deacons, Johannes Anderson and Joe Johnson Haugen; trustees, Peder Olson Krogen, Nils Eggen, Lars H. Kanshagen; precentor, Peder Pederson. The cemetery was started in 1872 in Sections 17 and 30; the first parsonage was built in 1880, the church in 1894, and the second parsonage in 1914. Pastors: Rev. K. Thorstensen from 1872 to 1874, Rev. I. F. Haakonson from 1874 to 1878, Rev. P. A. Dietrickson from 1878 to 1879, Rev. J. Waage from 1880 to 1884, Rev. K. L. Guttebo from 1884 to 1890, Rev. N. L. Blomholm from 1890 to 1892, Rev. S. Svennungson from 1892 to 1895, Rev. P. A. Widvey from 1895 to 1910, Rev. N. L. Blomholm from 1910 to 1914, and Rev. H. S. Rue, the present pastor, from 1915. The present membership is 140.

Aker Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation at Prairie Farm was organized by Rev. C. J. Helsem on the 9th day of November, 1872 (after preaching there occasionally since 1870) with a membership of 73. Officers: President, Lars Selvig; secretary, Anders 0. Flaa; treasurer, Lars Selvig; deacons, Martin Johnson, Ole Kastvig, Johan Iverson; trustees, Ole Lokken, Ole Hohmen, Ole Martell. The cemetery is in the northeast corner of the northeast of the northeast of Section 30, Township 32, Range 13 west. The church was erected in 1887 and the parsonage in 1901. The present membership is 550.
Pastors: Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1870 to 1874, Rev. G. Hoyme from 1874 to 1876, Rev. L. Lund from 1876 to 1878, Rev. H. Z. Hvid from 1878 to 1881, Rev. J. E. Nord from 1883 to 1893, Rev. J. A. Urnes from 1893 to 1901, Rev. J. D. Reinertson from 1901 to 1904, Rev. H. Thoreson from 1904 to 1913, Rev. 0. H. Lund the present pastor, from 1914.

The Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Rice Lake was organized on July 29, 1875, with a membership of 15 communicants. The church was erected in 1882 and the cemetery at the northwest corner of the southeast of the northwest of
Section 16, Township 35, Range 11, was plotted and dedicated in 1884. In 1901 a building was bought for a schoolhouse. Officers: Rev. C. J. Helsem, president, ex-officio; secretary, Ole O. Lokken; treasurer, Anders A. Aune; deacons, Halvor O. Sather, Christian Erikson; trustees, Sven Wangsgrav,  George Anderson and Ole O. Lokken; precentor, Ole O. Lokken. In 1916 this congregation had 350 members. The officers at that time were: Rev. J. E. Nord, president ex-officio; secretary, E. L. Sockness; treasurer, Louis Sockness; deacons, Reodor Lee, Peder Aas, N. L. Nilson; trustees, Otto Schesvold, Iver Amundson., Ole Planum, Ole Johnson, Iver Johnson, Carl Hagen; precentor, Otto Schesvold. Pastors: Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1875 to 1878, Rev. H. Z. Hvid from 1878 to 1881, Rev. J. E. Nord from 1883 to 1916, Rev. O. M. Kleven from 1916 to 1918, when this congregation was united with Our Savior's Congregation and formed the Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Rice Lake.

Otterholt Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, four miles west of Chetek, was organized on Jan. 26, 1875, by Rev. C. J. Helsem, with a membership of 30 communicants. Officers: Rev. C. J. Helsem, president ex-officio; secretary, Lars J. Dyreland; treasurer, Lars 0. Brekke; deacons: Ole Otterholt, Andreas Nilson, Auine Mortensen; trustees: Lars Otterholt, Ole
Johnson Otterholt, Erik Brynhildson; precentor, Lars Dyreland. In 1879 the name was changed to Zion Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, and in 1883 this congregation joined the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran congregation of Chetek, having then 68 members. Pastors: Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1875 to 1878, Rev. H. Z. Hvid from 1878 to 1881. This congregation had a cemetery in the southeast corner of the southeast of the northeast of Section 28, Township 33, Range 11.

