Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 34
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left family and friends, many knowing they
would never return to Norway. These adven-
turous people were headed to a strange land
determined to make a better life for them-
People brought their Bibles, catechisms
and hymnals with them. Since the state
church in Norway was Lutheran, it was
natural for the early settlers to plan for
Lutheran worship services. The first service
was held in the Jens Ringess home in
January, 1867 with Rev. S.S. Reque. Other
pastors made prior visits to the settlement.
The church was formally organized in
June, 1869. Land was donated and additional
land was purchased. A stone parsonage was
built. The church building was contracted in
March, 1876 and completed six months later.
Interior work was completed in 1880's, and
formal dedication was held 1885. In early
1900's the church was enlarged, bricked and
a steeple added. The Parish Hall was built in
Rev. John Knudson Rystad arrived and
preached his first sermon September, 1878.
This was his first congregation and he
remained until he retired 47 years later in
Our Savior's (Vor Frelsers Kirke) joined
the Norwegian Synod in 1901, in 1946 its
name was changed to The Evangelical Lu-
theran Church, and since 1961, Our Savior's
Lutheran Church belongs to The American
The Ladies Society (Norse Kvindeforen-
ing) was organized in 1895 and later was
called "Norse Ladies Aid". In 1943, Harmony
Ladies Aid joined them; they had met
separately due to traveling distance. Our
Savior's Lutheran Church Women as they are
now known, are active- contributing to
mission work and upkeep and improvements
on church property. They sponsor the
"Smorgasbord", an annual supper since 1949.
People come from near and far to dine on
Scandinavian food prepared by the ladies. It
is held the second Wednesday and Thursday
in November, tickets sold by advance draw-
ing. Ladies dress in "Hardanger" Norwegian
costume and serve as hostesses and wai-
tresses. Men and boys usher, park cars, and
wash dishes. The first Smorgasbord was held
to raise money to pipe water to the church
grounds. Although there are very few 100'
Norwegians in the church today, all mem-
bers, regardless of nationalities, work togeth-
er to keep this tradition alive.
A Young People's Society was organized in
1913, Sunday School began in 1925 and the
Men's Club was organized in 1933.
Our Savior's Lutheran Church was named
"Rural Church of the Year" in 1954. The
church was rebricked, stain-glass windows
installed, and a new Parish Hall was built in
the 1950's. The church was awarded the
Texas Historical Medallion and recorded as
a historic landmark in 1962. The church
celebrated its centennial in 1969. A brick
parsonage was built in 1972.
Pastors called to serve Our Savior's in-
clude: Ole O. Estrem 1969-77, John K. Rystad
1878-1925, Elmer R. Larson 1925-29, P.
Edward Thorsen 1929-43, Perry V. Sampson
1943-47, Edmund A. Beaver 1947-54, Joel E.
Nelson 1954-63, Albert A. Petrich 1963-72,
Lawrence C. Jenson 1973-79, and John M.
Homerstad 1979 to the present time.
Religious training was important. Paro-
chial (Bible) School was held in the summer
I *4, %""
Earliest Nowregian Settlers in Bosque County: Dahl, Canuteson, Jenson, Ringness, Weem, K. Canuteson,
Questad, Rogstad, Pierson
King Olav V of Norway with Rev. John M. Homerstad at grave of Cleng Peerson, father of Norwegian
immigration; Celebration - October 10, 1982
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Bosque County History Book Committee. Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas), book, 1985; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth91038/m1/50/?q=campbell: accessed March 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.