History

1883-Rev. Kristian Anker of Elk Horn Lutheran Church, Elk Horn, IA conducts the first Danish Lutheran service in Audubon at the Presbyterian Church.

1883-1909-Several mission attemps are tried in Audubon by Danish Lutheran Pastors from Oak Hill Lutheran Church near Brayton, Bethlehem Lutheran Church near Jacksonville, and Bethany Lutheran Church, rural Kimballton.  The group organizes as the “Christian Society” in 1905 after a failed attempt to organize a congregation, and calls Rev. C.B. Christiansen of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, rural Audubon, to be their non-resident Pastor.  Rev. Christiansen serves until his increasing duties at Ebenezer and as President of the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church forces him to resign from his post with the Christian Society in 1908.

1909-At the urging of the Exira Lutheran Church, Exira and Hamlin Lutheran Church, Hamlin, the Audubon group joins with them in calling Rev. J.P. Christiansen of Lincoln, Nebraska to serve as Pastor of the newly formed 3 point parish.  The Christian Society buys the former Baptist church building at the corner of what is now Leroy & Broadway Streets in Audubon for $1,500.

February 4, 1909-The Christian Society meets to adopt a constitution and the group becomes “The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Audubon”.

1913-The Audubon congregation grows enough that it becomes a sole parish.  Pastor Christiansen continues as Pastor of the Audubon congregation.

1917-Pastor Christiansen accepts a call to Denver, Colorado.  Rev. Elias Provensen accepts the call to Audubon and begins his ministry in December.

1918-The Governor of Iowa declares that only English is to be used in public meetings, including church services.  Because Pastor Provensen could not preach in English, services were suspended in Audubon for a short time.  In June, permission is granted by the state for the congregation to hold one Danish and one English service each Sunday, with the provision that only English is to be used in all Sunday School and Bible School work.  Pastor Provensen, feeling incapable of using the English language, accepts a call to a congregation in Boston, Massachusets and leaves Audubon in September, serving the congregation only 9 months, the shortest pastorate in the congregation’s history.  Rev. Fred C.M. Hansen of Davenport, Iowa is called and begins to serve the congregation in November.

1919-A proposal to build a new church failed, but a clear toned bell is purchased from the local Missouri Synod church when its building is torn down.

1923-The Church building is completely remodeled and enlarged as a basement is added and a new entrance, tower, and chancel are added.

1926-The congregation hosts the Iowa District Convention of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1928-Pastor Hansen accepts a call to a congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and leaves in May.  Rev. James C. Peterson of Fremont, Nebraska accepts the call and becomes Pastor in June.

1931-Pastor Petersen leaves Audubon in September to accept a call in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Rev. Marinus C. Hagedorn is installed as Pastor in October.

1932-The name of the congregation is changed to Our Saviour’s Evangelical Lutheran Church when the constitution is translated into English and the congregation is incorporated.  A brick veneer and new stained glass art windows are added to the church.

1934-The congregation celebrates its 25th anniversary and hosts the Synod convention of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (UELC).

1940-Pastor Hagedorn accepts a call to Fremont, Nebraska.

1941-Rev. Theo. I. Jensen of Des Moines accepts the call to Our Saviour’s and is installed as Pastor in January.  The U.S. enters World War II in December.

1944-In January Pastor Jensen leaves Audubon after accepting a call from the Board of Education at Trinity Seminary, Blair, Nebraska to become a Professor in Theology.  Rev. Erhardt Nielsen of Bethlehem, Jacksonville, Iowa accepts the call and is installed as Pastor of Our Saviour’s.    In June, 2 vacant lots north of the church are purchased for $900 with expansion in mind.

1945-Our Saviour’s officially joins the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (UELC) as a member congregation at the synod’s annual convention, despite having hosted UELC conventions in the past and being served by UELC Pastors.  A new pipe organ is installed as a memorial to the Gold Star boys from the congregation.  Othilia Hauge begins service as a lay Parish Worker in the congregation.

1946-At the congregation’s annual meeting in January, a committee is set up to bring proposals to the congregation on expanding the church facility.  At a specially called meeting September 16th, the congregation votes 78-12 to accept plans for a new church, parish house, and parsonage and the building committee is authorized to proceed with these plans when 2/3 of the cost was gathered in.

1948-A lot is purchased from Earl Lang and the old parsonage was moved just north of the church to this lot.

1949-With building costs increasing, it became evident that the goal of a combined church, parish house, and parsonage were out of reach.  At a special meeting on April 11th, it is decided to leave off the parsonage from the construction plans and to put a recreation room (gymnasium) in the basement.  At a joint council and building committee meeting on December 13th, a contract is let to Korshoj Construction Co. of Blair, Nebraska for approximately $192,000 to build the new church.    Groundbreaking for the new church is on a cold,windy day December 21st, with Pastor Nielsen officiating.