The New Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in the town of Maple Grove was organized by Rev. H. P. Haakonson on May 11, 1875, with a membership of 150. Officers: Tron Vintroen, president; secretary, Martin Gjelstad;
trustees, Tron Vintroen; Lars Johnson, Knud Hanson Syverud. The congregation has a cemetery and a church lot in the southeast corner of the southeast of the northwest of Section 36, Township 33, Range 12. The church was built in 1881, the parsonage in Dallas in 1903. The present membership is 400. Pastors: Rev. H. P. Haakonson from 1875 to 1878, Rev. J. Waage from 1878 to 1883, Rev. K. L. Guttebo from 1883 to 1887, Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1887 to 1889, Rev. A. J. Orke from 1889 to 1895, Rev. H. Lund from 1895 to 1913, Rev. 0. L. Kirkeberg from 1913 to 1919, Rev. A. 0. Running the present pastor from 1919.

Lakeland Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in the town of Cumberland was organized by Rev. C. J. Helsem on Sept. 12, 1876, the congregation consisting of four families, namely: Andrew Skaar, Ole Skaar, L. L. Gunderson and Ole Reitan. Pastors: Rev. C. J. Helsem from 1876 to 1878, Rev. H. Z. Hvid from 1878 to 1881. There were 68 members in 1882. In 1882  this congregation was reorganized and named East Cumberland Norwegian Danish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, the story of which appears in this chapter.

Poskin Lake Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized in 1876 by Rev. II. F. Haakonson. Officers: President, A. Breda; secretary, Christian Hansen; treasurer, -------; trustees, John Thompson, Amund Halvorson, John
Halvorson. A church lot and cemetery were bought in ----. The church was built in 1895, situated at the southwest corner of the southeast of the southwest of Section 14, Township 34, Range 13. Pastors: Rev. H. F. Haakonson, from 1876 to 1878. Rev. P. A. Dietrickson from 1878 to 1879. Rev. J. Waage from 1880 to 1884, Rev. K. T. Guttebo from 1885 to 1889, Rev. N. L. Blomholm from 1890 to 1892, Rev. S. Svenungson from 1892 to 1895, Rev. P. A. Widvey 1895 to 1898, Rev. A. Toft from 1889 to 1900, Rev. H. A. Heyer from 1900 to 1906. Rev. H. Lund from 1906 to 1912, Rev. N. B. Ursin from 1913 to 1919, Rev. E. B.
Swenson, the present pastor from 1920. The present membership is 100.

Cedar Lake Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation at Campia was organized on May 9, 1878, by Rev. H. F. Haakonson, with 27 members. Officers: K. Fadnes, president; Harold Haakonson, secretary; Ole Dale, treasurer; Ole
Anderson, Ole J. Olson and Th. Olson, trustees. The cemetery in the northwest corner of Section 8, Township 35, Range 10, was dedicated in 1878, and the church in the southwest corner of Section 5, same township, was built in 1897. The name of this congregation was changed in 1920 to be: Our Savior Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Cedar Lake. Pastors: Rev. H. P. Haakonson, from 1878 to 1879, Rev. J. Waage from 1879 to 1883, Rev. K. C. Foss, from 1894 to 1895, Rev. I. J. Kvam from 1895 to 1911, Rev. J. Skagen from 1911 to 1914, Rev. P. F. Kjorlang from 1915 to 1917, Rev. 0. M. Kleven
from 1918 to 1921, and Rev. Theo. Kleppe, the present pastor, from 1921. The present membership is 130.

Dovre Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized in 1882 by Rev. N. E. Wikre with 88 members. In the same year Christian Lundgaard donated a tract of  land consisting of two acres in the northwest of the southeast of Section 20,
Township 32, Range 10, for cemetery and church lot. The cemetery was dedicated in 1882 and the church was built the same year. Officers: Martin Carlson, president; Christian Lundgaard, secretary; John C. Hole, treasurer; Arne Jorstad, Peder Christensen and Christian Presrud deacons; Micari Presrud, Ole Martinson and Ole Skabo, trustees; precentor, Ole Skabo. Pastors: Rev. N. E. Wikre from 1882 to 1892, Rev. A. J. Orke from 1892 to 1895, Rev. Helmer Lund from 1895 to 1905, Rev. Olav Refsdal from 1905 to 1914, and Rev. Helmer Lund, the present pastor, from 1914. In 1894 this congregation built a parsonage at Chetek together with the Chetek Lutheran congregation. The present membership is 275.

