Leer Evangelical Lutheran Church

Leer Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Norwegian Leer Lutheran Congregation was organized March 5, 1882, with Pastor Peder Isberg of Alpena conducting the meeting in the home of Andreas Christopherson in Long Rapids Township, County of Alpena. At this meeting the following officers were elected: Otto Olsen, Chairman; Bernhard Enger, Secretary; and Andreas Christppherson and Olaf Olsen, Trustees. Pastor Isberg agreed to hold four services per year, with farm produce as pay.

On that same day the first child was baptized, namely Carl Christopherson, son of the Andreas Christophersons.

In 1882 Karl Burud donated two acres of land for the church and cemetery. It was not until later that the church was built, services meanwhile were held in the school house.

Pastor Isberg was followed by Pastor A. Wang, who began his ministry on September 31, 1883, and continued until 1899, conducting six services per year. In 1885 a church building fund was started. In 1898 a building committee was elected, consisting of Andreas Christopherson, Thomas Bensen and Hans Mattison. It was decided to build a church like the one at Krakow, Michigan. Pastor Wang worked to organize the committee for the church building, but it was in 1899, under the leadership of Pastor Johnson, that it was built. Pastor Wang gathered the children for religious instruction on Saturdays of the weekends that he came for services. His ministry to the sick was long remembered. Mrs. Wang taught the young girls to sew, knit and crochet, and thus was started the fail sales. The membership grew from 10 to 96 by 1894.

In 1886, Bernhard Enger was elected to teach Sunday School, with the understanding that each parent having children in Sunday School should work one week day for him.

Pastor Lorentz C. Johnson came in 1899 and served as pastor until 1913. The present church was built with the corner stone being laid by Pastor Johnson in 1899. All the lumber was donated by the members. A collection of forty dollars was received for buying the church bell from Sears & Roebuck, which is still in use. John Alfsen was given permission to purchase the first organ for $125.00 in 1902. It was decided that the pastor should lodge with the same family when coming to hold services, and that the hosts should receive thirty dollars per year for the ten visits. Families took turns to meet the pastor at Lachine or Posen and to take him back to the train after visits. The first church wedding was performed by Pastor Johnson on March 21, 1901, uniting Martin J. Anderson and Martha Louise Hansen.

After Pastor Johnson's resignation in 1913 Leer met jointly with Alpena and Spruce to call another pastor. Pastor Ingvald Hustvedt was called and served from 1913 to 1918. In 1916, during Pastor Hustvedt's term of service, the school house was built at a cost of $800.00, with rough lumber ad labor donated.

Pastor Fin Magelsen served the parish from 1918 to 1920, and Pastor Nels Halvorsen from 1921 to 1925. In 1922 the English language was introduced and alternated with Norwegian in the services. The Norwegian language was dropped from services in 1935.

The congregation was served by Pastor Olaf Rolfsen from 1925 to 1929, and by Pastor N. B. Ursin from 1929 to 1933, Pastor Leif H. Roholt was called by the three congregations to the parish and served from 1935 until 1945. In 1945 Pastor Mikkel Lono accepted a call to the parish and was still the pastor in 1970.

During the history of Leer Lutheran Church there have been 301 baptisms, 260 have been confirmed, 169 have been buried and 58 couples have been married.