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Fifty Years of the Word and Sacraments

Lu Murto, Hilma Lindberg, Ann Aho & Nestor Lannot

Paynesville Ev. Lutheran Church is 50 years old on Sept. 16, l957. September 8th was chosen for the day of its observance.

1903 is the year that the Paynesville area received its first known worship services. The Matt Ojala family, who had been a member of the Trout Creek congregation earlier, was one of the first families active in church work here.

In 1903-1905 the families of John Piri, Herman Hemming, Alex Lindberg, Matt Mattson, and Jaakko Keranen moved to Paynesville and consequently joined the small gathering. Whenever finances would allow, Rev. J. K. Lammi was called from Ishpeming to hold services for this pioneer group. Services were held in the Paynesville school. During this time Pastor Iisakki F. M. Katajamaa was also known to have held services in Paynesville.

At this time Falls Siding (Agate) and Paynesville decided to meet in one group. With this arrangement services were held once a month in the Finnish language. They worked together as one group until September 1907. As more Finnish people moved into Paynesville it was decided to separate from the Falls group and to found a separate congregation in Paynesville. The founding meeting was held on September 16, 1907. Pastor J. K. Lammi was the chairman and secretary of this meeting.

Some of the charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Alex Lindberg, Mr. and Mrs. John Piri, Mr. and Mrs. Jaakko Manty, Jaakko Keranen, and Matt Mattson. Not all the charter members are known for certain. The only living charter member is Mrs. Anna Piri, now living in Detroit, Michigan.

The congregation was incorporated through the Ontonagon office on April 21, 1909, The congregation was received as a member of the Lutheran Church - Suomi Synod on May 6, 1909.

In 1910 a secretary’s book was procured so from that year on we have more complete records. It is known, however, that Alex Lindberg served as vice-chariman of the congregation before 1910. From the outset until August 15, 1916 the congregation was served by the Ishpeming Parish. Later it became part of the Republic Parish of which it was a member until the founding of the Trout Creek Parish (Jan. 9, l927). The Trout Creek Parish was composed of Evangelical congregations of Covington, Trout Creek, Paynesville, North Bruce, and Ewen. Since then Covington has withdrawn.

The first clergy to serve Paynesville were pastors J. K. Lammi, A. Savola, K. L. Tolonen, and F. W. Saaranen; this was prior to 1912. Pastor Alvar Rautalahti began work in the congregation toward the end of 1912 and continued until August 15, 1916. In 1912 there were 120 members (58 confirmed).

During Pastor Rautalahti’s ministry and in the year l912, the congregation decided on the huge task of construction of a church building. Jaakko Manty was elected treasurer of the building fund. Donations amounting to $75 were received and it was with this amount that the congregation began to build a church. A committee composed of A1ex Lindberg, Gust Karjala and Jaakko Manty was picked to decide upon a location for the church. Aftar much study, land donated by Andrew Wierimaa was gratefully accepted as the site for the church. The construction of the church cost $1,339.17.

Some of the early officers of the church were Alex Lindberg, Matt Mattson, Arvid Hirvela, Jaakko Manty, Lembi Hemming, Saima Hirvela, Antti Wierimaa, John Piri, Antti Pelkola, Kusti Karjala, Matt Hautala, Job Murto, and Matt Teikari.

Pastor Alpo Setala served the congregation from Republic from 1916-1921. By 1924 the membership had grown to 223 (132 confirmed). From June 1927 to Oct. 1930 Pastor K. V. Mykkanen served the congregation. In January of 1931 the Trout Creek Parish received its first resident pastor, F. W. Kaskinen. The years of the balance of the resident Parish men is as follows:

Jan. 1931 to June 1936,

F. W. Kaskinen

July 1936 to June 1937,

Jacob Heikkinen

June 1937 to Aug. 1939,

F. W. Kaskinen

Oct. 1939 to Jan. 1943,

M. N. Joensuu

Jan. 1943 to Jan. 1945,

Otto E. Maki

May 1945 to Nov. 1952,

Arvo J. Korhonen

Aug. 1954 to ---

Leslie E. Niemi

It seems as the rural population rose and fell through the depression, post-depression, and World War II years, so also did the membership correspondingly. To indicate this note carefully the membership below:

1930

-

179

total,

110

confirmed

1935

-

210

"

159

"

1940

-

171

"

145

"

1945

-

130

"

105

"

1950

-

133

"

97

"

1956

-

161

"

103

"

The Ladies Aid (ompeluseura) was organized in 1912, when the women decided they could help their church and work for their Lord. Later the name was changed to "Betania Seura" (Bethany Circle).

