Norman Lutheran Church near Kindred marks 150 years this weekend

It started with a handful of North Dakota farm families from Norway. This weekend, descendants of those pioneer settlers are throwing a party for one of the state's oldest congregations.

Norman Lutheran Church is celebrating its 150 year anniversary. Activities are scheduled starting Saturday, June 25.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News
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Kindred, N.D. — It all started in an old log cabin south of Horace, near the Sheyenne River when North Dakota was still known as Dakota Territory. Still in rural Kindred, Norman Lutheran Church is thriving.

Picture of small cabin where church services were once held.
Contributed / Norman Lutheran Church

"It is my home. My home church," said Arlene Haux, a longtime organist who is now retired.

Haux had family that settled there in 1880.

A map of Dakota Territory with a picture of a small cabin once used for Norman Lutheran Church.
Contributed / Norman Lutheran Church

Melvin Anderson is 99. He is the oldest member of Norman Lutheran Church. He remembers a church with a wood stove, going to church while his Dad was serving in World War I and getting to church from the farm using horses.


old member.jpg
A picture of women and children who were part of the congregation of Norman Lutheran Church.
Contributed / Norman Lutheran Church

The weekend of June 25, people are flying and driving from across the region and nation as Norman Lutheran Church — one of the oldest churches in North Dakota — marks 150 years. There is a run, hayride, cemetery tour and afternoon program scheduled Saturday, with a special anniversary church service set for Sunday.

Picture of of a previous Norman Lutheran Church
Contributed / Norman Lutheran Church

"(There are) so many people wanting to move into the area, and so there's a lot of young families that are coming in, and it's really exciting," said Norman Lutheran Church Pastor Katie Kringstad. "It's vibrant (and) it's a joyful place to be."

Four pictures of different versions of Norman Lutheran Church.
Contributed / Norman Lutheran Church

Being a country preacher back in the day wasn't a moneymaker. WDAY News looked at church records, and the pastor there made $400 a year.

Cameron Mitchell is a seventh-generation member at Norman Lutheran, and Wesley Nelson had ancestors who started coming to the church in 1876.

Picture of Norman Lutheran Church congregation from a long time ago.
Contributed / Norman Lutheran Church

"This was home to me, (...) I always feel that way," Nelson said. "I can't get adjusted to living in the big city. I call Fargo a big city."

From its humble start in a log cabin, through two churches burning to the ground, the congregation prepares for the church's 150th celebration with hopes of another 150 years to come.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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