New London church celebrates 125th Anniverary throughout 2016
This year marks a significant milestone for the Evangelical Covenant Church of New London, which had a humble start. Between 1886-1890 some ‘Swedish mission friends’ in the New London area started meeting for prayer and testimonies in homes and at the Village Town Hall. Eventual charter member, Benjamin Bredberg, consulted with then pastor/evangelist/revivalist, Rev. E. August Skogsberg, about formal organization which took place on Feb. 5, 1891. That mission friend gathering of early Swedish immigrants became the thriving church that now worships over 200 and is known as the Evangelical Covenant Church of New London.
The first building measured 38′ x 24′ and cost $500 to erect in 1892 on a lot that cost $25. The first chairman, John E.F. Erickson, was the carpenter and one of the original contributors along with its seven charter members. The first pastor was Rev. O.H. Myhren and he led the newly-birthed congregation until 1895.
It wasn’t until Rev. John Anderson, who served from 1923-1932, that English was used, but even then only for the Sunday evening services! Rev. Chester Dahlberg followed Anderson and was significant as he was a son of the church having deep roots in New London, along with the Covenant, communities. Dahlberg served three parishes, in New London, Lake Florida, and Litchfield traveling in his Model T Ford to the area churches. During Rev. Paul Hedberg’s pastorate the congregation bought its first parsonage which was in 1940 which cost the congregation $2,700.
Remodeling and Relocating
In 1950 the original church was completely remodeled, enlarging the sanctuary and adding the nursery, pastor’s study and chancel. This expansion was during the tenure of a vivacious and rather humorous pastor by the name of Rev. L.O. Anderson. To know L.O. was to love him! In 1978, during Pastor Eric Josephson’s pastorate, the congregation moved to its present site and has had another two additions and remodeling projects through the years.
Much has changed since the beginning of all of this but somethings remain. The Evangelical Covenant Church of New London continues as it started, deeply committed in prayer and the message of new life through Jesus Christ along with great testimonies of what God has done through the lives of many faithful saints throughout its 125 year history.
Celebrating 125 years
The church will celebrate the work of Jesus Christ in their midst through three events in the course of 2016. First, was a 125th Anniversary Sunday, Feb. 21 2016. Rev. Tim Anderson, a former pastor from 1982-1990, spoke at the event. Sharing in the service was Rev. Jerome Johnson who pastored the church from 1957-1961. Denominational representative Rev. Mark Stromberg presented congratulations and a certificate. An anniversary photo and potluck followed.
Still upcoming is a June 25-26 reunion weekend, which will be held with festivities on both Saturday and Sunday. Past pastors and youth pastors will be returning along with alumni from both near and far. Call the church (320-354-2544) or check www.nlcovchurch.org for details as we get closer to the event.
On Sunday, Nov. 13, the congregation will celebrate its 125th Harvest Festival Event with a 70×7 reunion concert at 3 p.m., followed by a pie & ice cream social. The 70×7 singing group formed and sang throughout the New London area in the ’70s & ’80s and included many area voices, many of which will reunite for this event. The public is invited to all of these festivities!