East Cumberland Norwegian Danish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. With the former members of Lakeland congregation and others the East Cumberland Congregation was organized in 1882 by Rev. N. B. Olson with a membership of
230. Officers: Rev. N. B. Olson, president, ex-officio; secretary, Hans Amble; treasurer, Lars Denson; deacons, 0. C. Lovaas, Hans Almaas, L. L. Gunderson; trustees, 0. A. Reitan, Fredrik Finsaas. Andreas Geisnos; precentor, Ole Geisnos. A tract of land of five acres in the southwest corner of Sec. 2, Township 35, Range 13, was secured for cemetery and church lot and a church built thereon in 1883. Pastors: Rev. N. B. Olson from 1882 to 1891, Rev. A. J. Logeland from 1881 to 1906, Rev. H. Ostgulen from 1907 to 1912, Rev. Carl Amundson from 1912 to 1921, Rev. E. Christianson, the present pastor, from 1921.

Chetek Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized Jan. 26, 1883, by Rev. J. E. Nord, with a membership of 154. This was a union of Lolland and Zion Congregations with some members of Faaberg Congregation.
Officers: Rev. J. E. Nord, president, ex-officio; secretary, Andreas Fossum; treasurer, Peder Swansby; deacons, David Joelson, Nils Jensen, Christian Black; trustees, Gulik Olson, Paul Johnson, Lars Otterholt; precentor, David Joelson. Two lots were secured and the church was built in 1884 in the village of Chetek. The congregation has a cemetery in the southwest corner of the southwest of the southeast of Section 11, Township 33, Range 11, and another in Section 22, town of Chetek. The parsonage was built in 1894. Pastors: Rev. J. E. Nord from 1883 to 1889, Rev. A. J. Orke from 1889 to 1895, Rev. R. Lund
from 1895 to 1904, Rev. Olav Refsdal from 1905 to 1914, Rev. H. Lund, the present pastor, from 1914. The present membership is 200.

  Concordia Evangelical Lutheran (originally Clinton Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation) was organized by Rev. J. Waage in 1883, with a membership of 75. In 1890 the constitution was changed and a part of the members seceded. Officers in 1890: Rev. J. F,. Nord, president, ex-officio; secretary, Ore Johnson; treasurer, Hans Ness; deacons, Even Larson, John Solberg; trustees, son, John Solberg, Jan Aker; and teacher, Ole Nygaard. The church in the southwest corner of Section 28 township 33, Range 13, was built in 1892. The parsonage owned together with Aker congregation, was built in
1901. The present membership is 260. Pastors: Rev. J. Waage, from 1883 to 1884, Rev. K. L. Guttebo, 1884 to 1890, Rev. J. E. Nord from 1890 to 1893, Rev. J. A. Urnes from 1893 to 1901; Rev. J. B. Reinertson from 1901 to 1904, Rev. H. Thoreson from 1904 to 1913, Rev. 0. H. Lund, the present pastor, from 1913.

  The Original Concordia Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was originally the Clinton Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation which was organized in 1883, by Rev. J. Waage, with a membership of 75. Officers: Johan Sorum, secretary; John Aker, treasurer; Solon Ostgaard and Christ Hanson, deacons; trustees, Hans Anderson, Even Larsen, Ole Johnson; precentor, Ole Nygaard. After the change of constitution, in 1890, the seceding members organized the Original Concordia Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation. The present membership is 150. The church was completed in 1910 and the parsonage was built together with Solum congregation in 1914. Officers in 1915: Secretary, Peter Sorum; treasurer, P. Moen; deacons, Frank Backer, Martin Anderson; trustees, Hans Wold, Ole Dillan, John A. Moen. Pastors: Rev. J. Waage, from 1883 to 1884, Rev. K. L. Guttebo from 1884 to 1890, Rev. N. L. Blomholm from 1890 to 1892, Rev. S. Svennungson from 1892 to 1895, Rev. P. A. Widvey from 1895 to 1910, Rev. N. L. Blomholm from 1910 to 1914. Rev. H. S. Rue, the present pastor, from 1915.

