Bergen Lutheran Church
Bergen was organized in 1872 by Norwegian immigrants. The story below was written by the late Monroe Rachie for the 100 year celebration in 1972.
It was on a May morning in 1872, while at Willmar for a load of merchandise for his store in Stony Run Township, that K. E. Neste met the Reverend L. J. Markus, pastor at Norway Lake, and told him of the many Norwegian settlers in his home community who were without a church. Early the next morning, after much urging on the part of Mr. Neste, the Rev. L. J. Markus climbed into the loaded Neste wagon and the two men made the long, sixty-mile trek back to Stony Run. It was midnight when they reached their destination. Leaving the unhitching of the horses and the unloading of the wagon to others, Knute E. Neste mounted another horse and rode to the farm of the Thomton brothers to enlist their help in notifying the settlers that a pastor had come and that there would be services the next morning at ten o’clock in the log cabin of Rasmus Knutson Hoialman, whose cabin was the largest building in the community.
Those couriers spent most of the night riding from one cabin to the next and they did their work well for, when ten o’clock came the next morning, the Hoialman farmyard was filled with vehicles, horses, oxen, while the house itself overflowed with people. The men had to give up their places to the women and children and join the bellowing oxen in the yard. It was such a scene that met the eyes of the Rev. L. J. Markus when he arrived to preach. In an attempt to make his words reach all the men and women, Pastor Markus delivered his sermon from the cabin doorway, but, as the pioneers afterward related, the women and children benefited most as the voice of the preacher could not compete with the bellowing of the oxen tied to the wagons in the farmyard. (You can read more about Bergen by clicking on the link below for the 150 Year History Book.)
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