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Historical Sketch [Zion Lutheran Church, Metropolitan, Michigan]

The history of our Zion Lutheran Church reveals to us the work of God among us during these fifty years, because the Church of Jesus Christ is found wherever the Word of God is preached and the sacraments are administered according to the will and institution of Christ.

Fifty years ago on the 21st of August our Zion Lutheran Church was organized by Pastor Carl P. Edblom. According to the "Minnesalbum" of the 25th Anniversary of our church, at least ten years before the organization, pastors visited Metropolitan occasionally and preached the word to the settlers that had come from the Scandinavian countries. We certainly are thankful to the Lord for the work done by the Zion Lutheran Church in our community during the past half-century through the grace of our heavenly Father and through the faithful work of the pastors and students that have served this church. Speaking to Moses of the fiftieth year of jubilee among His people, God promised them the following: "I will set up my dwelling in your midst and be your God, while ye shall be My people." Truly God has set up His dwelling in our midst through His Church. Truly it can be said, that He is our God and we His people.

Those present at the meeting of organization of our church were: Mr. and Mrs. Erik Skog, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Nygren, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Wickman, their sons Andrew and John and daughter Anna Louisa, Mr. and Mrs. John Davidson, Mr. and Mrs. John Anderson Fors, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Willman, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Blomquist, Mr. and Mrs. John Blomquist, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Sundstrom, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Forsman, Mr. Andrew Mattson Slange, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Backlund, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Sundquist, Mr. and Mrs. Jakob Nyman, and Mr. and Mrs. Leander Nyland.

The following charter members are still living: Mr. and Mrs: John Davidson, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Willman, Mr. Alfred Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Matt Blomquist, Mr. John Blomquist, Mr. Matt Sandstrom, and Mrs. Brita Anderson. Andrew Wickman, John Wickman, and Mrs. Anna. L. Willman.

At the above mentioned organization meeting the constitution of the Augustana Synod was adopted. The following were elected deacons and trustees: Matt Wickman, Andrew Backlund, John Anderson, John Davidson, Erik Skog, and Andrew Willman, deacons; Erik Skog, Andrew Willman, Alfred Anderson, Andrew Backlund, and Jacob Nyman, trustees. It was also decided to hold the annual meeting on the first Tuesday after the first Sunday in June. All men over eighteen were entitled to vote. Mr. Alfred Anderson was elected "klockare," or song leader.

The first. church building was erected in 1900 and dedicated on the 24th of July of that year. In 1901 the church was incorporated under the laws of the State of Michigan.

As the people settled in Metropolitan, the congregation grew and the need was felt for a larger edifice. At the annual meeting in 1907 a decision was made to construct a new church building. It was completed and dedicated to the work of God in the fall of the same year. The entire cost was $3,587.43, and according to old records $2,442.55 was raised by voluntary gifts and labor during the progress of the construction.

The parsonage was built in 1909, costing $2,610.28.

That year Pastor K. M. Holmberg arrived to become the first resident pastor of the church. During his years of service from 1909 to 1912 the work of the church prospered and the congregation grew.

Pastor Herman Anderson was here but a short time, from June 1913 to September 1914. While he was here the hot-water furnace was installed in the parsonage. Those who were young people at that time remember lovingly Pastor Anderson's interest in their welfare and his organization of and participation in recreation for those of Luther League age.

At the annual meeting of 1915 the congregation extended a call to Pastor B. E. Walters, who had served as student pastor, to, be its shepherd. He accepted the call and began his work here in May 1915, remaining until October, 1922. The congregation increased in membership from 182 to 300 communicant members. Pastor Walters served here during the 25th Anniversary and was largely responsible for the renovation of the church property.

In the summer of 1920 the church was raised and a basement built under the entire building. Furthermore, art-glass windows were put in, and the entire church and parsonage were fresco-painted. The expenditure was $5,517.87. It might not be amiss to mention those inscriptions in Swedish which have adminished us so many years: To the left, "Hear, that your soul may live;" to the right, "Praise the Lord with harps;" and above the altar, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world." Upon leaving the church the words above the door have reminded us that "Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it."

At the extra meeting of the congregation on the 13th of June, 1923, George A. Ostergren was called to become pastor after his ordination. He began his ministry that month and remained until October, 1926. Pastor Ostergren was an eloquent speaker and a fine musician.

The following year Pastor Frank E. Peterson received and accepted a call to serve this church, and in May 1927 he began his labors among us. To Pastor Frank Peterson goes the distinction of the longest period of service, ten years. During his ministry the depression came and its effect was keenly felt among us. Not much could be done in the way of needed reparation of the church property, but the church was re-wired and equipped with new lights when the electric power company ran their line to our community. During Pastor Peterson's ministry the Luther League was still one of the largest and most active organizations of the church, as the young people had not yet begun their trek to the city in search of employment. Pastor Peterson was especially interested in the young people and instrumental in getting members of the League to attend summer Bible Camps.

