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Zion's 125th Anniversary  1893-2018
January thru June

125th Anniversary Calendar
February   March     April     May    June     July
Next Meeting of the
125th Anniversary Committee

Zion 125th Anniversary Committee - The current planning team is open to any and all who have ideas and a desire to roll up your sleeves and lend a hand. Join us at the next meeting on July 17 at 6 pm.

From our Centennial history book: The time had come for the church to take its place in the community. There were enough Swedish settlers to make this happen. With many prayers, much faith and dedication, an organizational meeting was called and, although no public notice was given ... 58 people came. The meeting was held on October 27, 1893. It was held in the Opera House... The meeting to finalize the organization of the Swedish Lutheran Church into the Augustana Synod and incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota was held on the next day.

Quasquicentennial (125th) Anniversary of Zion: We kicked off the year on Sunday, January 28th, the 9 a.m. worship service was followed by a congregational brunch and the dedication of our new Archive Cabinet. Monthly events and a series of fund raisers are planned throughout the year. See the calendar of 125th Anniversary events.   Photos of Dedication

"Milaca's Best" Cookbook! Looking for a great recipe for Swedish Meatballs? How about a gift for newlywed?  Or how about just some great  recipes for some "comfort food?" Pick up a copy of Zion's newest cookbook, "Milaca's Best!" This is a 125th Anniversary fund raiser to reduce the debt.

From our Centennial history book: "A church erected. Two lots were purchased on the corner where our present church now stands. One lot was donated by the lumber company, the other cost $60. Our church was then a little white wooden building...In 1898 the congregation purchased a small, two room house for the sum of $450 and it was to this house that the first pastor and his family came. One of his first tasks was to gather funds to enlarge the house and build a barn. The little house still stands just across the alley from the old parsonage."

Erik Hedeen - Zion's first "real" pastor after several seminary students.

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From the Minutes for January 7, 1895 - "A seminary student will be hired to come to us twice a month - once in the forenoon and once in the afternoon and two Communion Sundays during the year. He will be paid $150 for the year. G. Lind was voted in as janitor and will be paid $5 per year. Communicant fees are $3, and $2 for women. They are to be paid quarterly and in advance."

Blessing of the Golden Couples February 11th.

This is when we recognize couples who have been married 50 years or more. And we ask EVERYONE to bring in their wedding photos to show how lovely and handsome they were! After the worship service, we will have Fellowship with cake!!
Quilt Dedication
February 25th

125th Anniversary Quilt - On Sunday, February 25, we dedicated an Anniversary Quilt, hanging in our entryway. The quilt is a beautiful Log Cabin quilt in the Barn Raising layout, sewn in the blue and yellow colors of the Swedish flag.  The Barn Raising design, depicts the peaked barns of the early farmsteads and was a popular choice for Amish quilts. Hanging high in the open entryway of the church, the quilt is a welcoming symbol to all who enter, joining the past with the present, reminding us of our commission to welcome and care for all who enter our doors.

The quilt was a special commission sewn by Jeanine Manthie. Jeannie Manthie has been a member of Zion Lutheran Church since the early 1990’s, but she has been a quilter for much longer.    As a young girl, her visits to her grandmother’s house included piecing together quilts. Over time her skill grew as did her her love for this art that is both beautiful and practical. Jeannie estimates that it took over 25 hours to complete the quilt, which included cutting and piecing the blocks, sewing the strips for the top, and finally quilting the layers using a special quilting sewing machine.  

Wanted:Fika Table Sponsors

We are looking for individuals interested  in sponsoring a Fika Table for our cooking demo and visit with author Patrice Johnson on April 28th. Patrice is the the author of "Jul" through the Minnesota Society Press.Table sponsors will decorate their tables for tea and invite 4-8 guests per table. Contact Christine Nelson to join the planning group. This is a fund raiser and is open to the public. What is Fika?

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From the Minutes of June 4th, 1898 - "Student John Albert Johnson was called at a wage of $30 per month plus board. Services will be held Sunday forenoon and night, alternating between Milaca and Bock. A stable will be built for Student Johnson's horse."

