Calvary Lutheran's History Continued

Reverend Jensen was succeeded by Reverend John Kaale in 1920.  The pastor's salary was raised again that year to $150 per year plus the proceeds of three special offerings.  During this time, corresponding to similar movements throughout the country, the women of the congregation were granted the privilege of being able to vote in the business affairs of the congregation.  Reverend Kaale resigned his pastoral duties in 1921.  The Reverend A. L. Stowell was called to become the seventh pastor.  He made his home in Sandstone, the first pastor to do so since the formation of the two-point parish.  During his term as pastor, the congregation celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding.  Reverend Stowell resigned in 1928.

In 1928, Reverend J.A. Pederson was called to succeed Reverend Stowell.  It was during his term that the nation suffered through the period known as the Depression.  This area was not spared the hardship caused by the economic collapse of this country.  As donations dwindled, Reverend Pedersen did not receive sufficient salary to maintain rent payments.   He implored the congregation to try to build a small dwelling where he and his wife could live for the time being.  There were, at the time, three lots in the Southwest part of Mora that could be purchased for around $75.  The Ladies' Aid voted and agreed to pay for the purchase of the lots out of their treasury.  Materials were located and labor was provided to build a basement house on the site.  The Pederson family moved into the house and lived there until times improved so that a frame house could be built on the foundation.  It wasn't until 1954 that an addition costing $3,000 was added to the house which served as the parsonage until the early 1970's.

In 1933, an innovative method of envelope collection provided a basis for tithing and personal commitment with regard to one's benevolence to the church.  Another major change found the congregation voting to adopt English alternating with Norwegian as the language for worship and business.  The "younger generation" preferred English.  Business meetings and all evening services were to be held in English while Sunday morning worship services alternated between English and Norwegian.  The congregation had to incorporate under the Laws of Minnesota in 1933.  Doing so, they changed the name of the congregation to "Knife Lake Lutheran Church".  Reverend Pederson resigned his pastoral duties in the Spring of 1939.

A call was made to Reverence Clarence Larson.  He was a recent graduate of the Augsburg Seminary.   Reverend Larson was regarded as devout and organized.  Finding church records in some disarray, he collected current and accurate information from and about the congregation using the questionnaire format.  His organization and desire for accuracy formed the basis for good congregational management and information.  he assumed the role of pastor and held it until 1942 when he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Military Chaplain.

The Reverend Merton Strommen assumed pastoral duties in 1942 following the enlistment of Reverend Larson. Since Merton Strommen was still a student at Augsburg Seminary, he would arrive in Mora on Friday or Saturday to conduct his pastoral duties, returning back to the seminary and his studies on Monday mornings.  He continued this arduous schedule until his graduation in 1944 when he moved to Mora to continue on, now as a resident pastor. 

Changing times, the automobile, and a growing congregation forced the membership to consider their future as a "country" church versus moving into town.  Unlike the situation when building the original church, there was no on-going building fund, and, in a supreme test of faith, members discussed and finally voted to build a new church in town on the other two lots obtained at the time the parsonage was built.  Up to 1939, there had been considerable discussion on this issue of building a new church with many feeling that it was impossible to accomplish it with no "up-front" funds.  After numerous meetings and endless discussion, in 1939 the congregation voted and approved to sell the old church to the Grange and to move into Mora and build a new church.

The site, at the corner of Wood Avenue and Bean Street, right next to the parsonage, would showcase the new structure and the "new" name for the congregation was to become, "Calvary Lutheran Church!"  A building committee was elected consisting of Adolph Larson, James Brubakken, Ole Lee, Tilman Oien and Gustave Ugland.  The decision was made to construct  a frame building with a sandstone veneer exterior of 26 x 60 ft., with a 15 x 13 ft. entrance and a pastor's study.  Ivar Mathison was appointed to be the construction manager, and excavation for the basement foundation began in the late fall of  1939.  The sandstone pieces for the exterior veneer started to be hauled onto the building site about the same time.  Since the old church had been sold and was to occupied by the Grange, it was necessary for the congregation to find temporary quarters while the church was being built.  The community or meeting room at the Co-Op Creamery was secured for worship space during the building of the new church.

The spring of 1940 found basement footings, foundation and walls, as well as framing for the church auditorium progressing. On July 28, 1940, The Reverend H. C.Casperson conducted a cornerstone laying ceremony.  Later that fall, construction was far enough along so that the basement could be used for worship. 

Gordon Heim and Ken Nelson, congregational members who were young lads at the time remember several things about this exciting time.  Gordy remembers standing in the basement and being able to see over the walls, wondering how people were going to be able to get into a space with a ceiling that low.  He also remembers being chased off of the ceiling material covering the basement, being told that he was going to fall through and break his leg if he wasn't more careful.. Ken remembers some mischief involving himself and others throwing rocks, one of which went through a portion of a brand new stained glass window.  In addition to the "hot-seat" he got for his part in the mischief, he also had to help pay for the restoration of that window!  Much of the work was done by members, and the project was frequently held up by supply problems for construction and electrical materials as such were in short civilian supply because of the war effort.