The old Swedish hymn, “Children of the Heavenly Father,” will likely be part of the repertoire when the Gustavus Adolphus College Choir performs its Palm Sunday concert at Chisago Lake Lutheran Church, Center City, on April 1.
The 2 p.m. performance in this 158-year-old Swedish church will be a part of the Choir’s Midwest tour commemorating the sesquicentennial anniversary of the 150-year-old college located at Saint Peter. Of special importance to the Center City congregation will be knowledge that the College’s 1862 founder was Rev. Dr. Erik Norelius who, as a 17-year-divinity student, preached and taught Swedish school at Chisago Lake in 1854 before leaving to charter other Lutheran congregations as well as the college.
Descendants of the late Dr. Norelius still live in the Chisago Lakes community as do ancestors of some of the 17 original Swedish emigrants who tramped through unbroken forests to find their way from Taylors Falls to Ki-chi-saga, the Chippewa name for Chisago Lake, in the spring of 1851. The little colony became the first permanent Swedish settlement in Minnesota Territory, and Chisago Lake Church the second chartered Lutheran congregation with First Lutheran in St. Paul being the first.
Gustavus alumni will sponsor a reception for the choir, alumni, and the public immediately following the concert. The Church is located at 1 Summit Avenue, Center City.