CONSTANTINE OLSON

CONSTANTINE OLSON

Born August 29, 1857 in Hammarö, Värmland, Sweden. He came to America in 1881. He enrolled in Chicago Theological Seminary in 1885 and completed his studies in 1890. He served the following congregations: The Free Mission Church, Brantford, Kansas 1882-85; Bethany Church in Chicago 1886-88; Grand Rapids, Michigan 1888-93; Lakeview, Chicago 1894-1901; Jamestown, New York 1901-1905.

To Pastor Staberg's successor was called Pastor Constantine Olson. He had graduated from Chicago Seminary in the spring of 1890 and took the place as pastor here June 11, 1890. Pastor Olson's time here was marked by steady growth of the church. Many souls were transferred from darkness to light and many of them are still active in the church in faith and enthusiasm. Many people attended the services during Pastor Olson's time. Especially the Sunday morning services were very well attended. The church members were usually to a man found in the Sunday morning services. The children stayed after the Sunday School and the women attended these meetings. Whole families could sit in one pew and take up all the space. The parents had the children around them. We mention this with both gladness and sorrow. With gladness because it was a beautiful part in the history of the church, sorrow because it is not so now. But even now there are beautiful exceptions and that is joyful. This time was also a time of ripening and upbringing for the church.

Pastor Olson's preaching was thorough and teaching for the church and his leading was sound. During his time a poor-fund (fattig-kassa) was started to help poor people. At that time a fund was also started as a building fund for a new church. This fund increased to $758. A committee was elected 1890 to look for a lot for a new church building. In 1891 the church got a chance to sell the church building, but it was decided not to sell at that time. Later, in 1892, it was decided to buy the lot on the corner of Scribner and First Street. But this decision was rescinded the next meeting and it was decided not to buy any lot for the time being. We see from the above that the church building question was discussed and prepared. In a way it was too bad that the congregation did not buy a corner lot somewhere at that time. During Pastor Olson's time a new constitution was developed and accepted. The committee that produced this document consisted of Pastor Olson, J. Rose and C. J. Lundgren. A sick help organization was also started and Pastor Olson was also a member of this committee. Also, Pastor Olson worked out a new church book. Another good and practical thing that was put into use was that the church was divided into five districts with one manager for each district. Now the finances are overseen by the district managers and a deacon takes care of the spiritual concerns in each district. When Pastor Olson left, there were somewhat over 140 members. He accepted a call from the Lakeview Covenant Church in Chicago where he moved in December 1893.

Just before Pastor Olson moved, the church experienced a deep sorrow. The angel of death had visited in two of the oldest families, in that both sisters, Mrs. Maria Anderson and Mrs. Anna Rose, and Rose's step-daughter, Mrs. Ella Lundberg, had gone home to their reward. Mrs. Rose died October 24, 1893 and the step-daughter November 15, 1893. These women seemed to have been real models of godliness and devotion for the Lord's cause. And their homes were a real Bethany for the Lord's poor servants. One hears often about Mrs. Rose and her work of love. This woman is worth a place of honor in the history of this church. She was with and took part with tears and sacrifice to lay the foundation of this church. May we remember those who have gone home before with thankfulness to God! May we follow their faith.

After Pastor Olson, Pastor C. W. Holm was called but he did not accept the call.

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