AXEL GABRIEL SPORRONG
This happened January 12, 1896. The pastors Bjork, Constantin Olson, and Michigan pastors were invited to the celebration together with three of the city's clergymen: Dr. Bradley, Pastors Kulp and Daniels. The dedication proper happened on Sunday p.m. when Americans were invited and the English language was used. This was a great occasion. The church was full of people as they congregated in their new, enjoyable sanctuary and could invite multitudes of people, who needed salvation and dedicate this building to the service for the gospel.
The church activity (verksamheten) continued quietly under the rest of Pastor Nyren's tenure. He was working actively also in song and music, led the string band and the choir after the choir leader, Mr. Rose, passed away. Pastor Nyren has served the church the longest here, nearly 8 years. Many people joined the church during this time. At the time of his leaving, the membership was 180. He was also chairman of the district society and did good work in that capacity. Also he edited a paper called "Missionsbladet" to serve the work here as well as to serve the work in the district. Pastor Nyren received a call to Cleveland, Ohio, and moved there November 13, 1901. He has served this church as a faithful watchman on "Zion's Walls" and his reward is waiting for a faithful worker.
After Nyren, Pastor A. Lidman was called but his answer was "no".
Then Pastor Axel Gabriel Sporrong was called from Sioux City, Iowa, who accepted the call on the promise, that he did not have to begin his service until after 6 months.
During Christmas season Professor A. W. Fredrikson (now President of North Park College) preached here after Pastor Nyren moved. Professor Fredrikson visited several times during the winter and the church appreciated him for the interest he showed the church during this waiting period. In the interim period, Pastor Gust Anderson from Elgin, Illinois, was called to serve during the months of March -August, 1902. Anderson, who is a good preacher, worked with success these 6 months and many people gathered to listen. Also, even during this time, a few joined the church. Pastor Anderson then moved to Calumet, Michigan.
The undersigned, (Axel Sporrang) moved here in the beginning of September 1902 and has, since that time, served the church as pastor. The Lord has even during this time redeemed many souls. Especially the first winter quite a few souls were won for Jesus of which many now are working for Him here and on other places. For the paying of the debt it has been determined, that this year the balance should be paid in full and celebrate 25 years jubilee. And now this goal has been reached. The church is debt free and, therefore, we can celebrate and thank the Lord. The church has also had other expenses. In 1903 a new piano was purchased and debt free. It cost $600 but it cost the church $400. Some smaller improvements were made also. Last year fire ladders were installed, new furnace was installed, and other repairs in the basement were made due to flooding. Last year a severe flooding took place March 25-31 when a great part of the city was under water. In certain places the water raised to 7-8 feet over the streets. The people had to flee in boats from houses and homes and leave everything. The city had, in one night, been converted to a "Venice" and boats were everywhere on the streets. The church was totally surrounded by water. On Sunday morning, where I used to stand and preach, I rowed by outside. We were outside to see if any of our friends needed help. Broadway was like a canal that had great traffic by boats.
Our friends, the Ahlbergs, in the church, got almost all their things destroyed. But no lives were lost.
The church has now new bylaws, which were accepted at last years annual meeting. The committee responsible for working on them consisted of: Pastor Sporrong, Nels Johnson, C. J. Lundgren, J. Tournell and Fred Landgren. Also the YPS has adopted new bylaws and underwent reorganization.
A new church book has been obtained and worked out. Visits by well-known church people see below.
LECTOR P. WALDENSTROM
This well-known churchman and professor from Sweden visited our church in November last year. He gave a lecture about Sweden in the church and on Sunday the church rented Powers Theater where he preached in the morning and the evening. It was perhaps the biggest congregation of Swedish people that ever congregated in Grand Rapids. A solemn and simple God's Word was preached by Lector Waldenstrom. He also visited Grand Rapids during his travel in America in 1889. Many of the preachers have visited our church during the years and preached the Word of reconciliation. And they have been welcome. "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings that publisheth peace! Nahum. 1:15
The church has been visited by singers also. Pastor Hultman has been here several times. The choir from the Lake View Church, Chicago, was here and had a songfest 1902. an amateur quartet from the Lake View church was here in 1904, and on July 4th the choir from north Chicago was also here this year. They gave songfests to benefit the young people's society and also sang on that Sunday. All those, choir and singers, have in a dignified and powerful way presented Christ and proclaimed the gospel through their songs. Yes, may the tones of the songs loudly reverberate to the honor of King Immanuel.
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