By Joseph Peterson
The history of Our Savior's Lutheran Church reveals the dedicated devotion, personal sacrifice and prayers of many in the early struggles as they expressed their desire for the Word of God in forming this congregation.
Mr. and Mrs. Ole Herrem, who came to Cloquet from Little Falls in 1897, were concerned about beginning Christian work among persons of Norwegian descent. They started a Sunday School in their home in 1897. Interest grew among the parents from this beginning, so that the Herrems felt that an effort should be made to initiate regular services to minister to the adults.
Mr. Herrem contacted Rev. H.W. Hendrickson, Pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Superior, Wisconsin, who consented to hold services in Cloquet every other Sunday. With the help of the Swedish (Zion) Lutheran Church, services were held in their church building at a time that would not interfere with their schedule.
In 1898, a small group of women met at the home of Mrs. Ole Herrem to begin a Ladies Aid, dedicating themselves to serve God through that organization in our church. Their efforts greatly helped to stabilize and promote the work of the congregation.
In the spring of 1899, the congregation was officially organized as the Cloquet Norwegian Lutheran Church. The new congregation moved to the Swedish Methodist Church building in 1900. Having exclusive use of the building, they were able to have Sunday School and regular service at a more suitable hour.
The first summer Bible School was conducted for one month in 1900. The project was sponsored and supported by the Ladies Aid. The teacher was Mr. M.L. Hostager, a student from Augsburg Seminary. The later became one of our Pastors.
As the congregation continued to grow, it became evident that a more adequate facility was needed. The congregation decided to build it own building. The building was built in 1901, on Twelfth Street and Avenue F. It was in continuous use until it was destroyed by the Cloquet Fire of 1918, one month after the mortgage was burned.
During the interim period before a new building could be built, worship services were held for two years on the second floor of the Garfield School. The new church basemnt at Eighth Street and Carlton Avenue was completed by 1920. Services were held in the basement until 1922, when the upper structure was finished.
The congregation continued to grow, and more space was needed. So in 1952, the congregation purchased the American Legion building adjacent to the church parsonage. The building housed most of the Sunday School classes for the next sixteen years.
In 1966, a planning committee was appointed t6o study the needs of the congregation. A Building Committee was named. The architectural firm of Foss, Engelstad, and Foss, was engaged to draw plans for the new church building. On Sunday, February 26, 1967. the plans were approved to build at the corner of Twelfth Street and Doddridge Avenue, to be ready early 1969.
Ground breaking ceremony was held on Sunday, April 7, 1968, with Rev. Arnold Blom manning the plow, and members of the congregation, both adults and children, providing help. Work progressed rapidly, and the cornerstone laying ceremony was conducted on August 4, 1968.
Early completion of the sanctuary permitted its usage beginning Sunday, February 27, 1969. The remainder of the facility was completed, and the dedication of the new Our Savior's Lutheran Church building was held on May 18, 1969. With "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow", the congregation dedicated the new church educational unit, acknowledging that it was only with God's guidance and blessings, that these wonderful, complete facilities were provided.
During the years of Our Savior's existance, the church has been ably served by the following Pastors:
- Henry W. Hendrickson 1898-1900
- Pedar M. Fosse 1901-1903
- Martin L. Hostager 1904-1910
- Theodaore T. Roan 1910-1619
- Elmer A. Huset 1917-1918
- Theodore T. Roan 1919-1928
- Olaf S. Winther 1928-1929
- Magnus A. Dahlen 1929-1937
- Olaf I. Rossing 1937-1947
- Raymond C. Reinholtzen 1947-1959
- Arnold O. Blom 1960-1972
- William Phillipp 1965-1970
- Gilbert M. Lee 1972-1981
- Gary L. Boen 1973-1979
- Lynn R. Ronsberg 1979-1982
- Dennis C. Morreim 1982-2007
- Rolland H. Bockbrader 1983-1988
- Davis Ziemer 1988-2000
- Rolland H. Bockbrader 2000-2008
- Ronald Letnes 2007-2009
- Paul T. Hadland 2009-2012
- Interim Pastors John Estrem & Rebekah Wagner 2012-2013
- Chris Hill 2013-2022
- Karen Linne 2015-2021
- Pastor Joy Armstrong 2021-
- Pastor Nancy Hong 2022-
May we all give thanks to God for the great and many blessings He has given to this body of believers.