FRANK AUGUST STABERG
One half year after the dedication of the church, the first permanent pastor, Frank August Staberg, was installed. He was pastor before in Lockport and Joliet churches from which he was called. He started his work here in 1884. Now the work went steadily forward. Attendance increased considerably especially Sunday evenings. Quite a few souls were saved during Pastor Staberg's time.
During the year 1888 quite a few souls knelt at the foot of the cross and were saved. Some of them, who were saved during Pastor Staberg's ministry, are still active in the church work. The immigration of the Swedes continued and the number of the Swedes increased, some of them were believers, and their numbers increased in the church. Pastor Staberg worked faithfully and with enthusiasm both through preaching as well as house calls and private visits. His preaching was warm and hearty. He had a quiet personality and was a peaceful man. He has sown a good seed in this church that has shown and will show good harvests. In 1888, Pastor Staberg started a Young People's Society and was its first leader. Numbers of the members of the church at the time Pastor Staberg left may have been about 80. He moved in 1889 to Florence, Wisconsin and from there to Bethlehem, Nebraska in 1891 where he worked until he had to close his faithful service and walk into his Lord's glory October 28, 1902, 51 years old. And he was literally in his MASTER'S service when he took sick. At that time he was on a missionary trip in Texas. He passed away 9 days after he came home. As he came home he said to his wife: "Mama, I have just come home to die with you." He laid down quietly and talked to his savior and fell "asleep" peacefully. Pastor Staberg sometimes often, with his sensitive mind, "sowed with tears". And even in Grand Rapids he did not always have sweet experiences but it was, in many respects, a trying time for him. But the Lord has taken him away from everything and home to rest. In kalendem "Aurora" for 1904 someone wrote of him: "As a person Staberg was a sincere, God-fearing and peaceful man. His preaching was evangelic and sweet and especially edifying for God's children. He had to suffer many trials, especially during his first time of activity in America, but he carried every thing with patience. Brother Staberg was a quiet man. His troubles he carried usually by himself to God."
With this jubilee his place is empty. As we celebrate as well as we can in the church victorious, he is celebrating in the triumphant church. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." Daniel 12:3 To the church we will give this proverb: "Think about your leaders who have spoken God's Word to you and follow their faith watching what result their association had. Be obedient to and listen to your leaders because they watch over your souls as they have to give account of them, that they may do this with gladness and not with sighing because that is not useful for you." Hebrews 13:17 Peace over his memory! The church has invited Pastor Staberg's wife to be here for this jubilee. He has then a representative here.
After Staberg came O. Hogfeldt, now editor for "Missions-Vannen" (Covenant newspaper, Chicago) called to be pastor. He accepted the call but when he was called back to the editors desk, and felt drawn to that work, he let the church decide if they would free him from the call and acceptance. This was done May 3, 1890. In the meantime, the church was serviced by a young preacher who just came from Sweden, which Hogfeldt sent up here. This man was Nyren who later put in many years as pastor of this church. Nyren worked first few months with life, power and success and won everybody's love and acceptance. He moved from here to Oakland, California.
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