The congregation was without a resident pastor until Pastor Bernt G. Johnson came to Metropolitan in the summer of 1939 and remained until June 1942. Before his arrival the parsonage was modernized, a bathroom and a hot-water system were installed. Later a new furnace and a stoker were added. Improvements were also made at the church. New sidewalks and steps were constructed. Hardwood flooring was laid in the chancel and new altar vestments were purchased. As Pastor Johnson had just returned from serving on the mission field in Africa before coming here, he emphasized that phase of Christianity and awakened a greater missionary interest in the congregation. A well-organized choir, under the leadership of Mrs. Johnson, gave added dignity and reverence to the worship service.

In 1941 Zion Lutheran petitioned the Conference to be transferred from the Green Bay District to the Iron Mountain District. With modern highways and mode of travel, it was felt that we were closer to the Iron Mountain District. Pastor Johnson was succeeded by Pastor C. Pontus Peterson, who arrived in November, 1942 to begin his service as pastor. The entrance of our country into the war the following month an dthe subsequent calling into its service of many of our young men and a few of our women, has been very noticeable in its effect upon our church attendance. Although services are very well attended, there is an absence of young people, for many who are not in the armed forces are employed in war industries that take them away from our community. Our prayers for the safety and safe return of thes absent ones rise daily to the throne of grace.

A Service Honor Roll is being prepared to remember these service men and women who are members of our church, or whose parents or family are members of our church.

On the 21st of March, 1943 a new Gulbransen electric organ was purchased and later in the same year a Magnatone amplifier was added. The old organ replaced the worn-out one in the basement assembly room. Funds for the organ were solicited during the summer and the contributions largely covered the cost.

Work has been begun on the restoration of ahe church property that it may be in a presentable condition for the 50th Anniversary. Last year the building was insulated, and eaves-troughs added to the building to correct drainage defects. At this writing the assembly-room and the kitchen have been re-plastered and painted, and further repair work is going on. If labor and materials are available, the entire building will be re-decorated. Contributions to the 50th Anniversary Appeal should cover these expenditures, and we, as a Congregation, wish to thank all who have remembered Zion Lutheran with gifts.

During these fifty years quite a few have served the congregation for shorter or longer periods as vice-pastors and students. The pastors are: C. P. Edblom, Augustus Nelson, Philip Thelander, A. J. Malmquist, C. A. Lund, G. S. Olson, Vernon Ryding, and Herman Soderberg. Following are the students: Gustaf Bergman, C. E. Lundgren, C. E. Olsson, Gustaf Oberg, Carl J. Silfversten, B. E. Walters, K. M. Holmberg, J. A. Samuelson, Herman Anderson, Elof Peterson, Nimrod Ebb, C. S. Olson, C. Eckstrom, Lawrence Nordstrom, George Ostergren, and Yngve Nelson.

As we write the history of our church we would also remember the wives of the pastors who have served here and their work amongst us. They have all been diligent laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, and we appreciate their work, especially their contributions to the various organizations of the church.

This summary of 50 years is necessarily brief, - it tells nothing of the obstacles overcome and the hardiness of those pioneers of our community who felt the need of the Church in their midst. It reveals nothing of the steadfastness of those members who have worshipped in this churcl these many years and have been willing to sacrifice to keep the doors of. this church open. There are many things that cannot be written, but are remembered only in the hearts of those who have lived and served here. We think for a moment of all those who have left us to join the Church Triumphant. May God bless their memory among us.

After this backward glance, in all humbleness let each one of us re-dedicate himself to the service of the Master and seek to further His Cause wherever he may go. With gratitude to God who has led us this far, let us look forward to greater service in the future and pray for God's continued blessing and guidance.

The Ladies' Aid Society

The Ladies' Aid Society is probably the most active society of the church as well as one of the oldest. Pastor J. A. Brodeen conducted the organization meeting in 1896. At that time, as at the present, the society met on Wednesday afternoon either in the homes of the hostesses or in the church parlor.

Years ago the ladies sewed or knit at their gatherings and then sold these articles at auctions, but this custom is no longer followed. Instead, a program, largely devotional, follows the business meeting. Both Swedish and English are used. The president presides at the meetings, which she usually opens with Scripture reading, explanation, and prayer. Our Pastor either gives a devotional talk or conducts a question and answer lesson on the Catechism or the Bible. Members and guests often take part with readings, recitation, and songs. Lunch and a social hour follow the program. A free-will offering is lifted.

