History of Erickson Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Lutheran Church - Scandinavia district

A Swedish Lutheran congregation was organized on May 23, 1891, under the leadership of Pastor L.G. Ulmen. There were fifty charter members of this organization with the congregational name of “Bethlehem” Lutheran Church.

Most of the early church families came from the Scandinavian countries where solid spiritual fibre was woven into early life through Lutheran confirmation.

The first “Bethlehem” church building was completed in 1893 on donated land situated in the SE corner of SW 6-18-17 in the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam. This church was later demolished, and by 1911, funds were secured in sufficient amount to begin construction of a new building, a short distance south of where the old church building stood.

In 1959, the “Bethlehem” Scandinavia Church was closed and later demolished.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Erickson Lutheran Church

At the annual meeting of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church at Scandinavia in 1915, it was decided that the congregation should build a church in Erickson. The work began immediately and the cornerstone was laid in 1916. The building was completed the following year. This building was situated at the entrance to the village of Erickson on the north side of Main Street. In 1938, this church was moved from its lot near the highway to a site near its present location on 30-3rd Street SW in Erickson.

The final service of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church was held on Sunday, October 6, 1968 and the newly named, Erickson Lutheran Church, became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada on January 1, 1969.

In June 1971, the church with its extensive renovations and additions, was moved on to a new basement, just west, on the same lot. In 1977, the old parsonage building was sold and the dedication of the new parsonage was held on Sunday, October 9, 1977.

Erickson Lutheran Church continues to be an active congregation involved in both church and community affairs.

Bethel Lutheran Church - Danvers District

In 1893, a Lutheran congregation was organized and a little log church, named Bethania, was built on the SW 20-18-18 in the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam. One year later, upon the death of the church’s leader, Mr. P. Miller, and because of lack of members, the congregation was discontinued. (Note: Although the Bethania church building no longer exists, the cemetery, which was situated behind the church building, has been preserved and is maintained by family members of the first settlers.)

About 1900, Rev. B.O. Berg, pastor of Bethlehem Church in the Scandinavia district, organized services in Bethania Church in order to serve the influx of settlers coming into the area. On January 14, 1907, the Bethel Lutheran congregation was organized. The little log church sufficed for the time, but, plans were underway for a new church building. In 1909, logs were cut and sawed for the church building. In 1910, two acres of land, situated in the south-east corner of SE 19-18-18 in the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam, were donated by Mr. P.O. Berg and the church was ready for dedication on July 26, 1914. The cemetery, situated west of the church site, was first used in 1909.

For 63 years, Bethel Church had been the spiritual home and the society centre of the Danvers community. Due to a decrease in membership which caused the inability to support a pastor, the last services were held in 1970.

An organization, the Bethel Lutheran Society Inc. was formed by former members of the congregation, who maintain the church building and cemetery. To this day, Easter Sunday sunrise service and breakfast have remained a tradition at Bethel Church. Weddings, funerals and family gatherings still take place at this little country church.

Immanuel Lutheran Church - Clanwilliam

In the early days of 1900, a group of Scandinavian families living around the village of Clanwilliam, met and considered organizing a congregation. On January 17, 1907, a congregation was formed and the name Immanuel Lutheran was chosen.

In 1907, a parsonage was built which also furnished room for the church service. In 1912, it was decided to build a church and by 1914 the church was in use, however, it was not dedicated until 1917.

In January 1951, the church was moved from its country location into the village of Clanwilliam.

Immanuel Lutheran was part of the federated parish that was formed in 1957 along with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Erickson (later to become known as Erickson Lutheran Church), and Bethel Church in the Danvers district.

In June 1982, Immanuel Lutheran Church celebrated its 75th anniversary. In the later years of the 1980’s, services were discontinued.

Information for historical articles have been taken from the “Forest to Field” history book of the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam and “Onanole and District” history book of Onanole and area.