Last regular service will be Sunday, June 26
By Kristen Miller
KINGSTON, MN After 107 years of providing a place of worship to the Kingston area, Redeemer Lutheran Church will have its final regular service Sunday, June 26.
“It’s always sad to see a congregation close, but we have tried to serve the needs of the community and sometimes the best decision for stewardship of resources is to close,” said Rev. Mike Nelson, pastor of the Triune Lutheran Parish made up of North Crow River Lutheran Church, Grace, and Redeemer. Nelson has been the pastor for Redeemer for eight years.
The congregation has been in existence since 1904, but in recent years, it’s expenses have exceeded the revenue leaving the church council with no other options.
Nelson explained that the church had been blessed with revenue from the sale of its parsonage as well as sizable bequests making for a substantial amount of savings.
Because of that, the church was able to use the reserve to cover the deficit, which is now running out, according to Nelson.
Despite membership having grown in recent years, Sunday attendance has been on the decline. Lately, average attendance has been around 10 members, Nelson said.
At a special congregational meeting with a representative from the synod office in March, the church council discussed its options and the effect closing would have on its members.
Another meeting was called for May 22 at which time, those in attendance voted 12-1 in favor of closing.
The service Sunday, June 26 at 10 a.m., which is open to the public, will be “a celebration of the church’s history and the blessings its brought to the community,” Nelson said.
Despite its small membership, Nelson said he was always pleased with the participation of the group.
“I got a strong sense of fellowship among the people every Sunday,” Nelson said, adding that it was a pleasure serving them for the past eight years.
The council will then make preparations to disband the congregation later this year turning over church assets to the cemetery association. This will also including a final service, in which Jon Anderson from the South West Minnesota Synod will be present.
Redeemer was originally a part of the Suomi Lutheran Synod with Finnish roots, which is now part of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.