Want a treat that tastes great, comes hot from the oven, and is easy to make? Zion Youth will be selling Butter Braid Pastries from February 11th thru March 11th. This is a 125th Anniversary fund raiser to reduce the debt. Treat yourself to the one and only Butter Braid Pastry. Each braided treat is filled with your choice of seven different flavors - cream cheese, strawberry/cream cheese, apple, cinnamon, blueberry/cream cheese, raspberry, or four-cheese and herb (new!) - or try the caramel  rolls (nine per package). The braids are easy to prepare - just let rise and bake for a unique breakfast entrée, a dessert, or a savory side dish! The cost is $13 ($14 for the cheese and herb.) Pastries will be delivered Tuesday, March 27th, in time for Easter.


From the Minutes of January 11, 1899
"...Milaca, Bock, and Bridgeman (Foreston) to jointly call John Albert Johnson as pastor, after he is ordained at Rock Island. His revised wages for the year will be $200. Zion trusties will meet with Bock and Bridgeman to see if they are willing to help build a parsonage. Until the pastor arrives, the church council will be in charge of Sunday services and an offering will be taken at all services."

How to Fika

Swedish Fika – On April 28 Patrice Johnson, author of Jul, was our special guest for a traditional Swedish “fika,” or coffee time event.   Patrice demonstrated the different shapes of Santa Lucia buns and what they mean! She also shared stories of Swedish holiday traditions. Menu for the morning was Smörgås (Sandwiches), Lussebulle (Lucia Buns), and Morotskaka (Carrot Cake).


From the minutes on January 8, 1900 - “A new preacher was called for a perriod of 6 months – student Oscar Elmquist, Salary to be $25 a month plus free room and board. Motion was made and seconded that Student Elmquist visit all paying communicants to ask if they are willing to help pay his salary. A house (eventually to be used as parsonage) and lot were purchased for $450. 40-55 children were in the Sunday School program. The following positions were elected: 2 Deacons, Trustee, Treasurer, Secretary, Sunday School Superintendent and assistant, 13 Sunday School teachers (7 men and 6 women), Organist, and Church Janitor.”

(Oscar Elmquist later in his career)

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From the Minutes on October 13, 1900 - "Meeting called for the purpose of adding a kitchen on the parsonage. Motion made and seconded that this room will be 14X22 with 9 foot ceiling. The footing for the addition will be stone - congregation's members to each bring a load of stone after the ground is plowed. A stall for livestock will not be built at this time.
Sunday School
Quilt Drawing

As part of their Service Sunday opportunities, Zion Sunday School students, with the planning and assistance of quilters Carole Kiel and Nancy Hoskins, pieced and tied two quilts.  As part of our 125th Anniversary efforts to retire the debt, we are offering $1 opportunities to take home one of these quilts and be forever wrapped in the love and warmth of our Zion Lutheran Sunday School students! Quilts will be on display during the Lenten season Wednesday soup suppers.  You can purchase a ticket at this time or before or after worship on Sundays during the month of March.  The Sunday School students will be making and serving soup for the March 21 Wednesday night soup supper, so that would be a great time to buy your tickets! We will draw two names on Sunday, March 25, during the Palm Sunday brunch and we will contact the winners.  You do not need to present to win, but you should be here because the youth of Zion Lutheran church put on a GREAT brunch and you won’t want to miss it!

Swedish Trunk Show!

Trunk Show Event – On April 11 Zion hosted a presentation by the American Swedish Institute. Ted Johnson, the grandson of Swedish homesteaders in Foreston, was our host and shared the story of Swedish immigrants’ journey to “Amerika.” We had about 100 people in attendance.

From the Minutes of December  7, 1900 - "The Sunday School children will have their first Christmas program at 8 p.m. on December 25th. A committee was appointed to cut a tree and  come on Monday, December 24th to decorate the church. It was recommended  that the Zion Congregation  look for ten acres of land for their own graveyard. They would feel more peaceful if they could bury their dead on their own ground."


From the Minutes on July 14, 1901 - “The meeting was called to order to discuss having a Swedish Congregational School during the summer. It was decide to hold the school for six weeks at the old Milaca school house. Classes will be Monday through Friday starting at 9 a.m. The teacher will be Miss Hulda Maria Anderson. She will receive wages of 50 cents per month, per child, plus room and board.”


