Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In praise of preserving country churches July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:16 AM
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Moland Lutheran Church, a Norwegian Lutheran church south of Kenyon.

ONLY IN RECENT YEARS have I begun to truly appreciate the old churches that dot the Minnesota landscape, their steeples rising heavenward directing the faithful to worship.

Whenever the opportunity arises these days, I slip inside these reverent rural respites to reflect upon the holiness that resides therein. The more churches I visit, the more I am convinced of the necessity to preserve these houses of worship for future generations.

Not only do I treasure the sacred aspect of their existence—rooted deep in the faith of immigrants who settled this land—but I also value the art and the history woven into the very fabric of these buildings.

Whether in stenciled ceilings, hand-carved pulpits, worn floorboards, hand-hewn pews, religious paintings or stained glass windows, I see care, craftsmanship, devotion to God everywhere.

I am inspired and uplifted simply stepping inside the doors of a country church.

Join me on this tour of the 1884 Moland Lutheran Church south of Kenyon in rural Steele County and see for yourself why old country churches like this are worth appreciating, and preserving.

Looking into the sanctuary of Moland Lutheran Church.

Fine craftsmanship is reflected in the handcrafted pulpit, altar and railing.

Art in the details of the Moland pulpit.

The altar painting was transported to the church by horse-drawn wagon from Faribault in 1893. A. Pederson painted this image of "Christ with outstretched arms" based on Matthew 11: 28 - 30 ("Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest...").

Norwegian words (I think from Matthew 11) are painted on the altar.

Beautiful details on the bottom of Moland's altar remind me of the altar in the church I attended as a child, St. John's Lutheran in Vesta. Sadly that church was not preserved and is today an apartment building.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

(Check back for additional Moland Lutheran Church photos to be posted on Minnesota Prairie Roots.)

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