Fish Lake Lutheran celebrating 150-year anniversary

An old photo of the Fish Lake Lutheran Sanctuary in Harris. These are the spiritual leaders of the church, from its inception to the present. These gravestones of two Civil War Veterans are located in the cemetery at Fish Lake Lutheran Church in Harris. Fish Lake Lutheran Church in Harris. The Fish Lake Lutheran Church Rev. Pastor Amanda Applehans is the 17th pastor at Fish Lake Lutheran Church. The pipe oOrgan at Fish Lake Lutheran Church has that has been there since 1906.
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These gravestones of two Civil War Veterans are located in the cemetery at Fish Lake Lutheran Church in Harris.

The year of 2017 is a time of celebration for the congregation at Fish Lake Lutheran Church in Harris. The church is having a special anniversary few have seen, as its 150years of worship started in 1867.
The Rev. C.A. Henegran began the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Fish Lake by having worship services in homes. By 1868, services were being held in the Fish Lake School House. Two years later, the congregation was given 40 acres of land from the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railway Co. to build a new church. In 1873, construction on the church began, and two years later the building was complete.
The church experienced struggles throughout the years. In 1886, it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The church was rebuilt on the same site and has stood for 131 years. One Easter Sunday in the early 1960s, the church experienced a chimney fire in the parish hall. In1965, the congregation dedicated a new church basement in place of the parish hall.
When church membership was down, the building was modified by closing off the balcony and dropping the ceiling to save money on heating costs. When the congregation started to grow again, the church was completely renovated in 1998 back to match the original 19th century balcony and cathedral ceiling. The last renovation was in 2001, when the church exterior was repainted.
The Young People’s Society, a nondenominational evangelical group, donated money to the church in 1906 for the purchase of a new pipe organ. The cost was $1,200. It was originally installed in the balcony. In 1939, it was moved to the main floor because the church was wired for electricity. The pipe organ was restored in 1993 by Steve Lethert. It was tuned, the front pipes were repainted and parts were repaired.
“There are only three pipe organs in the country like the one that we have in our church,” said the Rev. Amanda Applehans, Fish Lake Lutheran’s pastor.
The church has seen 16 spiritual leaders come and go throughout the 150 years. Applehans took the call from Fish Lake Lutheran in February 2016.
“The 25th of June we are having a ‘Coming Home Celebration,’” she said. “All of the old pastors and pastors from other congregations who grew up here are coming back to help celebrate this special anniversary.”
The 150th anniversary kicked off Feb. 19 with a rededication worship service at Fish Lake Lutheran. The service was a traditional, old-style service.
“The anniversary celebration this June will also consist of a guided tour of the cemetery, which has a few notable things that are out there, including two gravestones of Civil War veterans,” Applehans said.
Other notable events for the celebration include period games for the children and tours of the church and sanctuary with special points of interest.
Closing out the anniversary year, the Swedish Men’s Choir, which has a long history with the church, will perform a special concert Oct. 1.
For more information on Fish Lake Lutheran Church and its anniversary, go to www.fishlakelutheran.org.

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