  Comstock Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized in 1883 by Rev. N. B. Olson, with a membership of 45. Officers in 1883: President, Rev. N. B. Olson, ex-officio; secretary, A. Moen; treasurer, Anders Svenby: deacons, Jacob Nyhus, E. Neby, T. Jackson; trustees, John Rosten, Charles Peterson, A. Moen; precentor, John Rosten. This congregation has a cemetery in the southwest corner of the southeast of the southeast of Section 31, Township 35, Range 13, and the church in the northeast corner of the northeast of the northwest of Section 6, Township 34, Range 13, was built in 1892. Pastors:
Rev. N. B. Olson from 1882 to 1891, Rev. A. J. Logeland from 1891 to 1896, Rev. H. Ostgulen from 1907 to 1912, Rev. Carl Amundson from 1912 to 1921, Rev. E. Christianson, the present pastor, from 1921.

  Barron was a Mission Station from 1872 to 1884. Rev. C. J. Helsem held services at Barron from 1872 to 1878 and Rev. H. Z. Hold from 1878 to 1881. Rev. N. E. Wikre held services there in 1882 and Rev. J. Waage in 1883. The First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Barron was organized March 29, 1884, by Rev. T. 0. Juve, with 45 members. Officers: Rev. T. 0. Juve, president, ex-officio; secretary, Henry Olson; treasurer, Mr. Juve; trustees, A. Breda, John Thompson and Olaus Bergen; precentor and teacher, Christian Larson. The cemetery in the southeast corner of the northeast of the
northeast of Section 30, Township 34, Range 12, was dedicated in 1884. The first church was built in 1893 and ruined by storm in 1899. The second church was built in 1900 and consumed by fire in 1922. Steps have been taken for the erection of a new church in the near future. A parsonage was bought in 1913, but sold in 1920. Pastors: Rev. T. 0. Juve from 1884 to 1888, Rev. J. E. Nord from 1888 to 1890, Rev. J. A. Orke from 1890 to 1893, Rev. J. A. Urnes from 1893 to 1900, Rev. J. B. Reinertson from 1900 to 1903, Rev. H. Lund from 1903 to 1912, Rev. N. B. Ursin from 1912 to 1919, Rev. E. B. Swenson, the present pastor, from 1920. The present membership 500.

 Cumberland Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized in 1886 by Rev. N. B. Olson with a membership of 38. Officers: President, Rev. N. B. Olson, ex-officio; secretary, Hans Amble; treasurer, Lars Benson; deacons, 0. C. Lovaas, Hans Almos, L. L. Gunderson; trustees, O. A. Reitan, Fred Finson, Andrew Gusness; precentor, Ole Gusness; Sunday school superintendent, 0. C. Lovaas. The church was built in 1886 and the parsonage in 1896. The church and parsonage are located at the City of Cumberland. Pastors: Rev. N. B. Olson from 1886 to 1891, Rev. A. J. Logeland from 1891 to 1906, Rev. H. Ostgulen from 1907 to 1912, Rev. Carl Amundson from 1912 to 1920, Rev. E. Christianson from 1920, the present pastor.

  Dallas Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized on Oct. 8, 1892, by Rev. A. J. Orke with a membership of 70. Officers: President, Ole 0. Berg; secretary, H. E. Halvorson; treasurer, Harry Halvorson; deacons, Gunder Lee, Even Erikson, Ed Gilstad; trustees, Knud Espeseth, J. G. Johnson, Lars Larson; precentor, Iver Moe. The church was built in 1893 and the parsonage in 1903. The present membership is 400. Pastors: Rev. A. J. Orke from 1892 to 1895, Rev. Helmer Lund from 1895 to 1913, Rev. 0. L. Kirkeberg from 1913 to 1919, Rev. A. 0. Running, the present pastor, from 1919.