1950-On February 26th, a one time special offering is gathered to change the construction plans from a brick exterior to a stone exterior.  $13,000 is needed, and over $15,000 is gathered.  The old church building, including pews, pulpit, and some of the tables and chairs in the basement are sold to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Audubon (Missouri Synod) for $3,500.  Our Saviour’s holds its last services in the old church on Sunday, September 17th, and “moving day” of the old church to it’s current site at 815 East Division Street is October 14th.  It is still used by the St. John’s congregation today.  Services from late September-November are held at the Memorial Building, until being moved to the basement of the new church on November 19th.  Services are held in the sanctuary for the first time in time for Christmas, but the ceiling and flooring were not finished.

1951-The doors and furniture are put into place, and the new church is officially dedicated, with Pastor Nielsen officiating.  Former OSLC Pastor Theo. I. Jensen is present to help celebrate the occasion.

1952-Othilia Hauge leaves after serving as Parish Worker for 7 years.

1954-Our Saviour’s hosts the synod convention of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church for the first time in the new church.  Pastor Nielsen, along with former OSLC Pastors, Rev. Fred C.M. Hansen and Rev. Marinus Hagedorn are among the preachers for the special services that are held as part of the convention.

1958-The congregation adopts the new Service Book & Hymnal as it’s hymnal, replacing the well loved “Black Hymnal”, the Hymnal for Church and Home.  Former OSLC Pastor, Rev. Fred C.M. Hansen, was one of the UELC representatives on the committee that put the new hymnal together.

1960-The UELC, to which Our Saviour’s belongs, joins the American Lutheran Church (German), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Norwegian)  to form the American Lutheran Church (ALC).  Pastor Nielsen is called to his eternal home on June 12th after 16 years of faithful service to Our Saviour’s, the longest pastorate in the history of the congregation.  His funeral service is held at Our Saviour’s on June 14th, with Rev. Fred C.M. Hansen officating, Dr. William Larsen, UELC President, preaching, and greetings brought by Rev. C.M. Videbeck, with burial at Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon.  Former OSLC Pastor, Rev. Fred. C.M. Hansen, returns to Audubon to help with the Pastoral work in the time leading up to and serves as Interim Pastor in the months following Pastor Nielsen’s death.

1961-Rev. Joel Jorgensen of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Rembrandt, Iowa accepts our call and is installed as Pastor.  He is the 1st Pastor who was not ordained by the UELC to serve the congregation, having been ordained by the former Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1963-Having grown to a baptized membership of over 1400, the congregation decides Pastor Jorgensen needed assistance.   Rev. Henry E. Dieter of Zion-St. John, Sheffield, Iowa accepts the call and becomes the first Associate Pastor of Our Saviour’s.

1965-Pastor Dieter resigns from Our Saviour’s to become Pastor at Bethelhem Lutheran Church, Lost Nation, Iowa.

1966-Rev. John Pannkuk of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Irwin, Iowa is installed as Associate Pastor in February.

1968-Pastor Jorgensen’s service to Our Saviour’s ends .  He accepts a call to serve St. Martin Lutheran Church, Port Huron, Michigan in November.

1969-Pastor Pannkuk accepts a call to Peace Lutheran Church, Evansville, Indiana and leaves OSLC in January.  Rev. Thorvald Hansen of Emmaus Lutheran Church, Racine, Wisconsin accepts our call to serve as Pastor.  The American Lutheran Church and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod enter into an altar and pulpit fellowship agreement.

1973-Paul Seavey graduates from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa and accepts a call to become Associate Pastor at Our Saviour’s.  He is ordained at St. Peter’s, Dubuque in May and beings work at Our Saviour’s.  He leaves Audubon at the end of the year when he accepts a call to become pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Evansdale, Iowa.

1975-Rev. Larry Lenning, American Lutheran Church missionary to Cameroun, accepts the call to become Associate Pastor and is installed in May.

1978-Pastor Lenning leaves Audubon in March to pursue doctoral studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.  The congregation adopts Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) as its hymnal, replacing the Service Book & Hymnal.  Robert Krueger graduates from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque in May, and is ordained at Our Saviour’s, Waterloo on June 4th.  He is installed later that month as Associate Pastor at Our Saviour’s, Audubon.

1981-Major changes occur at OSLC as Pastor Thorvald Hansen announces his intention to retire from the Pastoral ministry.  His last Sunday is March 29th, and he then moves to Blair, Nebraska.  Associate Pastor Robert Krueger accepts a call to become Pastor at Calvary, Sabula, Iowa and his last Sunday at Our Saviour’s is April 26th.  Rev. Waldemar Gies, Professor of Theology at Wartburg College, and his son, Rev. Val Gies, are named Interim Pastors and begin service to the congregation in May.  The congregation decides to restructure the Pastoral Ministry and call two Pastors in a co-Pastor arrangement, in which each both Pastors are equally responsible for ministry in the congregation.  Rev. Harris Hostager of Trinity, St. John, and St. Olaf Lutheran Churches, Belmond, Iowa accepts the call to become Co-Pastor and is installed on Sunday, August 30th.  The Missouri Synod dissolves the Altar & Pulpit fellowship with the American Lutheran Church.

