The history of this congregation is typical of many, for it was conceived in primitive, pioneering conditions and has continued through the years, through storm and sunshine, poverty and prosperity. People have come and gone, many gave years of outstanding service in various capacities, out of love for the Lord and without any thought of personal glory. Let us honor and give thanks to God and His church, for the ministers and pioneers of this community, who nobly sacrificed so much in order that they and the generations thereafter would have a place to worship, to teach the word of God, to baptize, to marry and to bury their loved ones.
The history was compiled by Mr. John Erickson for the Fiftieth Anniversary commemorated in the year 1958. Every effort to ensure the accuracy of this publication has been made, but with the passing of time and the death of most men and women who were associated with the settlement of the community and the establishment of the congregation, it becomes more and more difficult to obtain accurate information. Many thanks to Mr. Erickson who was commissioned by the congregation. With his permission this history was revised and updated by Alver and Algot Person for the seventy-fifth anniversay in 1983. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the congregation in 2008 the existing history was again updated, this time by Ron Eliason and Deanna Margel, to reflect the experiences and changes of the church building and congregation between 1983 and 2008.
For a number of years during the turn of the century in 1900, there was a general exodus of the people from the Scandinavian countries to America. They were hardy, ambitious people, filled with a spirit of adventure and unmatched courage. The Canadian Pacific Railway had been completed from Eastern Canada to the Pacific in 1885, thus opening the west to the settlement of millions of acres of farm land. The Government of Canada and the railway launched a campaign designed to bring thousands of immigrants to this land. Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets, maps and folders, printed in English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Welsh and Gaelic were distributed throughout the countries of Western Europe. This literature gave glowing and exaggerated accounts of tremendous opportunities in the Canadian West. And it told of low priced land which could be had for the asking. Enticed by this type of advertising, and letters from friends who had emigrated earlier, many decided to leave the land of their birth, their homes, friends and relatives to try their fortunes in a new and foreign land, the Canadian West.
In the year 1900, Mr. And Mrs. Staboe and a lady friend (Inga Johnson), emigrated from their native Sweden to Minnesota, U.S.A. There, Inga met and married Jacob Lunde, who had previously left his Swedish homeland. Later on, the Staboes and the Lundes moved to Alberta, Canada and homesteaded in the area which became known as the Lundemo district, located about thirty-five miles northeast of Wetaskiwin, the nearest railway point at that time. Mrs. Lunde, who was well acquainted with the Selins in Sweden, wrote to them, telling of all the wonderful prospects for the future and the homestead land which was available. Axel Selin decided to move with his wife, family and a brother, Petter, and they set out for the land of opportunity. After becoming settled the Selins wrote back to Sweden to the Victor Erickson family, inviting them to come to Canada, which they did. Within the few years that followed, many other families came over and before long the entire district had been settled.
These pioneers arrived in this country with a few meagre personal belongings, odd articles of necessary clothing and had little or no money. Many of the men did off-season work in the timber lands of British Columbia or the railway camps, in order to provide a living and gather a few necessities of life. The privation and hardships suffered in their struggle for existence were many, but they were strong in their faith in God and had untold courage and ambition. They had the spirit and will to work, progress and prosper, which is reflected in the modern farms and fine homes which are in the community today. The first houses and farm buildings were built from hewed logs and home-sawn native lumber. Many of these buildings are still in evidence, a tribute to the skilled workmanship of our early pioneers, a skill brought with them from the land of their birth. Much of the first sod broken in this area was done with oxen and horses.
During times of illness and childbirth, doctors and nurses were too distant to be of much help in time of need, but the people of this district were most fortunate to have in their midst a woman who, although not a trained nurse as we know them today, spent most of her life caring for the sick and lending a helping hand wherever it was needed. This woman was Mrs. Magnus Lindberg (Mathilda). Like a doctor, she was ready to go when called and many a night she had to set out with a team of horses in rain storms or the bitter cold of winter to help a neighbour in distress. She was an experienced midwife, and many of the people living here today were brought into this world with her assistance.