HJ/EDJune 26, 2006

DC Laestadians to cohost summer service

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Jason Hillmyer of Dassel is on the steering committee for the Laestadian Lutheran Church summer services 2006 at the Monticello High School in Monticello.

The event will be from Friday, June 30, at 6 p.m., to Monday, July 3, and is expected to draw 4,000 to 4,500 visitors to the area. Some of the services will be conducted in the Finnish language.

The Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church, the Rockford Laestadian Lutheran Church, and the Minneapolis Laestadian Lutheran Church will host this event.

In a couple of years, the summer services event will be in the Dassel Cokato area, according to Rod Nikula of Buffalo, public relations committee chairman.

The summer service is the largest event hosted by the Laestadian Lutheran Church. This is the eighth time the event has been held in this area, Nikula said.

The first summer service in the area was in Minneapolis in 1974. The majority of guests will come from Minnesota, but there will also be guests from all over the United States, Canada and Europe.

This year’s theme will be “Believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” John 12:36. The Rev. Ray Waaraniemi of Rockford Laestadian Lutheran Church wrote that the light referred to in the theme is Jesus Christ himself.

Lunch, supper and refreshments will be served at the school for those who purchase those meals. Many of the service guests will eat at local restaurants, however.

The high school’s field house can accommodate 4,000 people, and the auditorium is air conditioned.

The Laestadian Lutheran Church takes its name from Martin Luther, the reformer, and Lars Levi Laestadius. Laestadius was a Lutheran pastor who served in northern Sweden from 1825 to 1861. Laestadius started a revival movement that spread far beyond Swedish Lapland. The movement reached North America with Finnish immigrants in the 1860s. Congregations were first formally organized in Cokato in 1872 and Calumet, Mich., in 1873.

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