There has never been a membership list of the Ladies' Aid, but most of the women of the congregation are more or less active participants. An average of fifty women attend each meeting.

Besides the regular meetings the society usually has several extra meetings during the year when the entire congregation is invited. During the past few years, ice-cream socials; Smorgasbord, and Thanksgiving services have been well attended.

The Ladies' Aid has largely taken the lead in obtaining a Service Honor Roll, after the initial step was taken by one of the Gold Star mothers.

Last year the society contributed over $800 to the Church treasury, besides other contributions, such as to the Red Cross, Luther Home, etc.

Present officers are: President, Mrs. Carl A. Carlson; Vice-President, Mrs. Carl P. Peterson; Secretary, Mrs. William Timmer; Treasurer, Mrs. Lawrence LaLonde.

Woman's Missionary Society

According to the minutes of the organization meeting, the Metropolitan Mission and Tract Society was organized on October 23, 1910. Pastor K. M. Holmberg presided at the first meeting and was the first president. There was a charter membership of 31, 15 men and 16 women.

Of the 16 women charter members the following are still active: Mrs. Alex Mattson, Mrs. Matt Blomquist, Mrs. Hanna Skog, and Mrs. Ida Blomquist. Charter members who have died in recent years are Mrs. John Blomquist, Mrs. Alfred Anderson, Mrs. Andrew Rian, Mrs. Martin Rian, and Mrs. Sofia Lundquist.

The women's dues were sent to the Woman's Missionary Society of the Augustana Synod, as the Superior Conference was not organized until 1914. Mrs. B. E. Walters was the first woman to serve as president in 1916, which seems to indicate that the society became affiliated with the Superior Conference that year.

Through the thirty-five years of its existence the society has always tried to kindle and keep alive the spirit of missions in our congregation, realizing that a church that is not mission-conscious is not truly Christian.

Although many members have been lost through change of residence, and others have passed to their eternal reward, and a few have lost interest in the missionary cause, we have experienced a steady growth through the years. We would commend those faithful members who, having once joined the Woman's Missionary Society have remained active members year after year.

At the present time the society numbers thirty. Regular monthly meetings are held. The following are the present officers: Mrs. Edward E. Blomquist, President; Mrs. Elvar Anderson, Vice-President; Mrs. Ina Anderson, Secretary; Mrs. George Nygard, Treasurer; Mission-Tidings Secretary, Mrs. Renald Solberg.

Contributions for last year were the highest of any year, and we hope that is an indication of greater zeal for the cause of missions at home and abroad. "The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few."

Lutheran Brotherhood

The Lutheran Brotherhood, which we hope will embrace all the men of the congregation, is the most-recently organized society. The need for an organization of the laymen of our church has been recognized for a long time, and several attempts have been made to effect such an organization but without much success. In May of 1945, however, the men of the congregation met with Pastor Peterson, and organized the present Lutheran Brotherhood. The following men were elected to head the new Brotherhood:

President: Clarence Blomquist; Vice-President, Harry Davidson; Secretary, Theodore Anderson; Treasurer, Renald Solberg.

Regular meetings have been held each month with an increasing attendance. We sincerely hope and pray that the men of Zion Lutheran may become more conscious of the ideals and aims of the Brotherhood, so that this organization may take its rightful place of leadership.

Sunday School

The founders of our church realized the importance of child-instruction and started a Sunday School early in the history of the church. At first the children gathered in the homes, but no reports were kept and there is no record of the number of children or instructors. The Felch Sunday School, which meets at the Felch school, was organized in 1913 with John J. Ovist as its first superintendent. The present superintendent, Mr. John V. Sundstrom, has served in that capacity since 1915, and has taught Sunday School since 1910.

In 1921, 118 children were enrolled in the Sunday School at church and 55 at Felch. There were 22 instructors and most of the instruction was in the Swedish language.

At the present time forty children attend our Metropolitan Sunday School, and twenty-two the Felch. Mr. Theodore Anderson is Superintendent at Metropolitan. He is assisted by the following teachers: Mr. Charles Solberg, Mr. William T. Blomquist, Miss Jeanine Solberg, Mrs. Harry Davidson, and Mrs. Edward E. Blomquist. At the Felch Sunday School the teachers, besides Mr. John V. Sundstrom, are: Mrs. Renald Solberg, Mrs. Verna Gaynor, Miss Eleanor Isaacson, Miss Ruth Ellen Solberg, Miss Joyce Isaacson, and Mrs. Edwin Oman,

Felch Sunday School

The new Christian Growth Series is used as a basis for instruction. One Sunday a month both Sunday Schools unite in a regular morning worship. The purpose of this service is to bring children to church that otherwise would not come, and to acquaint the children with our church liturgy and order of worship. The attendance at these services has been very gratifying and a marked improvement in participation and knowledge of our order of service has been shown.