From the minutes of January 3, 1902 - “Conference dues for the year - $5 per family, or $3 for men and $2 for women. Upon confirmation, children shall be considered paying members of the church. Trustees are to borrow $800 to pay all the debts of the congregation.”

In celebration of Zion's 125th Anniversary, we are refreshing our wonderful library. Look for newly added and featured books displayed on the cart in the entry. New this week are “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L'Engle, “Gilead” and “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson, and new children's DVDs including Veggie Tales “Twas the Night Before Easter.” Easy checkout instructions are on the cart and in the library. If you would like any of the books or VHS tapes being withdrawn from circulation, feel free to take them from the boxes set out in Centennial Hall.

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Congregational Photo
April 29th

April 2018

Say Cheese! Join us for Sunday service on April 29 and then following the service we will gather outside, weather permitting, to take a congregational photo. The photo is in celebration of our 125th anniversary. We would like a good representation of our congregations, so please join us on the 29th.

Minutes of January 2, 1903 - “The organist will be Mrs. E. Hedeen – her salary will be $25 for the year. Janitor will be William Carlson – salary will be $25 for the year. Pastor requested that parents of the congregation teach their children to spell and read at home. Income for 1902 was $377.59, debts were $376.44, balance in treasury is $1.15


 During this 125th Anniversary year-long celebration the Anniversary Planning Team has established the following Mission: Promote attraction for Zion Lutheran Church through evangelism to support visibility and longevity of the congregation.

 In order to accomplish this Mission, the following Goals have been established:
Coordinate multiple community activities/events.
Promote mass congregation and community participation.
1. Plan for a "Culminating Event".
2. Reduce the church Line-of-Credit to zero.
3. Increase the membership of the congregation.
4. Promote the education and awareness of Zion’s Outreach Ministries.

Throughout the year you are invited and encouraged to help make this mission and these goals a success. Continue to watch for weekly updates of upcoming events and be sure to invite friends and neighbors to join in the fellowship.

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Quasquicentennial Minute


From the December 1893 Mille Lacs County Times: “ Milaca is to be congratulated upon having such a class of sober, industrious, energetic citizens as the Scandinavian people are, who form a considerable part of her population. That they are of deep religious nature is attested by the attention they pay to religion and the two neat churches they have erected in this town. They make model citizens. Such people are always welcome here.”

4/15/18 Quasquicentennial Minute

Student pastors served our congregation until 1900. One student, O.E. Elmquist, who came in 1899, later became the president of the California Conformance. He was a very enthusiastic young man who helped increase the Sunday School attendance from 35 to 150. He helped organize a Young People's which had 70 members. He also served Bock, Foreston, Greenbush, and Vondell Brook – and he taught school full time. When he came back for our congregation's 30th Anniversary, he referred to his time here as “one of the most interesting and stressful chapters in my life.”

Quasquicentennial Minute

Pastor G.L. Dagner of Patin, Pennsylvania, accepted Zion's call and arrived in March of 1910. During Pastor Dagner's ministry, the trusties  of the Swedish Lutheran Church advertised for construction of the new church building. After bids were received, a new church was built at a cost of $10,000. This is the same church we worship in today. During construction, services were held at the Norwegian Lutheran Church. Sunday School was at 2 p.m. and Church at 3 p.m.

Quasquicentennial Minute

The cornerstone of the new church was laid in October, 1914. The first worship service held in the new building was the Julotta service in December. The old church building was moved across the street and remodeled, and is still part of the Peterson-Johnson Funeral Home.

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Quasquicentennial Minute 5/6/18
Pastor Dagner was at Zion for eight and a half years (and yet we have no photo of him!). He left in 1918. During  his time as pastor of Zion, he baptized 171 members and confirmed 222.

Zion's 125th
Anniversary  Committee

The current planning team is open to any and all who have ideas and a desire to roll up your sleeves and lend a hand. Join us at our next meeting on June 5th at 6 p.m.

