One organization which has done outstanding service within the church was the Ladies Aid or as it is known in Swedish, “Kvinno-förening”. When the congregation was organized in 1908, the ladies organized the same year to shoulder their share of the endeavour to establish a church. Throughout the years, they have contributed thousands of dollars in financial aid to the church to help with the building, furnishings, and maintenance. The spinning party and quilting bee was a great event, when the ladies of the community would gather to card wool for making quilts and spinning the wool into yarn with their home-made spinning wheels. Then throughout the year the ladies would knit socks and mittens, and embroider all sorts of fancy goods in their spare time. These goods were then sold by auction. By this means they were able to raise enough money to help the congregation and still carry on their own work. Without help from the ladies, the church might often have found itself in serious financial difficulties. One item of interest is that a man, John Person, served as President for a number of years, indeed which no doubt reflects the high esteem in which he was held by the ladies of the church. The Ladies Aid was organized on August 30, 1908. Mrs. Inga Lunde was elected president and treasurer and Mrs. Petter Selin as secretary.
The Women’s Missionary Society was organized on June 24, 1914, with Mrs. Jonas Anderson elected as president and Mrs. Elias Anderson as secretary. A mission festival was held once a year in order to raise money for Aid to Missions at home and abroad. On December 12, 1952, the Ladies Aid and the Women’s Missionary Society formed one unified society known as the Ladies Guild. In 1961, the name was again changed to Lutheran Church Women. All societies folded in 1965 when the congregation disbanded. After the congregation reorganized, the ladies society also reorganized and are now known as the Wilhelmina Willing Workers. We extend a special acknowledgement of praise to the members of these societies, and the Luther League, who have so faithfully stood by the congregation whenever a need existed, since the formation of the Wilhelmina church. The Willing Workers continue to provide lunches for funerals, bring dishes for potluck lunches which are held regularly throughout the year and are involved with fundraising (usually in the form of bake sales and serving at auctions). Since 2004, we have also been involved with Neighbour Aid – a Camrose organization that runs the Food Bank and a soup kitchen called “Martha’s Table”.
Små Flickornas Syförening was organized on March 2, 1911, under the leadership of Mrs. Inga Lunde, with Hanny Hanson as treasurer. This group was active until shortly after the Luther League was organized in 1915 with Pastor Heiner as president, Axel Selin vice-president, Gerda Hanson secretary, and Magnus Johnson treasurer. Over the years this society was very active. Regular monthly meetings were held which consisted of the business agenda and an excellent program. Several different socials were held each year. Exchange programs with other churches were a highlight of fellowship, and so were the Alberta District Luther League Conventions. Wilhelmina hosted the convention in 1932, 1941, and 1947. This was an all day affair for all week which required a great deal of expense and long hours of work and preparation to accommodate the guests. The Swedish language was used in the secretarial records until the end of 1933, when it was changed over to English. The Wilhelmina Luther League dissolved in 1965 when the congregation disbanded and has not reorganized since.
Sunday School commenced in 1909 with a class of ten children under the leadership of Mrs. Inga Lunde, who was a faithful and zealous worker within the church and community. More pupils were attending as the years went by. Probably the largest attendance was during 1929 and 1930 with an enrolment of forty to forty-five pupils and five to six teachers, including Pastor Eklund as superintendent and Mrs. Clara Vikner, a qualified teacher of the Swedish language, as vice-superintendent. The Christmas concert was presented by the Sunday school children to the enjoyment of the children and audience until 1997, when a congregational “Family Christmas” program was adopted in which all members of the congregation are encouraged to participate. Summer Vacation Bible School was also held at various times. In the summers of 1929 and 1930, Miss Edna Johnson, Conference missionary, was invited and taught for three weeks at the Brandland School and two weeks at the Miquelon School. In 1997, after many years of low enrolment, the Sunday School was discontinued. In 2006 a worship program for children and their families was re-instated and has received favourable response from the attendees. Schooner, our toucan puppet, was an instant success with the kids and we’ve had the blessing of a great team of young men helping (most of whom have been confirmed at Wilhelmina in the past eight years). The bible story skits are acted out by our volunteers each week and the program concludes with a craft that ties into the day’s lesson. For 2007/08 our theme was “Take Two Tablets and Call Moses!”.
Following are those who have served in the position of Sunday School superintendent: Inga Lunde, Harold Person, Magnus Johnson, Axel Lindgren, Hanny Hanson, Jenny Selin, Axel Selin, Paulus Mattson, Agatha Nordfeldt, Pastor Eklund, Clara Vikner, John Person, Kristina Anderson, Blanche Hanson, Nannie Swanlund, Anita Johnson, Seena Swanlund, Alver Person, Angeline Nordin, Carol Johnson, Anna Lofgren, Evelyn Pearson, Ted and Margaret Matson, and Jean Matson. Also a note of recognition to all who have served as assistant teachers.