The Sunday School was founded simultaneously with the forming of the congregation. Classes met at various homes and at the church. For many years the Finnish language was used in Sunday School instruction. At present school is held on Saturdays.

Summer schools were first held in 1918. At first it was held from 3 to 5 weeks and often the Finnish language was taught. Now it is known as Daily Vacation Bible School.

The Luther League was also formed at an early date. Boys and girls, upon being confirmed, became members of this League. It was through the efforts of the L.L. that the electric lights were installed in the church. In 1956, adjusting to the problems of a multiple parish, the League merged with First Lutheran’s League of Ewen.

In November of 1947, a group of young women of the church were called to a meeting at the Trout Creek Parsonage by Mrs. Arvo Korhonen for the purpose of forming a Guild, which was named the Priscilla Lutheran Guild. The charter members present were Mesdames Sadie Linna, Aili Manty, Gertrude Kaars, Ellon Kaars, Lu Murto, Eva Davis Kaudy, Ann Aho, Florence Kemppainen and Jennie Kemppainen. Meetings have been conducted once a month during those 10 years and consisted of business and program numbers. The Guild has served our Lord humbly, gratefully, prayerfully, and feel they have been truly blessed in all their endeavors.

The work of the early years was carried on entirely in the Finnish language. However, at present, the language is bilingual. There are two Finnish and two English worship services each month. In the work of the church we do not place one language above the other.

On September 15, 1955 the men’s Brotherhood was organized for the purpose of providings Christian fellowship, to enliven church consciousness, and to enrich the spiritual life of the individual. Charter members were: Bill Karjala, John Murto, Toivo Kaars, Yalmer Manty, Arne Teikari, Eli Kallio, Olaf Linna, Walter Aho, Jack Kaars, Melvin Manty, Arne Huhtala and Wilbert Teikari.

In the gathering of offerings the long-book (pitkäkirja) was first used whereby members would go from home to home collecting funds. Later, envelopes were introduced for worship services. In 1957 the congregation held its first Every Member Visitation and Pledge Campaign, which the Synod is promoting.

In January of 1956, another major addition was made to the church plant, the purchase of a new electric Wurlitzer organ, a $1,350.00 product. Marilyn Manty has been the church organist since 1954. Through her directorship the United Lutheran Choir was organized in 1955, composed of singers from the North Bruce and Paynesville congregations. Choir robes were purchased in 1956.

Such has been the work of Paynesville Ev. Lutheran Church. History always deals much with material things. Yet, may we never loose sight of the purpose for buildings, organs, books, auxiliary groups - the purpose is that the Gospel and the Sacraments might in a more effective way reach the needy the lost, the backslider, the sinner. Without the Word and the Sacraments, there can be no Church. May Paynesville Ev. Lutheran remain and become a more effective "workship" of God, a shining light in a dark, sinful world.

The pioneer congregation started in great faith in God to do the will of God, and made many provisions for the present generation, and those to come. Don't let them down, members of the church, and may your place never be vacant in the House of the Lord. Pray for your pastor and for others who labor in God's vineyard. Pray for the salvation and sanctification of all the members of your local congregation. Remember also the needs of the church at large.

The Committee on History
Lu Murto, chairman
Hilma Lindberg
Ann Aho
Nestor Lannot.

Published in Jubilee Book. The Fiftieth Anniversary of Paynesville Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, Paynesville, Michigan. 1907-1957, p. 7-17, 1957.

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