1982-Rev. Joan Mau, interim Pastor of Good Shepherd, Adair, Iowa accepts the call to become our co-Pastor, making her the first female Pastor in OSLC history.

1984-Our Saviour’s celebrates her 75th Anniversary.

1988-The American Lutheran Church ceases to exist when it merges with the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), effective January 1, 1988.  OSLC becomes a member of the ELCA.  Pastor Mau accepts a call to a congregation in Wisconsin.

1989-Pastor Hostager accepts a call to a serve Zion Lutheran Church, Gowrie, Iowa.  Rev. Carl Hanson & Rev. Mary Hanson, husband and wife, accept the call to Our Saviour’s to become co-Pastors of the congregation.  The congregation celebrates its 80th anniversary.

1994-Pastor Mary Hanson resigns and becomes Interim Pastor at Christ, Jefferson, Iowa.

1995-Pastor Carl Hanson resigns to accept a call with Pastor Mary to become co-Pastors of First Lutheran Church, Britton, South Dakota.  Rev. A. “Pete” Peterson of Alton, Iowa is named Intentional Interim Pastor of the congregation by the ELCA’s Western Iowa Synod.  During the vacancy, it is decided that the congregation would end the co Pastor arrangement for ministry and only call one Pastor to serve the congregation.

1996-Rev. Walter J. Kukkonen of Faith Lutheran Church, Moline, Illinois accepts our call and is installed as the sole Pastor of the congregation.

1999-A small addition is built on to the north side of the church to provide a much needed elevator from the basement social room entrance and the sanctuary, in addition to enlarging the kitchen.  The stone is matched to the existing building.

2001-The congregation sends delegates to attend the First convetion of the newly formed Augsburg Lutheran District (ALD) at Elk Horn Lutheran Church, Elk Horn, Iowa.  (The group is now known as Augsburg Lutheran Churches)  ALD is initally made up of congregations and pastors looking for refuge from the increasingly liberal theological agenda of the ELCA.

2002-After carefully studying over the past few years the increasingly liberal, anti-Scriptural direction of the ELCA, and after attempting to be a voice of reform within the ELCA by participation in the Word Alone Network, the congregation decides it’s time for a change. At a specially called meeting of the congregation on February 24th, the congregation takes its first vote to leave the ELCA, and votes to do so by a vote of 168-14, and votes to affiliate with the new association, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).  On Sunday, June 9th, the congregational vote to terminate its membership in the ELCA passes for the 2nd time by a vote of 173-13, thus terminating the congregation’s relationship with the ELCA and its Western Iowa Synod.

2003-Our Saviour’s hosts the 3rd Annual Augsburg Lutheran District convention, marking the first time in nearly 50 years that the congregation has hosted such an event.

2004-2005-Our Saviour’s first suspends benevolence giving, and eventually, terminating membership in Augsburg Lutheran DIstrict.  The congregation retains membership in Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), and it’s affiliated Heartland District.

2007-Pastor Kukkonen announces his intention to retire from the Pastoral ministry and relocate to suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota.  His last Sunday as Pastor of OSLC is July 27th.  Rev. Christopher Martin, Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium (ELCM) Mission Development Pastor for Northern Iowa, accepts our call and arrives in Audubon September 1st, and is formally installed as Pastor on September 9th by the church council.  Pastor Martin had served two ELCM mission congregations in northern Iowa prior to coming to Our Saviour’s.

2008-Several major building repairs are undertaken by the congregation to prepare the building for our Centennial celebration as the sanctuary is repainted and much needed repairs to the exterior windows are completed.

2009-Our Saviour’s celebrates the 100th anniversary of her organization as a congregation with several events throughout the year.  The year long celebration kicks off with a special Danish style worship service on Sunday, February 8th, followed by a Hamball Dinner.  A “Mission Pulpit Exchange Sunday” is held on April 19th with Rev. Glen Peterson of Faith Lutheran Church, Humboldt, South Dakota, a mission congregation supported by OSLC, as our guest speaker while Pastor Martin preached in Humboldt.  Other guest speakers included former OSLC Pastors Walter Kukkonen (June 7th), Carl & Mary Hansen (June 28th), and Harris Hostager (September 27th).  A Centennial Banquet and program are held on June 7th at the AgriHall, with Pastor Martin serving as Master of Ceremonies, and a Danish Coffee is held on Operation T-Bone weekend in August.  Pastor Martin announces in mid-December that he has accepted a call to become the Pastor of the congregations of the McConnellsburg Lutheran Parish, McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania (St. Paul, McConnellsburg, St. Paul’s, Big Cove Tannery, & Mt. Zion, Little Cove).  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are cancelled due to a massive winter storm that left many members snowed in and in some cases, without electricity, marking the first time in recent memory that weather forced the cancellation of Christmas services at Our Saviour’s.

February, 2010-Pastor Martin preaches his farewell sermon on Sunday, January 10th.   Rev. Larry Lystig agrees to serve OSLC as Interim Pastor and arrives in February.

August, 2010-Pastor Doug Opp accepts the call to be the next pastor of OSLC.