Quasquicentennial Minute

During the Christmas holidays of 1918, student A.R. Lawrence presided over the worship services. During that time, he gained the love and confidence of the people of Zion and they extended a call to him to be our pastor upon ordination. It was during his pastorate that the influenza plague took many lives in the community and World a War I called many young men into action.
Quasquicentennial Minute

Zion sent 25 men into action during WWI – two never returned. We now had a new sanctuary and membership of 200. Post-war times were good and Pastor Lawrence suggested pledging to retire the congregation's debt of $6,000. The pastor wrote in his annual report, “May everyone realize the seriousness of their commitment  to the church in their salvation and offerings.” They took him seriously and met the goal.

May 27, 2018 - Quasquicentennial Minute: 

June 1922 – Pastor Olav G. Berg and family arrived from Genoa, Nebraska. The new pastor immediately started having two services – one in Swedish and one in English. It was a very important step and well received, as now the Sunday School children came to the English service and enrollment grew.


New this week in the Zion Library:

“Waiting for Daybreak” by Kathryn Cushman, “The Farmer's Daughter” by various authors, “Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer” by Max Lucado, “Laugh your Way to Grace” by Rev. Susan Sparks, and “Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church” by Philip Yancy.

For the children, we have VeggieTales “The Halfhearted Viking” by Doug Peterson and “A Queen Named Esther” Easy checkout instructions are on the cart and in the library.

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Pastor Gottfrid Carlson and his family arrived in June of 1927. It was during this time that all church records were changed from Swedish to English. Pastor Carlson was a gifted preacher and teacher. In 1928, a fire started in the coal bin in the basement of the church. Damage was about $3,000. In his report, Pastor Carlson wrote: “The English services have been well attended, the Swedish – fair, but we still have many of our old people with us who must have the opportunity to hear God's word Word in a language familiar to them.” He also asked, :Why is it Lutherans in Milaca are not able to go to a service in the evening?” A Junior Missionary Band was started in 1929. Membership was up to 551, and 143 children were enrolled in Sunday School.

A young
Pastor Gottfrid Carlson

Pastor Gottfrid Carlson was here during the Depression. In 1930, he wrote: “We live in troubled and serious times. Depression is on us everywhere not only materially but spiritually. People are trembling for things they expect to come. Trusting in God is the only thing left that will keep us calm and fearless.” The membership when he left in 1933 was 606.  Because of the Depression, the Council knew that they could not afford a full-time pastor, so they approached Pastor H. J. Yngve, who was field secretary of the Anti-Saloon League. He agreed to take over the parish and stayed from 1933-1938. We were still in the midst of a severe drought. Pastures dried up and cattle had to be moved to northern pastures. Zion was fortunate to have Pastor Yngve at this time. Under his guidance the indebtedness of the church was met and he knew that Zion could now afford a full time pastor.


Rev. Herman Soderberg

Rev. Reuben Carlson

During the Depression no improvements were made; so when Pastor Herman Soderberg arrived in 1938, there was a lot of work to do. The parsonage was renovated, as was the church auditorium. A furnace stoker was installed in the parsonage. The exterior of the church was waterproofed and painted. New front doors were put in and an electric light was installed over the front entrance. Pastor Soderberg wrote “The new doors and lights have made this entrance worthy of the House of God.” A pipe organ was also installed at this time. Pastor Soderberg left in 1942, and sent into the service.

Pastor Rueben Carlson, from Greeley Colorado, preached his first sermon in August 1942. In 1943, Zion celebrated its 50th Anniversary. At this time the membership was 627. These were also the war years, and there were 43 young men and 3 young women listed on our service roll.


In 1944, Pastor Reuben Carlson wrote, “These are troubled times, our young men are dying and suffering on world encircling battle fronts as we begin our fourth year at war, and the end is not yet in sight. In the face of such a situation, it is difficult to look forward. Perhaps we must look upwards and be assured that God said, 'My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest.'”

Pastor Carlson started a church letter known as the “Lutheran Herald.” It was sent to all members at home and to those serving in the armed forces. During this period of time, the Swedish service was held only on the the third Sunday of the month. During Pastor Carlson's service, a new roof was installed , the sanctuary was decorated with new wood, a new heating plant was installed, the kitchen was remodeled, electric heat was installed, and florescent lights were put in the basement. Pastor Carlson resigned in 1948.

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