Our Savior Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Rice Lake was organized on Nov. 6, 1893, by Rev. J. W. Preus, with a membership of 54. Officers: President, Christian Overby; secretary, Andrew Haug; treasurer, Christian Overby; trustees, Christian Overby, Andrew Haug, Martin Kobbervik; precentor, Andrew Haug. The congregation bought a church building in 1896. Pastors: K. C. Foss from 1883 to 1885, Rev. I. J. Kvam from 1885 to 1911, Rev. J. A. M. Skagen from 1911 to 1914, Rev. P. E. Kjorlaug from 1915 to 1917. In 1918 this congregation joined with the Evangelical Lutheran congregation of
Rice Lake and formed the Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Rice Lake, Wis. It had then 150 members.

  Stanfold Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized on Dec. 19, 1902, by Rev. J. E. Nord, with a membership of 62. Officers: President, J. E. Nord, ex-officio; secretary, Jim Hansen; treasurer, Ole P. Olsen; deacons,
Joseph Tverberg, Martin Larsen, Henry Nilsen; trustees, Ludvig Eliasson, Hans Jensen, Jakob Johnson; precentor, Sgur Rolland. A tract of 2 acres of land was procured in the northeast corner of the northwest of the northeast of Section
22, Township 35, Range 12, for cemetery and church lot, and a church built thereon in 1907. The present membership is 150. Pastors, Rev. J. E. Nord from 1902 to 1916, Rev. O. M. Kleven from 1916 to 1921, Rev. Theo. Kleppe, the present pastor, from 1921.

  Cameron Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized Dec. 10, 1908, by Rev. Olav Refsdal, with a membership of 40 of which number a majority had been members of Faaberg congregation since 1871. Cameron had been a mission station
since 1884, Rev. J. E. Nord, Rev. A. J. Orke and Rev. Helmer Lund having held services there occasionally. Officers: President, Rev. Olav Refsdal, ex-officio; secretary, 0. Mauseth; treasurer, Ole Roe; deacon, E. 0. Wang; trustees, M. Fredrikson, Gilbert Lewis, L. 0. Gilbertson. The congregation secured a lot and built the church in 1909. The present membership is 175. Pastors: Rev. Olav Refsdal from 1908 to 1914, Rev. N. B. Ursin from 1914 to 1919, Rev. E. B. Swenson, the present pastor, from 1920.

  Haugen Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was organized on Sept. 12, 1917, by Rev. J. E. Nord, with a membership of 25. Haugen had been a mission station for several years, Rev. Nord and Rev. Ritland having held services there. Officers: President, Rev. J. E. Nord, ex-officio; secretary, A. J. Olson; treasurer, Ed. Berschneider; trustees, Fred Nelson, Christ Phillipsen and Ed Berschneider. The church was built in 1916. Pastors: Rev. J. E. Nord, Rev. J. Ritland, Rev. A. 0. Running and Rev. C. M. Paulson, the present pastor.

Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, Rice Lake, was organized on Dec. 17, 1918, by Rev. J. E. Nord. This was a union of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Rice Lake, organized in 1875, and Our Savior Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Rice Lake, organized in 1883. A committee previously elected had prepared the articles of agreement, which were accepted and by the acceptance of a constitution and the election of officers the consolidated body was organized. According to the articles of agreement Rev. Kleven should be the pastor of the congregation temporarily. Officers: President, Rev. 0. M. Kleven, ex-officio; secretary, Carl Haaland; treasurer, Louis Lockness; trustees, A. 0. Erstad, Carl Pederson, Haldor Anderson, Andrew Gregerson, Olaf Stokker, Axel Borgens; deacons: Hans Evenson, Iver Amundson,
L. M. Engesoter, Christian Pederson, Ole Olen, Hans Hagen. The membership at the time of the union: Our Savior, 150, and the Evangelical Lutheran, 350, was 500. The present membership is 600. Pastors: Rev. 0. M. Kleven from 1918 to 1921, Rev. D. M. Branford from 1922, the present pastor.
 
  

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