All of our children are enrolled in the Junior Mission Society. One Sunday a month is Junior Mission day when a missionary program takes the place of the regular opening exercise.

The Metropolitan Sunday School teachers meet regularly once a month for discussion and Bible study. Occasionally they are joined by the Felch Sunday School teachers, especially when there are questions of mutual interest to be discussed.

Once a year the Sunday Schools sponsor the annual congregatoinal picnic at Norway Lake. Morning worship service is conducted in the beautiful temple of nature. Family groups gather for picnic dinners and then enjoy the fellowship of neighbors, friends, and guests. Many refresh themselves by a cooling dip in the lake or go for a boatride on its surface. Afternoon refreshments, coffee, ice-cream, and pop are served. Some years the day is brought to a peaceful close with a sunset vesper service whose beauty and tranquillity lingers long in the hearts of the participants.

The importance of the Sunday School in the future welfare of the church cannot be over-emphasized. It would be well for parents to be more interested in their children's spiritual welfare, and the prayers of all should continually remember our children and the teachers of the Sunday School.

Luther League

Early records of the Luther League are not available, but according to the 25th Anniversary Book, the Luther League was organized by theological student K. M. Holmberg on August 13, 1908. Charter members were: John Johnson, Andrew Johnson, Joel Newman, Andrew Mattson, John Sundquist, Hilda Wickman, Ida Wickman, Ida Forsman, Hilda Sundquist, Jenny Jacobson, Lisa Jacobson, Anna Rian, and Bertha Skog.

The aim of the Luther League as expressed in Pastor Holmberg's 15th Anniversary history was that through God's grace and guidance, the League would be of service and for the welfare of the young people and of the church as a whole.

At the time of our 25th Anniversary there were eighty-five active members. The League met every other Saturday evening, besides sponsoring special programs and activities, such as the Thanksgiving festivals, and the New Year's Wake.

In recent years the membership of the Luther League has greatly decreased because our young people must leave our commupity to seek employment. A large number of our young men, and a few of our young women, are serving our country. They are scattered over the globe, and are greatly missed here at home.

Present membership is thirty-five. Though fewer in number, our aims still. remain the same: that our League may be of service to our young people, our church, and our God. This year's officers are: President, Jeanine Solberg, Vice-President, Ruth Ellen Solberg; Secretary, Joyce Isaacson; Treasurer, Betty Ruth Davidson.

Last year the League entertained the Iron Mountain District League for the first time. They have sponsored two candle-light services for our boys and girls in the armed forces. They have tried to arouse interest in the Fortune Lake Bible Camp and have had representatives there each summer.

May God bless the service of the Luther League that its members may be kept faithful to Christ and zealous for the work of the church whever they may go.


Visitors to Zion Lutheran Church through these many years have often remarked about the congregational singing. As one pastor remarked, "They sing as if their heart and soul were in it." There may not be much of the classical or of the perfectly-sung songs, but there is an appreciation of good music and a love for the old hymns, both Swedish and English. To hear the three-fold "Amen" ring out at a morning worship is a thrill to the soul.

This inspired singing can probably be attributed to the leadership of those men who in 1905 organized the Male Choir, the oldest musical organization of our church. Student Gustav Oberg was its first director, and since he left Mr. Alfred Anderson has been the director. The original members were Alfred Anderson, John Blomquist, Jonas Blomquist, Jacob Blomquist, Alex Mattson, Matt Blomquist, and Matt Ovist. Two of this group have passed away, namely, Jacob Blomquist and Matt Ovist. Matt Blomquist resigned shortly after the organization. During the past year Mr. Alex Mattson has not been able to take active part because of ill health. At the present time the Choir numbers five. Three of the original members are still active though well advanced in years, Mr. Alfred Anderson, who is 82 years old, Mr. John Blomquist, 74, and Jonas Blomquist, 71. The other two present members, Iver Blomquist and William A. Blomquist, have been singing with the Choir for over twenty-five years. For special occasions other men have added their voices to that of the Men's Choir. It is hoped that younger men will come forward to take the place of the older ones as they are forced to retire.

