Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part II: The detailed craftsmanship of Holden Lutheran Church April 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Holden Lutheran Church, rural Kenyon, Minnesota.

Holden Lutheran Church, rural Kenyon, Minnesota.

IT IS THE DETAILS, always the details, that define a place, a person, a whatever. In long-standing country churches, especially, detailed craftsmanship prevails.

The sanctuary as photographed from the balcony.

The sanctuary as photographed from the balcony.

Craftsmanship and beauty at the altar.

Craftsmanship and beauty at the altar.

This glorious Easter themed window shines above the altar.

This glorious Easter themed window shines above the altar.

Looking from the front of the sanctuary to the rear and the balcony.

Looking from the front of the sanctuary to the rear and the balcony.

Holden Lutheran Church, rural Kenyon, Minnesota, is a prime example with countless stained glass windows, handcarved wood and chiseled stone. I can imagine the rough hands of a Norwegian farmer, the calloused hands of a bricklayer, the creative hands of an artist shaping this church into this glorious house of worship.

I assume this is an original vintage light suspended in the sanctuary.

I assume this is an original vintage light suspended in the sanctuary.

I wonder, though, did long ago parishioners form committees, as Lutherans are wont to do, or did they simply do what needed to be done? The current congregation has several committees, including a Property Management Committee.

Look at the details of three distant crosses in this snippet of a stained glass window.

Look at the detail of three distant crosses in this snippet of a stained glass window.

However Holden evolved, I am impressed, as I often am, by the efforts entailed in building a structure like this for $56,687 in 1924 without modern day tools and equipment. How did they do it? Hard work and determination, I expect.

Gravestones bear many Norwegian names.

Gravestones bear many Norwegian names.

It takes a lot of money to sustain and improve such a massive structure and to pay the heating and other bills. That Holden continues to do so reveals faithfulness, tenacity and a determined spirit that traces to the Norwegian immigrants who founded this congregation.

Confirmation photos hang above a history timeline.

Confirmation photos hang above a history timeline.

History remains an integral part of Holden as evidenced in a time-line posted inside the church and in photos displayed.

Hanging from the pulpit.

The art of a seamstress hangs from the pulpit.

This bible, lying open on the lectern, was turned to

This bible, lying on the lectern, is open to Proverbs 6 – 8.

I photographed this counted cross-stitch art in the church basement. It seems especially fitting for this rural region of Minnesota.

I photographed this counted cross-stitch art in the church basement. It seems especially fitting for this rural region of Minnesota.

Details, too, still matter. One need only look to see them. It is the details, always the details, that define a place like Holden Lutheran Church.

A simple banner message for those exiting the church entry to the south.

A simple banner message for those exiting the church to the south.

FYI: Click here to read my first post on Holden.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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10 Responses to “Part II: The detailed craftsmanship of Holden Lutheran Church”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Another lovely church post to start my day. Thank you.

  2. Jackie Says:

    I could gaze for hours at the detail, and this church seems to have much of that as you have shown in your post. I love when I find an open bible, and I always look to see what it is open to. I especially love the balcony, so beautiful. I wonder if they have a choir that sings from there or if it is just for seating.

  3. Oh my goodness!!! The outside of the building and the inside balcony looks almost identical to the church I grew up in.

  4. Gunny Says:

    There is beauty in many things that are created by people (and by God). The most “beautiful” (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) are the things that bear the marks of a true “craftsman” who pays attention to the “little” details. Often these details are missed until long after the initial observation. Beautiful things do not need a lot of detail, just a lot of attention to the one’s that are there.


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