The Church of Jesus Christ is like a mustard seed with a small beginning, and so the Rosetown Lutheran Church began in a small way, in the year of 1942, at the residence of Pastor D. Dale, 1791 Simpson St., St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Sunday School held its first meeting February 8, 1942, with 5 pupils present – four of them the pastor’s own children, and Carole Johnson. Some of the children became ill with “mumps,” so the Sunday School was held in the Rosetown Hall, on County Road B and Hamline Avenue, on March 8, 1942. This was also the first public worship service held, when 13 souls, 8 children and 5 adults were present. Those present were Mrs. Neal F. Duggan, Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Pedersen, and the pastor and his wife. The children were, Phebe, and Milton Dale, Phyllis and Robert Duggan, Victor Parrhysius, Carole Johnson, Joan Borchert, and Barbara Johnson.
At the first service, no collection was taken. The first collection was taken the following Sunday, March 15th, when $1.40 was received. Rent for the Town Hall was $2.00 per week. This was paid from the weekly collection – the pastor paid the balance. The Sunday School books and supplies were paid in the same way, since it was an independent venture of faith. The first donation was given by a Catholic woman, Mrs. Alfred Lietzo, who donated $5.00 toward expenses in getting this project started. After conducting the Sunday School in the Rosetown Hall 3 months, March 8th through May 24th, we moved to the school auditorium of District No. 32, on County Road B. and Snelling Avenue. Our first service was held there on June 7, 1942. There were 24 children enrolled in the Sunday School, including Phebe, JoAnn, David, and Milton Dale, Phyllis and Robert Duggan, Joan Borchert, Elaine and Lois Richter, Barbara and Linda Anderson, Victor Parrhysius, Barbara Johnson, Vera and Walter Rasmussen, Suzanne Mayer, Barbara and Sandra Adams, Michael and Paul Doyle, Lorene Carlson, Larice Johnson, and Irene Struck.
While we conducted services in the Town Hall, several families from District No. 10 School attended services, including Mr. and Mrs. Paul Swan, Mrs. Joseph A. Armstrong, Mrs. R. Rasmussen, Mr. and Mrs. Olaf Hanson, and others. This group invited us to conduct services in District No. 10. The first service there was held May 1st, 1942. In this district was already a Sunday School and Ladies’ Aid organized about 4 years earlier by Rev. Selmer Rude, as an independent community venture. Later a Methodist pastor conducted services there for approximately three months, after which the local leaders invited students from the St. Paul Bible School to assist them with the teaching of Sunday School classes. Some of the leaders in the Sunday School and Ladies’ Aid wee Mr. and Mrs. Eric Hjelm, Mrs. S. J. Bufton and Mrs. Paul Swan. Mr. Hjelm, a former Lutheran, was now a member of the Covenant Church on the East Side. Mrs. Bufton was a former Episcopalian, and Mrs. Swan was a former Catholic.
Some of those from District No. 10, who attended services in the Town Hall suggested that we consolidate the two Sunday Schools, and meet in the District No. 10 School Auditorium. This was done, and the first meeting of the combined Sunday School was held there on May 2nd, 1942.
In the fall of 1942, October 28th, a group of 15 persons met at the home of Eric Hjelm to discuss the organization of a congregation. It was decided to publicly organize on November 29, 1942, at the School District No. 10. This was done, when 84 souls were joined in an independent Lutheran Congregation. Three children were baptized at this service. They were Shirley, Dorothy and Joyce Knapton, children of Mr. and Mrs. Allen C. Knapton, Parker Street and Lexington.
On December 6, 1942, Luther League met at the home of Mrs. S. J. Bufton to organize, with a total membership of 22 young people. The first president was Lorraine Dunn. The Men’s Club was organized January 28, 1945, with Mr. Frank Brodowy as President. The Ladies’ Mission Guild (Rosetown Lutheran Mission Guild) was organized February 28, 1945, with Mrs. Paul Swan as President, and 9 ladies present. All the ladies of the congregation ae considered members of the Guild, and any other ladies who wish to be members.
The work of gathering funds for our church building fund was begun with a fellowship supper in the School District No. 10, on August 20, 1943. About 300 persons were at this supper. Rev. Selmer Framstad of St. Paul spoke. The choir sang, and Rev. Norman Anderson of Augsburg College showed moving pictures of college life at Augsburg. Over $500.00 in cash and pledges were raised that evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Higlee donated a half acre of land for the church site on May 25, 1943. They purchased this from Mr. and Mrs. Lebens for $500.00 and immediately transferred it to the congregation. Upon the advice of the Board of Home Missions, the congregation purchased on September 11, 1943, one half acre adjoining the church lot, No. 1 and 2, for $535.00 from Mrs. Engles, in order that the church might be erected on a corner lot, and to provide sufficient land for future use by the congregation, for parsonage, etc. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Higlee donated a beautiful silver communion set, which was used for the first time on February 7, 1943.
On Pentecost Sunday, June 13, 1943, the first class was confirmed. This class included Phebe Dale, Shirley and Dorothy Knapton, Leona Tempel, and Sherald Marsh. Marjorie Moore received instruction but was not confirmed. The senior choir was organized under the leadership of Miss Judith Lockrem on August 2, 1943.
Ground breaking services were held after the morning worship service on Sunday, September 19, 1943. Mr. Hawkins took moving pictures of this ceremony. Digging of the basement was begun at 3 P.M. Monday, October 4, 1943. This was completed the following day. This work was donated by Mr. Markham. Dedication services were held December 25, 1943, with Dr. T. O. Burntvedt, Dr. H. O. Sletten, and Rev. H. C. Casperson as guest speaker. Christmas service on December 25, 1943 was also held in the new church basement.
Mr. E. C. Hultquist and Nels Martinson were the contractors in charge of the basement building. With Mr. Gustav Kopp as the general contractor, and Mr. Victor Johnson as contractor for the stone work, the building of the superstructure was begun on Monday, September 13, 1948. The cornerstone-laying service was held on September 26, 1948.
Rosetown Lutheran Congregation became a Minnesota Corporation on May 25th, 1943.