Back in 1910, Mrs. K. M. Holmberg directed the first mixed choir which sang during festive occasions and holiday seasons of the year. This practice was continued until 1928, when Pastor Frank E. Peterson organized a choir that sang every Sunday for morning service and on special occasions. In 1940 Mrs. Bernt G. Johnson, with her special capacity for choir directing and musical ability, organized a choir of eighteen members, which practiced aid sang faithfully. On Palm Sunday of that year, the choir presented a concert, wearing their robes for the first time. The choir took active part in the massed choir, directed by Dr. Bostrom, at Fortune Lake Bible Camp. They also sang at the Reformation services in the First Lutheran Church in Iron Mountain. Concerts were also given at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Quinnesec and at the Covenant Church, Foster City. Receipts from these concerts and from the Birthday Fund paid for the robes.

At the present time most of our young men are in the service and the young women are employed in the cities, so it is difficult to maintain a choir. There is also the added difficulty of transportation for meeting for regular rehearsal. But a small group of women, who have at some time or other sung in the choir, has been singing occasionally, and for special occasions they have been assisted by the remaining men members of the choir.

It is high time that recognition was paid that faithful servant, the church organist. Regardless of the weather or personal whim, the organist must be at her place and on time. The following have served as organists in our church: Miss Ida Forsman, Mrs. Lydia Blomquist, Miss Ellen Anderson, Mrs. Renald Solberg, Mrs. Edwin Anderson, and Miss Betty Lou Isaacson. Several others have contributed their services as part-time organists from time to time.

May the songs and music of the worshippers of Zion Lutheran long continue to a ascend in praise and prayer to God in heaven.

Odds and Ends

Zion Lutheran Chureh was organized as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church August 31, 1895, and incorporated January 29, 1901.

First Confirmation Class was in 1893.

The oldest confirmed member is Mrs. Anna L. Wickman Willman, class of 1894.

The 1934 Confirmation Class, 36 members was the largest.

The first Luther League Convention was August 12-14,1916.

The Church Park was acquired in 1917.

Alfred Anderson, who will be 83 years old, August 26, is the oldest member of our church.

Alfred Anderson, John Blomquist, and Matt Blomquist, all charter members. have served on the Board of Administration almost continuously since its organization.

The first district meeting was held here July 24-25, 1900.

According to the financial secretary's records, there are 263 members, and 79 children of these members.

Names most numerous are Blomquist - 43, Wickman - 32, Johnson - 29, Anderson - 26, Isaacson - 21, and Mattson - 18.

Pictures for our Anniversary Book were taken on Midsummer's Day, 1945, by Mr. Marshall of the Northway Studio, Iron Mountain.

The following Pastors' children were born here: Frances and Dorothy Holmberg; Dorothea Anderson; Luther, Carl, and Martin Walters; twins Bertil and Gunnar, and Leonard Ostergren; Marilyn Peterson; Charlotte and Stanley Johnson.

Sten Walton Johnson, son of Pastor and Mrs. Bernt G. Johnson, met an accidental death here November 6, 1939.

Our present pastor and his wife have three children Gastav, who is married and lives in Minnesota; Ebba, who taught school in Hartford, Connecticut last year; and Ruth, who completed her third year at Gustvus Adolphus College in June.

All of the pastors who have served here as resident pastors are living, except Pastor B. E. Walters, who passed away some years ago in Kermin, California.

Pastor George Ostergren is an Army Chaplain, serving in the South Pacific, so he is unable to be with us at our Anniversary Festival. Pastor Herman Anderson, Bristol, Nebraska, had planned to attend, but was prevented from so doing because of reservation difficulties.

Joel Johnson, our janitor; has served in that capacity for at least ten years. He is especially helpful when there is something special going on, and we appreciate his efforts.

In 1944 the Ladies' Aid had 45 meetings. Their receipts for the year were $803.45. Sixty-six women were active participants.

Pledges to the Synodical Centennial Fund were $2,087.50, of which $1,697.50 has been paid to date.

50th Anniversary Thankoffering Pledges totaled $2,389. A sincere thanks to all donors!

The following have served as a committee of preparation for the 50th Anniversary Celebration and of this booklet: Pastor C. P. Peterson, Mr. John Blomquist, Mr. Theodore Anderson, Mr. Paul Blomquist, Mrs. Ina Anderson, Mrs. Edwin Anderson, Mrs. Lawrence LaLonde, Mrs. Renald Solberg, Miss Jeanine Solberg and Mrs. Edward E. Blomquist, chairman. All of the organizations of the church are represented on the committee, which was chosen at the annual meeting. It has been a labor of love, and the committee wishes to thank all who have assisted in the preparation of this book and for the festival also for the privilege of serving our church on this memorable occasion. We sincerely hope this will be a book of memories for all who read these pages.

Published in Golden Anniversary Memories. Zion Lutheran Church, Metropolitan, Michigan. 1895-1945.

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