The Junior Mission Society was also organized by Miss Edna Johnson on July 15, 1930, with the following officers elected: President – Hennie Johnson, Vice President – Sylvia Nordin, Secretary – Judith Person, Treasurer – Elias Vikner. Mrs. Knut Nordfeldt and her daughter, Blanche Hanson, served as leaders. Miss Hanson was also the Canada Conference President of the Junior Mission Society. A Church Choir was organized in 1915, under the leadership of Pastor and Mrs. Leonard Heiner who gave their best performances at the Luther League meetings and church festivals. After the untimely death of Pastor Heiner in 1918, the choir continued for a while under the leadership of Mr. Barne Welda. In 1931, Mrs. Ole Olson (Annie Erickson) had within a short time assembled a choir that, under her training, developed into a very fine group of singers. Mrs. Olson had a manner and personality that endeared her to all who knew her, and the young people who worked with her always gave their best at practice sessions and performances. This choir carried on most successfully until her death on April 6, 1941. The piano was purchased with funds saved by the choir and was since dedicated to the Glory of God in memory of Mrs. Olson. Due to the constant temperature fluctuations in the building, however, the piano eventually had to be replaced. Special thanks go to Richard and Evelyn Pearson, who donated their piano to the congregation in memory of their daughter, Diane, when they chose to leave the farm and move into Camrose. Although, we have not had a formal choir in the past 25 years we have often met together to raise our voice in praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the 1990s the choir practiced and performed several Christmas and Easter cantatas and we continue to participate in the Scandia Lutheran Church (Armena), “Prelude to Christmas” program most years.
The congregation, as a whole, has also been involved in running auction sale concessions to raise funds in times of financial duress or to help the financing of special projects like re-shingling the building.
As was customary with most country churches, a cemetery was located near the church. A plan for the cemetery layout was drawn up by Harold Person and approved by the congregation. He was also the first cemetery caretaker until the election of Oscar Swanlund, 1928-1933. Others who have served in this role are: Hans Johnson, 1934-1938; John Person, 1939-1959; Albin Person, 1960-1978; Richard Knull, 1979-1988; Algot Person 1989-1998; Larry Selin 1999 to the present. In 1983, 151 burials had been recorded. As of 2008, 226 souls have been laid to rest up on Wilhelmina’s hill. A grant of eleven hundred dollars was received from the Alberta Government in 1975 for improvements to the cemetery. In 1990 a chain link fence was installed around the cemetery and in 2004 markers were made to replace those that were in poor condition and for graves that were unmarked. General cemetery upkeep is currently the responsibility of work teams who have a set rotational schedule for grass cutting. A spring work bee is usually planned in the spring to handle other upkeep tasks.
The first confirmands of this congregation were part of a class confirmed at Fridhem in 1910: Amanda Person, Gerda Hanson and Oscar Selin. Of the Fridhem congregation were: Hilma Nelson, Edna Lindgren, and Florence Skogman with Pastor Olaf Lindgren.
The first confirmation in the Wilhelmina church was a class of eighteen, confirmed on May 24, 1914: Walter Selin, Jenny Selin, Hildur Selin, Hogda Johnson, Martha Lovisa Johnson, Nestor Johnson, Anna Johnson, Emil Helgren, Esther Lindberg, Einar Lindberg, Paulina Lindberg, August Anderson, Hanny Hanson, Ellen Carlson, Carl Carlson, Hildegard Danielson, Olga Grundberg and Nannie Grundberg with Pastor Olaf Lindgren. With regret, there was no photograph of this class.
Among the first weddings after the congregation was organized was that of Sara Kristofferson to Oscar Swanlund, Mina Kristofferson to Olof Forsen and Olivia Kristofferson to Hilmer Sikstrom. The first wedding within the new church was that of Amanda Person to John Person in 1914. Shortly afterward a double wedding united Victoria Kristofferson to Albert Berg and Petra Hanson (Lunde) to Elis Anderson.
The following have served as congregational secretary for some period during the years past: Axel Selin, Oscar Swanlund, Erik Hanson, Albert Swanson, John Person, Knut Nordfeldt, Richard Pearson, Mary Anderson, Ernest Nordin, Albin Person, Evelyn Pearson, Connie Servold, Joanne Huebner, Jean Klappstein, Robert Klappstein, Jean Matson, Debbie Klein, Deanna Margel, Dave Hoogendoorn and Sandy Olansky . Treasurers: Linus Selin, Frank Johnson, Axel Selin, Erick Carlstrom, John Palm, Hans Palm, Stanley Selin, Ivar Lofgren, Reynold Nordin, Verner Johnson, Hampton Anderson, Algot Person, Muriel Holdsworth, Marilyn Nordin, Deanna Margel and Sarah Bossé.
A financial secretary was also elected in the period of 1929 to 1965. Only three served during this time and they were: John Person, Erick Carlstrom and Algot Person. When the church reopened in 1966, Algot Person resumed the role. Between 1980 and the present, Marilyn Nordin and Muriel Holdsworth have held that position.
Those who have served as organist are: Axel Selin, Mrs. Pastor Gronberg, Alhard Johnson, Hennie Selin, Judith Person, Seena Swanlund, Mrs. Pastor Pearson, Vivian Selin, Marlene Streberg, Marilyn Kemppainen, Leona Carpenter, Anita Johnson, Robert Klappstein and Deanna Margel.
The following have served as custodians: Harold Person, Magnus Lindberg, Anders Kristofferson, Erik Kristofferson, Oscar Swanlund, Jonas Anderson, Hans Johnson, John Person, Algot Person, and Ryan and Lillian Nordin.